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Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

I decided to read this Young Adult novel after I saw it on Midnight Coffee Monster’s Blog.  The cover art is so pretty.  I like the sepia tones which gave it a classic look without feeling dated.

There is peace between the kingdom of Goredd and dragonkind.  Dragons in human form walk amongst the kingdom’s inhabitants.  The festival to mark the  40th anniversary of Comonot’s Treaty is coming in less than two weeks.   Not everyone is celebrating, however.  A member of the royal family was recently assassinated and there are suspicions that the dirty deed was done by a dragon gone bad.  In this troublesome political climate, a young musician named Seraphina must judge others carefully or else risk being branded a traitor.

Almost immediately, one suspects that Seraphina is different.  It’s hard to ignore when the author practically hits you over the head with it.  My mother left me a complicated and burdensome inheritance.  In the early years, her father’s acquaintance referred to her as  “It,”  and her birth saints “blended together into one terrible monster saint … she was a double saint for my double life.”  Okay, I get it.  You’re not normal.

Monsters and Pigeons” (Photo courtesy of Andrea Kirkby via Flickr). See Acknowledgements and Attributions.

The world of Goredd and dragonkind is a world of rich detail. In addition to the Sarantrai (dragon in human form), there are quigutl (subspecies of flightless dragon which can’t transform) who inhabit Goredd.  At first, I found all the details of this world to be somewhat distracting.  The constant references to saints alone gave me a headache.   Luckily, the saints were not crucial to the story, and I discovered that there is a glossary of terms and list of the cast of characters at the end of the book.

I enjoyed this book, and it was a quick read.  Seraphina is brave despite the insecurities she feels about herself.  Honesty is a hard master in the midst of bigotry and self-doubt, but Seraphina manages to be true to herself in a way that makes her a fine role model.

The book is about self discovery, self acceptance and being comfortable in your own scales … err, I mean skin.

Acknowledgements and Attributions

Monsters and Pigeons was courtesy of Andrea Kirkby via Flickr and used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0).

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