“Seraphina” Rachel Hartman

Seraphina #1. 2012. Random House. 464 pp. (Includes Cast of Characters and Glossary)

SeraphinaAt the recent ALA (American Library Association) Media Awards in Seattle, there was a huge burst of applause when “Seraphina” won the William C. Morris YA Debut Award. I’m not a big Fantasy reader, and am also not fond of reading books that are part of a series, but decided to read it.

In the world of Goredd, dragons are outcasts. They are discriminated against, and are shunned by Goredd’s human society. Intermarriage with all humans is expressly forbidden by law, and punishable by death. As a half-breed dragon, Seraphina lives in fear that someone will discover her secret. Her dragon mother died in childbirth, while her human father barely acknowledges her presence. Her dragon uncle keeps a human form to stay as her tutor, forbidden to change into a dragon form, while her love for all things music keeps her sane.

As assistant Music Mistress to the Royal Court, Seraphina is privy to audiences with the Princess and Head of the Guard. When she hears of an evil dragon’s plot to destroy the peace that has existed between dragons and humans for 40 years, Seraphina steps in to save the human and dragon world. She is determined that peace not only continue, but that both groups be joined in true unity. She doesn’t plan to fall in love with the Princess’ fiancee, but things happen and her feelings veer out of control.

“Seraphina” is an interesting glimpse into two worlds which, at first glance, seem to be very different from each other. However, as both humans and dragons learn more about each other, readers also learn that differences may be similarities in disguise.

I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series as Serpaphina continues her quest to find her own place in both worlds. Readers aged 12 and older will also enjoy the series.

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