Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.
Yea, I liked this book..
Suffice to say that I can understand what the hype about this book is, it is pretty darn book. The world building never felt lacking, the characters were great:
Seraphina - the girl living in a world where she has to hide who she is. Growing up in that world where her remaining family wasn't one to hug or cuddle. She didn't suffer from any bouts of -I want to bash my head in the wall so badly because of your characterization- She was pretty strong heroine in her own right. And, I must point out this. It's really great to see a heroine who doesn't have to be particularly tom-boyish or I refuse to wear frills, etc. Often times we see this happening where it's emphasized that heroine of the story portrays this...In Seraphina, Seraphina is just Seraphina. She isn't -ew-dresses- nor does she exhibit any extremely feminine qualities, she is simply the person shaped by her experiences, and that's great because that makes her natural.
The plot, has one of the things I love about fantasy, the political intrigue. And in Seraphina's case we have a fragile truce between the dragons and the humans, and in the midst of all of that we have a murder, a murder of a prince that seems to be of dragon means.
You have the Seraphina, trying to help the princess and the prince, both of whom I think are pretty good characters. Lucian being the truth seeker, but of course people are more than just one facet of their chracter. He's witty and has an occasional self-deprecating humour that work. Glisselda really pulls through as a princess and knows how to stand tall, and for me, she was a very endearing character. Anyhow, Seraphina is with them, or they're with her...trying to figure out the mystery behind it all...and along the way we see Seraphina struggling with what she is, and how to really extricate herself from this web of lies that she -not started but certainly helped [not that she had much of a choice]- But it was all very real.
Orma in particular was very dear to me, because dragons are not meant to feel..yet here he is flawed and though he may not outright show his love, he certainly does express it.
All in all, the plot is solid, the characters are good, the world is great [cuz we have the politics, the different cultures and how the react/interact with each other] so I'd say..if you're looking for fantasy..Seraphina is a pretty solid bet...