Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman

Ever since dragons and the humans of Goredd made a peace treaty, the dragons work hard to become like the humans, including taking on human shape. Although not the same as a human, still with dragon instincts and motives, it has worked. For the most part. Up until now. Everything begins to fall apart as the annual treaty celebration approaches. When a member of the royal family dies under suspicious circumstances, the dragons are the first to be assumed as the culprit. Who, and why, are undetermined.

Seraphina, a girl who is unusually musically talented, is mysteriously drawn into the investigation by an unknown connection to the suspect. Caught in the middle as the go-between, confusion reigns as she struggles with her own emotions and trying to keep the truth about who she really is from the people she loves most.

seraphina

This book is very well-written; the inner tension and turmoil is perfect, and just enough questions to keep you guessing throughout the whole book. It was paced fairly well, especially for a long book. One thing I wasn’t sure about was some of the fantasy words; I listened to the audio, but the unfamiliar spelling way of wording things made this a good audio choice. I didn’t have to pronounce those strange words myself.

The characters were fantastic! Especially Seraphina, in all her crankiness, was fresh and different, although if I knew her in person she would not come across as so. The supporting characters were fairly good as well, but Seraphina stands out as one of the strongest protagonists I’ve ever read about.

It also was not as clean as I would prefer; there is an awkward topic, which I cannot mention without spoiling it, that makes this an inappropriate choice for elementary-age kids. Nothing happens in it that I would not recommend it to a teen. For a little more info, I’ll include a spoiler (this is a major spoiler) if you’re really worried about the content (highlight the bottom section).

Overall Rating: 4/5

Violence: 3/10 (can’t remember, I think there may have been a stabbing, but it wasn’t memorable)

Language: 3/10 (some, nothing really bad)

Inappropriateness/Romance: 4/10 (mostly awkward topics, but nothing inappropriate ever actually happens.)

Audience: Ages 12 and up

Because dragons have a human form, it is possible for dragons and humans to have children. This is a big part of the book, and is talked about quite a lot. It comes across as awkward, mainly because dragons are NOT humans, and is disgusting to the other characters. Nothing ever happens that would give me pause to not recommend it to a teen, but the topic was a large enough part of the story that I thought it inappropriate for anyone under 12.

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