'Seraphina' by Rachel Hartman

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'Seraphina' by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina is set in a world where two species co-exist: dragons and humans. SeraphinaDragons, powerful creatures with mathematical minds, are able to take human form to interact with people; they reject all emotions as weakness, to the point of excising them from their brains. The broad concepts of mathematics and music are the key to this new world along with bigotry, discrimination and diplomatic negotiations.

Humans, constrained in their fragile bodies, fear dragons above all else and despise them, even in their human form, to the point of discrimination. These two species have been at war with one another for a very long time, except for the past 40 years, when a rather unstable truce gave apparent peace to the world. Now it's the time to renew the peace.

And then, there's Seraphina. She is the unthinkable: half-dragon, half-human. Young Seraphina Dombegh has spent her entire 16 years of life hiding a secret, living with her father. Her mother died while giving birth to her, and even though Seraphina has no memories of her, she inherited her incredible musical talent. Although extraordinarily talented, she cannot display her musical skills publicly, as she cannot afford to draw attention to herself.

Why?

Because of the dark secret she's hiding. A secret that if discovered could put both her and her father in great danger. Recently hired as the assistant to the royal music master, her first difficult job will be to play a flute solo at the invocation for the funeral of Prince Rufus. Feelings are running high because it would appear that the 40-year peace accord between humans and dragons has been violated. Circumstances are beginning to change and Seraphina is having a harder time dealing with all the new happenings in her life, which make secrecy more urgent and yet harder to maintain.

I really loved reading about Seraphina, her world, her interactions with Orma and Prince Lucian, and all her adventures. It was heartbreaking to see her struggle to accept who she was, adapt to her difficult situation, and learn to live with the consequences of her origin.

Seraphina's life was never an easy one. Her father wasn't very affectionate towards her; and she had to watch her every step in order to keep both of them safe. She was so full of passion, so curious about life and the world around her, and yet she was never allowed to fully explore her potential. Her circumstances didn't stop her from dreaming and trying.

I love how persistent, hard-working and brave she was. Seraphina is a truly wonderful heroine.
-- Jackie Mikolaski