Sunday, September 23, 2012

Book of the Week - Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Susan Fichtelberg booktalked this at Dragon*Con earlier this month which is why I moved it way up on the TBR stack. Harman's world building is wonderful and the mixed race eponymous heroine is beautifully developed along with her relationships. 

The world Seraphina lives has been at peace for decades due to a treaty reached between Queen Lavonda of the Goreddi royal family and Ardmagar Comonot who is the leader of the dragons. In this world, the dragons can assume a human shape and interact with humans. They are devoid of emotions but great scholars and mathematicians. Their music is precise and perfect but without the emotion that would make it great. Seraphina, is half dragon and half human, a combination that is supposed to be impossible. The only outward manifestations of her dragon side are scales on her left arm and on her back. Raised by her single then remarried father to be all human, she becomes the protege of her draconic uncle and ends up living in the royal palace and working as assistant the the court composer. She has a garden she tends her mind that is peopled by strange creatures. When the heir to the crown is murdered and found headless, near the 40th anniversary of the accord between dragons and humans, the immediate suspicion is that he was killed by a dragon who bit his head off. Seraphina teams up with the Captain of the Guard, the bastard prince called Kiggs to solve the murder and try to stop war from breaking out.

This fresh fantasy stands out in popular crowed genre. In a year when many books seem bloated and in need of judicious cutting, this 465 page tome is just right. 

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