by: Rachel Hartman
In Goredd, the peace between humans and dragons is delicate at best. A treaty signed 4 decades ago has crumbled to be merely a formality as the distrust and unease grows. When the Prince is discovered murdered and beheaded, the suspicion immediately falls to the dragons. Seraphina, a half dragon and apprentice to the court musician, is just trying to fly under the radar. She keeps her dragon identity a secret. But she is soon discovered to have an amazing musical talent. As she begins to investigate the Prince's murder she discovers chilling details about her family and has to work even harder to protect her very dangerous secret.
Seraphina wins major points for creativity. Not only in the species of dragons and their background story, but also in the very nature of dragons themselves. I was also captivated by Seraphina's methods of dealing with her "mind pearls" or memories passed on to her by her mother. These little snippets of memory initially plague Seraphina and cause her to black out at the most inopportune moments.
In Seraphina's world, being a half-dragon is impossible. Who knows what could happen to her if she were to be discovered. Her father insists that she keeps a low profile and under no circumstances displays her musical talent publicly. The identity of her mother is unknown to the humans, and the identity of her father is unknown to the dragons. Seraphina, beyond having to live a lie, is incredibly lonely, with only the companionship of her tutor who knows her true identity. As a friendship develops between herself and Prince Lucian Kiggs, the discomfort of her lies grows.
With the amazing worldbuilding I found myself surprised that I just could not fully engage in the story. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly why I didn't love it, since all the elements were there. It could be a case of bad timing, or just the sheer length of the book at over 460 pages. I also found several of the supporting characters, particularly members of the court, difficult to keep track of.
Readers who have a real love of high fantasy will probably love this one. However, for those who are selective in high fantasy, this may not be a good fit.