Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Children's Book Review: Seraphina

by Mollie McFarland, Youth Department, Central Library

Rachel Hartman

Seraphina Dombegh lives in a world inhabited by humans and dragons. Dragons are adept at math, music, and logical thinking while humans boast of creativity and emotion. After centuries of wars and civil unrest, the two peoples established an uneasy peace which has lasted 40 years. There is still tension and suspicion between the races, magnified by the fact that dragons have the ability to fold themselves into human form and pass undetected through human society.

Seraphina is a gifted musician who has been hired to play in the royal court and teach the princess music, but she has a big secret. She’s half-human, half-dragon, a combination which both species find repellent. Seraphina must hide her true identity while navigating the tricky politics of court life. Soon after she arrives, a heir to the human throne is murdered and all signs point to a dragon attack. This could shatter the shaky peace. Seraphina finds herself in the midst of solving the mystery to prevent a war while she grapples with her abilities and shortcomings as a dragon hybrid.

There are a ton of fantasy books about dragons. Lots! But this one stands apart from much of the sword and sorcery genre. The rules for the world are totally unique and the politics and history of the world are fully-realized and ripe with lore. Seraphina is a resourceful, brave, and relatable character. This book is appropriate for readers in middle school and up. It is engaging and immersive with elements of action and adventure that is sure to please fans of many genres. If you’re a fan of original fantasy worlds, give this book a try. The author, Rachel Hartman, has written multiple books set in this world and there should be more to come.

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