Author Rachel Hartman has conjured a unique world in Seraphina. Humans and dragons are struggling to keep a negotiated peace from exploding due to the overheated tempers of many factions. An accomplished musician, Seraphina accepts a position as assistant to the court composer. Almost as soon as she begins, a prince is decapitated on the eve of a great festival. Seraphina discovers a conspiracy she cannot fully expose lest she reveal a secret of her own.
Hartman's descriptions are gorgeously rendered, like a dragon being "brimstone blackness, the muscular furl of wing against sky." Her characters are fresh; not as perfect and far more human than most in the fantasy genre. Seraphina is willful and clever, Prince Lucien Kiggs cunning yet empathetic, and Princess Glisselda, though a bit precious, is neither the usual spoiled harridan or an air-headed twit. The CDbook is narrated by Mandy Williams, who fully voices all the parts including the dragons, and sings some of the lyrics Hartman included in the book. Williams' delivery heightens the emotional impact when Seraphina agonizes over her necessary dissembling and when Kiggs realizes love can bring more pain than joy.
This title is available in print, CDbook, eBook, and eAudio. Whatever format you choose, the story will stay with you long after the last page.
--Cindy F., Headquarters