Seraphina – Rachel Hartman

A truce between dragons and humans was reached years ago that allows dragons to live amongst humans only when they take a human form.  There are factions of people and dragons that resent the treaty and set plans in motion to bring about another war.  The story opens with the funeral of the prince who was found beheaded when he was out with his hunting party.  His death is blamed on dragons, since biting heads off is rather common way that dragons use to end things.  Seraphina is a talented court musician, something of a prodigy, who hides who she really is.  Her father did not know his wife was a dragon until she died giving birth to Seraphina.  Half breeds are not thought to exist and for Seraphina to acknowledge she is half dragon, an abomination, would be unthinkable.  She teams up with the intense and dashing Prince Lucian to solve the murder and stave off unrest between the races.

Exploring themes of prejudice and bigotry, the story is waylaid with extraneous details (i.e. the different saints), and a maddeningly slow plot.  Seraphina’s mind garden of grotesques that she can communicate with in the real world is difficult to follow.  The last quarter of the book does pick up but it comes much too late.  I never connected with the character of Seraphina.  She is glum.  I am confused about the intended audience as this book requires a great deal of patience to complete.  The book is receiving many favorable reviews but it wasn’t memorable for me.

NetGalley review    Publication date 7.10.12

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