My rating: I’ll definitely go here again!
Dragon shapeshifters, interspecies tension, love, adventure, great characters, and intrigue. I loved this young adult novel about a young woman trying to come to grips with (and hide) her secret deformities and unusual abilities and to live a normal life.
Seraphina lives in a world of tentative peace. For decades, the dragons and the humans have held a truce, but mistrust still runs deep. To facilitate the peace and to learn more about the humans, dragons have developed the ability to change shape and walk as humans, and they visit the kingdom of Goredd as ambassadors, scholars, and teachers. The anniversary of the truce approaches, and the dragon general visits Goredd to sign the renewal of the treaty.
A member of the royal family is murdered in a mysterious way, so that it looks like the culprit was a dragon, which causes interspecies tensions to ratchet up. Seraphina becomes involved in the investigation, and with the studly captain of the Queen’s Guard, also known as Prince Lucian Kiggs, fiance of the princess (the same princess that Seraphina tutors in music).
As Seraphina and the court prepare for the dragons’ arrival, she, Lucian, her mentor, and a few other interesting and complex characters race to discover the conspiracy behind the royal death. Throughout it all, Serphina hides her secrets from everyone, including Lucian.
The gradual resolution of the mystery and reveal of Seraphina’s secrets keep the plot interesting. I really loved the dragons’ inability to feel emotion in their natural forms, and the confusion that caused when they shifted into human forms. Suddenly they feel anger, fear, an desire they’ve never felt before. In particular, the General’s coping with this phenomon added a delightful humanity to his originally fierce and forbidding character.
The magic, and Seraphina’s special abilities, are intriguing – I can’t wait to see them develop in future books. And then, of course, there’s the sweet romance between Seraphina and Lucian, as they get to know one another, deny their feelings, grow distant through distrust and secret-keeping.
All around a delightful, well-written novel, one I truly enjoyed.
(click on the images to go to each book’s Goodreads profile)