Seraphina by Rachel Hartman follows a young girl who lives for music. An excellent pick for the music square for CBR 12 Bingo. The novel is set in a fictional kingdom of Goredd where dragons and humans have found a fragile peace. The dragons in this book are scholars who love cold logic and have a hankering for math too. They can transform into a human form to take up these pursuits. A murder mystery unfolds that opens up old wounds between the two races. A royal ending up dead coincidently before the peace treaty renews is mighty suspicious.
At the heart of this young adult novel is Seraphina. She is a musical prodigy and composes beautiful music. A gift she has inherited from her mother, who was a dragon. Seraphina only learns this later in life. But she doesn’t let it derail her dreams. She joins the royal court of musicians. She even lives in the castle and gives the princess music lessons. Much of the novel deals with Seraphina coming to terms with her unexpected dragon heritage. She never fully transforms, but scales start to show.
Not the best time when dragons and humans are at each other’s throats. To resolve this unrest and keep her secret hidden, she inserts herself into the investigation. She teams up with the handsome but gruff Prince Lucian Kiggs. Enter the YA love triangle trope.
As a lover of dragons in most books, television, and film, I was psyched to read this for the Mocha Girls Read book club. It was a bit slow to get into the story, especially keeping track of the kingdoms and the fantastical vocabulary. I started the book on audiobook but had to switch to print to truly grasp the plot. Once I wrapped my head around Seraphina’s memory palace with the other dragons, I was fully committed and waiting for the transformed dragons to come to the forefront. The end battle did not disappoint! The romance between Seraphina and Kiggs was cute enough to make me wanna see how that plays out in the next two books. Their sparring words of criticism that show they really like each other was fun. I still think the book could have used more dragons in their natural habitat though. I would recommend this series to fans of the CW show, Reign, and YA fantasy fans who want more investment in the coming of age storyline than the fantasy elements.
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