Narrator: Justine Eyre, Mandy Williams
Series: Seraphina #1
Published by Random House UK on October 2nd 2014
Number of Pages: 499
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Mystery, Young Adult
Purchase: At Amazon
In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, "Some of the most interesting dragons I've read in fantasy."
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.
Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.
There were a lot of words used in this book that I had only ever read before, never heard spoken. So it occasionally surprised me when they popped up in the book. There were also a few words I wasn’t familiar with at all, but was able to mostly figure out in context.
There was a lot of description, and plot, and just generally lots of things happening in this book. I’m not sure I would have liked it as much if I had been reading it myself as opposed to listening to the audio book. Not because there was anything wrong with the book! But mostly because it would have taken me far longer to finish it, and I would have missed out on hearing the lovely English voice of the narrator. I liked the voices she used to differentiate each character. Though the voice used for Seraphina’s mother was quite soft and I had a hard time hearing it for some parts.
I absolutely loved Prince Lucian and Princess Glisselda! They were very easy to fall in love with. Glisselda wasn’t the bubbly airhead she first appeared. And Lucian was smart and witty, just such a well-rounded character. I kept hoping he and Seraphina would end up together, even though you know from the beginning that he is betrothed to Glisselda.
Seraphina I didn’t love as quickly. I didn’t dislike her at all, she just didn’t have as much personality as I would have liked. A great deal of that is because of how she was raised, View Spoiler »to hide her parentage. And more is due to her being half-dragon I would guess. « Hide Spoiler But mostly it was because she repressed herself so much. Too afraid to be seen as anyone other than a background type of person. Which made it all the more interesting when she was suddenly thrust into the thick of things and had to become more central.
Strangely enough, the quirks that Seraphina showed that made me not love her right away, were also shown to a greater degree in her uncle. I say strangely, because I actually did like her uncle. And faster than I liked Seraphina. I’m not really sure why.
The characters are all wonderfully multi-dimensional. They have deep philosophical conversations, laugh and cry, throw tantrums at times, question themselves and others. Reading this book feels like peeking into the lives of real living and breathing people. The world they live in is just as diverse and well-explained.
I liked the idea of Seraphina’s mental garden. And the creatures in it were fascinating at times. I also liked how the garden worked with the real world. And of course the best part of all? Dragons! I’ve mentioned this before, but I am a dragon addict. I especially love when there are well-written, and new twists about them. This book has 2 different species of dragon in it, and I loved learning about both of them.
If you haven’t read this book yet, you need to do so!