Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

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*I received a copy from Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review.*

Title: Seraphina

Author: Rachel Hartman

Publisher: Random House Canada

Publication Date: Trade paperback, December 23, 2014

ISBN: 9780385668415

Seraphina

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

This book was a recommended read from a friend. I was told that I’d love it, and I did really enjoy. Seraphina is reminiscent of Christopher Paolini’s Eragon, another book that I thoroughly enjoyed. In Seraphina, the reader enters into a magical world full of political turmoil: an unstable peace between the dragons and humans. The relationship between species is recent and the crimes of some threaten the peace of all.

Seraphina has a secret that could ruin her entire life if ever exposed, but Seraphina’s entire world could be altered or even destroyed if the peace between humans and dragons falls apart. There are threats of assassinations, secrets in abundance, forbidden romance, and musical talent beyond your wildest dreams. Hartman’s world is full and vibrant, with vibrant and extravagant royalty, but also with dark shadows lurking behind every corner.

Though this book has been released for a few years, the release of the paperback last month is the perfect reason to pick this series up, whether for the first time or for the 10th. It’s the leap back into the fantasy genre that I’ve been looking for. It’s not just a story about dragons, or a whirlwind magical romance. It’s a story set in a complicated world where the political system relies on the good faith of everyone involved. It’s a slippery slope where one can’t quite be sure if characters are who they say they are and the reader’s never quite sure who is on what side. Characters are judged based on species and interbreeding is condemned and rejected. It’s a complicated story in a complicated world. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I would definitely recommend.

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