this tween novel about dragons (a beautiful illustration of spires, a clock tower, a distant castle, and a flying dragon) on Sheila's blog at The Deliberate Reader, I decided to give it a go. While it wasn't one of my favorite reads this year, it was still a fairly delightful little tale about a girl who is caught in a world of dragons and humans and the tenuous peace of this supposed world.
In the kingdom of Goredd, dragons and humans live side by side because of a treaty drawn up years before. The anniversary of this treaty is drawing near, but the peace it accords is threatened. A member of the royal family has just been murdered in a way consistent with dragon behavior (his head has been bitten off), but no one knows who is to blame. Seraphina is a court appointed musician with a secret of her own, but drawn into the intrigue by her curiosity and precocious knowledge of dragon-kind. Together with Prince Lucian Kiggs, she seeks to ferret out the truth while hiding her own truth.
I think the author did a grand job of creating a world of humans and dragons co-existing (not quite as funny or delightful as we see in the How to Train Your Dragon movies, but equally plausible). Anyone with a fascination for dragons would probably really enjoy this tale. The dragons are not treated as sub-human (indeed, many of the dragons serve as teachers and scholars), but the distrust remains and provides an undercurrent of suspicion and conflict.
Seraphina's secret is divulged to the reader early on, so the reader is caught up in the whole question of whether or not she will be outed. I enjoyed the characters and the conflicted love story which develops between Seraphina and Prince Lucian (a man who is already betrothed and thus, out of reach for Seraphina). While the story was somewhat drawn out (perhaps longer than it needed to be), it still kept the reader engaged. I enjoyed it reasonably enough and would probably give it three stars.
It appears that a sequel, Shadow Scale, has just been released recently. I liked the first book enough that I would be willing to venture into a second book. I would be most interested to find out whether Seraphina and Prince Lucian ever have the future of their dreams.