Seraphina was the first novel I’ve read in awhile (or maybe ever) that heavily features dragons. The title character is a young woman working as a musician in the court of her monarch. Just as she begins her career, the king dies suspiciously. Though the humans and dragons are approaching the fortieth anniversary of their peace treaty, many people suspect that dragons are to blame for the king’s death. Seraphina, harboring secrets of her own, begins investigating, alongside the Captain of the Guard, Prince Lucian.
I really enjoyed this novel a lot. It wasn’t always action-oriented or fast-paced (though it was at times), but I really loved the world that Hartman has built. The dragons walk around in human society, disguised as humans. Most of them are required to wear bells to set them apart, but their lives are complicated and humans aren’t always so friendly. Part of the allure of the book for me was learning about their society and the integration of human and dragon societies when the war between them ended. Both societies have their positives and their negatives, and the interplay between the two is fascinating. It was so interesting to try and figure out who would respond in what way to varying situations.
I’ve also recently become a fan of more political fantasy, and in some ways, this fits the bill. Seraphina has to navigate a lot of different relationships with very different characters. She has a position in the court, so she has to contend with giving music lessons to the princess, and attending courtly functions. She also has to deal with uncertainty relating to her newfound friendship with the Captain of the Guard, her strained relationship with her father, as well as a close relationship with a dragon. Dragon and human politics are just as fascinating as their respective social expectations.
Finally, the story itself was engaging. Seraphina was a very likable character and easy to understand. The other main characters are likewise developed well. I loved seeing how they changed (or my perceptions of them changed) over the course of the book. Overall, I really enjoyed this novel, and I’m very interested in the sequel (as part of this book’s function is setting up the story in the sequel). If you like dragons and/or fantasy, I highly recommend reading Seraphina.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
What dragon novels do you recommend? I’m all in after this one!