Author: Rachel Hartman
Teen Reviewer: Kinsey Manchester
Seraphina Dombegh lives in a world of tense peace between humans and dragons. The dragons of her world are shape shifters but despite their ability to communicate with humans, they are looked down upon. Her kingdom of Goredd is under a lot of pressure as the 40th anniversary of the peace treaty between humans and dragons approaches. This time, Seraphina witnesses it firsthand as a new member of the court, the musician’s assistant. She finds herself in a lot of drama in Castle Orison as a member of the Royal Family has just been found dead in the woods. The way he died is mysteriously similar to the way that dragons eat humans, which only worsens the situations of the dragons living in their human forms in Goredd. Seraphina is interested in trying to solve the crime and is paired up with the Captain of the Queen’s Guard, Prince Lucian Kiggs. Kiggs is dangerously observant, which becomes a problem for Seraphina, as she has secrets of her own to hide. Kiggs and Seraphina become friends, but soon he starts to question her past and her teacher, the dragon Orma. As secrets unravel, feelings get hurt and people get in trouble. Seraphina has to deal with a lot of overwhelming responsibilities that her job requires, as well as help out Kiggs, and keep up her own mental health. When the leader of the dragons, Ardmagar Comonot, finally visits Goredd for the 40th anniversary, it is questionable whether or not he is actually safe. Seraphina works to protect herself, the ones she love, and her kingdom’s royals as she tries to solve the Prince’s death.
This book was classified as fantasy, but I think it also had an element of mystery. I liked the secret side of this book and that it kept you guessing until the end about some things. I also liked the relationship between Seraphina and Kiggs, which was a really good friendship. I liked that they knew their boundaries, since Kiggs is engaged to his cousin, Princess Glisselda. I think they work so well together because they are not afraid to just say what they are thinking. I loved all of the supporting roles in this book, such as Lars, Seraphina’s father, and Abdo. I think they really added another layer of depth to the book and complemented the major roles well. Glisselda surprised me with her poise because at first she seemed like just another glamorous Princess. However, she turned out to be very mature in the end and I liked her. Seraphina was a really enjoyable main character and was relatable, despite the fact that she is clearly different. I must admit that when reading this book, the author goes right into using the idioms and slang language of the Goreddis, so it was a little hard to understand at first. Once I got into the swing of things and noticed the helpful dictionary at the back, I was fine though. I would not suggest this book to anyone who can’t handle a little bit of dragons, kings, and dueling, because you can find all of these in here. Although, I think this book surprised me with how good it is and I would recommend it to most people! It’s not a short book, but it is definitely worth the time!