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.
I must admit, I read a lot of paranormal romance books but one of my true passions is a good ol' high fantasy - Princes, dragons, mystery and scholars and thankfully this book has all of that plus some. So yeah, this book was right up my street.
I really enjoyed Seraphina. I was very worried that the book wouldn't work, with dragons that can turn human there would be a lot of plot holes and I just couldn't see how such an ambitious idea could come together, thankfully it worked well and Hartman managed to create an original and beautiful novel that was an absolute pleasure to read.
For me, the highlight of this book was Seraphina herself. it's very rare that the main character of a book is the thing that I loved the most but I really liked Phina, she was spunky and brave and also capable of showing emotion, she's definitely a character that has the vulnerable/strong balance right. I also really liked Kiggs, he was a fairytale knight in shining armour, too bad Phina isn't a damsel in distress - I loved their relationship, I loved watching it grow and I loved their interactions.
At times I got a little confused by all the places and the people mentioned in the book, as with most fantasy books there are some long names and a lot of lands to introduce so I got a little mixed up at times.
Fantasy books aren't complete without a beautiful prose and Hartman's prose is just that. The words flowed so well, I felt like this book was a pleasure to read, the way the words knitted together really gave off a fairytale/fantasy vibe and the voice was very unique, I definitely loved reading this book and cannot wait to read more from this author.
I will be impatiently waiting for the sequel!
Overall Rating: A
Book released July 10th 2012 by Random House Children's Books
Book received as an eGalley for review