Dragons Are Cool Again: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

I never got on the Eragon train. All the best to Mr. Paolini, but I just wasn’t interested in dragon fantasy and there were other things to read, so I moved on, and missed most of the recent dragon craze.

I picked up Seraphina because the positive buzz on the interwebs was almost deafening. I gave in to peer pressure. And, possibly for the first time ever, that ended up being a very good thing.

I usually hesitate to assign the title “best” to any particular book, because reading is so subjective. As we’ve established, I like some books better than others, but elevating just one above all the rest seems impossible and unfair. So I won’t say that Seraphina is the best book of the summer. But it’s probably my favorite.

Enough with the wishy washy attitude. It’s my favorite.

As decreed by treaty, dragons are permitted to live and work alongside humans in the kingdom of Goredd, provided they assume a human shape. In theory, there is peace between the races. In reality, prejudice and anti-dragon sentiments are rising, inspired by the recent mysterious murder of a member of the royal family, a murder that is rumored to have been committed by a dragon. Into this tenuous situation enters Seraphina Dombegh, hired as assistant to the head court musician. Seraphina is no ordinary girl with a talent for music–she is also half dragon, a horrible secret she must protect at all costs. Drawn into the court’s investigation by Lucian Kiggs, captain of the guard, Seraphina finds her stamina for concealment challenged almost beyond what she can bear.

But as the drama and intrigue swirls around her, Seraphina is surprised to learn that she may not be alone. There are others like her, halfbreeds with various skills and gifts who just might be able to help. Gradually, Seraphina begins to come to terms with who she is, and, strange as it seems, begins to wonder if perhaps her dragon ancestry is something to be proud of. Perhaps what she has striven to hide is in fact the key to bringing peace once and for all.

Rachel Hartman’s world building in this novel is simply fantastic. I loved the little historical and societal tidbits that she dropped casually along the way, never overloading me with information, but giving me enough to imagine clearly the landscape she was creating. Goredd is the perfect blend of the recognizable and the strange. And the characters are compelling, sympathetic, and layered. There’s plenty to discover here! Hang on for some awesome twists and turns, too. A spectacularly fun read!

P.S. Hey, Game of Thrones fans! This book is for you. Read it and make the season three wait more bearable.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman; Random House; 17.99; Ages 14+

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