About the Book:
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.
Well, this story deserves all the praise it's been getting! Incredibly well-written with beautiful prose that draws you into Seraphina's life. She is a fabulous heroine! A lot of female roles in stories have the women brave in the face of danger whether without or within. But Seraphina truly embodies her bravery, so much so that she isn't even aware that she's being courageous. She has lived all her life with this huge secret and she actually sees herself as pretty cowardly. Since we spend the entire time in her head, we view her the same way because we are so invested in her character and who she is. It's not until someone else points out what she actually does and how she reacts that she (and we) realize how amazing she is (her responses and actions are just so second nature that she can't see them for what they are). And she has to use a tremendous amount of that courage every day, just to simply live her life. She is inspiring to all those around her and makes (almost) anyone like her instantly. Yet her secret wears on her; it's exhausting for her, and she hates all the lies she has to tell every moment. But there are lots of secrets abounding in this story and most of them you don't see coming. Ms. Hartman weaves her tale very intricately and leads you around this extraordinary maze of characters and world-building until you are completely immersed and trusting where she's taking you! Also the dragon lore is quite fascinating. The contrast between the emotionless dragons then taking on a human form that feels things is well done. Watching the inner conflict of some of the dragons as they deal with this is fun! They can't seem to wrap their minds around feelings and emotions and how to deal with them. Seraphina herself has tremendous inner conflict to deal with also. Her trajectory and where she ends up by the end is truly part of Ms. Hartman's amazing expertise.
You may want to have a dictionary handy when you're reading this because you're vocabulary will be expanded! Ms. Hartman knows her words and exactly how to use them. I also liked the fact that there wasn't a huge cliffhanger at the end. It does leave you in a place where you want to know what's going to come next for Seraphina and her friends, yet ties up the major loose ends enough to satisfy you. And don't let the thickness of this book dissuade you either. It goes relatively quickly, mainly because once you start it, it's really hard to put down. Read it! :)
A Favorite Passage For You:
"My love of music eventually lured me from the safety of my father's house, propelling me into the city and the royal court. I took a terrible risk, but I could not do otherwise. I did not understand that I carried loneliness before me on a plate, and that music would be the light illuminating me from behind."
Toodle-loo kangaroos! Happy reading!