Audiobook Review: Seraphina (Seraphina #1)

Published January 1, 2013 

Author: Rachel Hartman

Narrators: Mandy WIlliams & Justine Eyre

Audiobook Length: 13 hours 14 minutes

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

Seraphina (#1)
Shadow Scale (#2)

Seraphina is the first novel in a series of the same name. Sixteen-year-old Seraphina Dombegh is the assistant to the royal music master, Viridius. In a world where dragons can transform into humans, Seraphina finds herself keeping her birth as a half-dragon a secret. Dragons and humans used to be at war with each other but had a peace treaty for the past forty years. When the peace treaty is due to be signed again, Prince Rufus, the heir to the human city of Gorredd, is murdered, and Seraphina finds herself drawn into solving the mystery behind it along with Prince Lucian Kiggs, the captain of the Queen’s guard and the fiancé to Princess Glisselda.

The set-up of the story was interesting and the dynamics between humans and dragons was well-thought out. Seraphina was a witty and intelligent main character with an amazing passion for music. She is a more passive character compared to what I am used to with others in this genre, but she was interesting and multi-dimensional. There is some character development in this story and, as this is a series, there is potential for a lot more in the future. Throughout this novel a romance does evolve for Seraphina, but I am on the fence for my feelings on it. For me, it seemed to be slower to get to the start of the romance, but the attachment grew too quickly afterwards for my taste.

In the beginning, the plot is not clear and instead it becomes clearer as the story moves forward. The first portion of the novel, instead, sets up the world and characters. I loved this take on dragons and how they fit into the human world. The two sides are unique and I enjoyed how the treaty drives part of the story and timeline. Originally, this was not a story where I wanted to complete it in a single sitting, but it was eventually one where I was curious to see how the sequel would turn out. While Seraphina’s story looks like it is only a duology, there seems to be room for expansion to more novels in the same universe. Overall, this was an interesting and unique story where there was a nice mix of character development and plot lines. While I may not go straight to the sequel, it would be one that I would be interested to try in the future.

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