by Rachel Hartman
"In her New York Times bestselling debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon author Christopher Paolini calls them, "Some of the most interesting dragons I've read in fantasy."
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."
I'm not much of a high fantasy reader - I got through the Lord of the Rings books only after seeing the movies :) But this book had interesting characters and an intriguing world that was explained very well. The setting has a very medieval feel. The secondary characters are every bit as interesting and fun as the main characters. While this isn't something I would normally pick out to read, I'm glad that I did.
Areas of concern: The term "bastard" is used throughout the book, as one of the main characters is an illegitimate child. There are one or two vulgarities used. There is talk of a dragon biting off the head of a member of the royal family. Some dragon on dragon violence.
Publishers Weekly: Ages 12+
School Library Journal: Grade 7+