by Rachel Hartman

Reviewer Rating:


Like many other governments, the kingdom of Goredd entered into a peace agreement with another very powerful dynasty in hopes of putting a stop to the senseless death and destruction brought on by war. It's provided four decades of peace between the two, but it's frail.  There are still fears and doubts.  Dragons have perfected the ability of folding themselves into human form with the goal of quelling the anxieties of the humans they live amongst.  Even with dragons working within the kingdom's government, schools and universities, humans are suspicious and the scholarly dragons afraid.  Any misstep could bring retribution either from the humans or the council that monitors their every move.  

Seraphina Dombegh is just about to turn sixteen.  And as she begins to experience some very painful transformations, more so than what comes with the typical teenage puberty, she's about to learn some deep and dark family secrets.  Before we get to that, please keep in mind that mating between the two species is unheard of, procreation is believed to be scientifically impossible, and it's illegal.  Seraphina's mother had died during childbirth, she already knew that.  All these years later, her father still grieved for her and she knew that too.  What she didn't know, until recently, was what her father found out the night Seraphina was born.  His wife was a dragon.

For her own safety and the safety of her father, she will need to guard this piece of information. The fact that she's half dragon and has definite signs of this hidden underneath her clothes now could destroy both of their lives.  And tensions are extremely high since Prince Rufus, the Queen's son, has recently been murdered, all evidence points to a vicious dragon attack, just as officials from both sides are to reunite for the peace treaty renewal. 

Published in 2012 by Random House, Rachel Hartman's breakout novel was ranked at number 8 on The New York Times Best Seller list in its first week.  Because it was so very different from anything I had read before, or maybe because I was preoccupied with other things when I first started reading this book, I had a difficult time wrapping my head around dragons (as I imagined them) looking at all like a human being.  Once I worked past this little bump in the road, I was able to lose myself in Hartman's magical fantasy world.  It is detailed and engaging, evocative and intriguing. A must read for anyone who has an appreciation for young adult literature.


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