Hello, 2013! Between Pitch Wars and revisions, I haven't had much time to blog, but I've been meaning to recommend this book since the beginning of December, so here goes...
Several weeks ago, agent Kristin Nelson asked her readers what they thought the breakout YA debuts of 2012 were. When I checked the comments, one book kept coming up: Rachel Hartman's SERAPHINA. I hadn't heard of it (which is unusual these days), but after looking it up on Goodreads, I decided to give it a go (especially since it sounded like something the lovely Myrna Foster might have written). It didn't disappoint.
Ms. Hartman's debut tells the story of the title character, a gifted musician who recently took a position as the court composer's main assistant. She has a secret, though, one that must stay hidden if she wants to keep her position and her life. Her people have hated dragons--old, cunning creatures capable of taking human form--for as long as anyone can remember, and the uneasy peace between them, brokered a mere fifty years before, has only put a lid on a boiling pot. When the crown prince turns up dead, apparently murdered by a dragon, Seraphina's secret points the way toward the only clues available. If she and the captain of the guard can't puzzle them out in time, they may have another war on their hands--and Seraphine will be right in the middle of it.
The world of SERAPHINA is as rich as it sounds, and I thought Seraphina was a strong, capable heroine. The story twisted and turned in all the right places, and I loved how it set up a series that promises to be even richer and twistier. I'm not a huge fan of high fantasy, but this one won me over. I'll definitely pick up the sequel.
If you love dragons, high fantasy, or just well-crafted, well-written books, definitely check this one out. It's well worth a read.