Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Seraphina Audio

Seraphina Audio

Rachel Hartman
For ages 14 and up
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: Mandy Williams and Justine Eyre
Listening Library , 2012   ISBN: 978-0307968920

Seraphina Dombegh, the daughter of a well-respected lawyer, has spent her entire life hiding a secret. If the secret is revealed there is a good chance that Seraphina will lose everything. Her father has always impressed on her the need to stay inconspicuous, but now that Seraphina is working in the royal castle as a musician and teacher, it is hard to fade into the background. Seraphina is a superb musician and people are starting to notice her.

    After Prince Rufus is murdered in a terrifying manner (his head was removed) people begin to wonder if a rogue dragon is responsible. Thanks to a peace treaty humans and dragons have been living in peace for four decades now, but that does not mean that humans have lost their fear and suspicion of dragons. There are those who think that it is a mistake to treat dragons as equals, and who would be glad to see the fragile peace collapse. There are also dragons who think that negotiating with humans is treasonous. Perhaps just such a dragon deprived Prince Rufus of his head.

   Without meaning to be, Seraphina is drawn into the investigation into the prince’s death. She is a unique position to help because she is half dragon. Her dreaded secret makes it possible for her to understand dragon speech, and she understands dragons better than that Captain of the Palace Guard, Prince Lucian Kiggs, who is trying to find out what happened to Prince Rufus. Unfortunately Seraphina cannot tell anyone that she is half dragon and has to hide her abilities.

   Seraphina’s dragon uncle is very afraid that his father, Imlann, may be responsible for the killing. Imlann was banished many years ago, and it is feared that he is trying to create a climate that will end up destroying the peace treaty. Seraphina even begins to fear that Imlann, in his human form, has been living in the royal castle for years and is therefore in a position to do great harm. The leader of the dragons, Ardmager Comonot is visiting Goredd and one can only imagine what would happen if Imlann in his human form is seen harming or even killing the Ardmagar. No one will know that Imlann is a dragon in human form. They will assume he is a human assassin.

   The situation in Goredd gets more and more dangerous as Seraphina and Kiggs try to find out the truth. Could it be that there is a cabal of dragons who are trying to destroy the treaty, or is that just a rumor? Seraphina is not really sure about this until one of her dead mother’s dragon memories surfaces unbidden. Seraphina understands then that the future of her country and her two peoples, the humans and the dragons, is in grave danger.

   In this remarkable story Rachel Hartmen creates a world that is fascinating and so beautifully portrayed that listeners will have a hard time removing themselves from Goredd to return to their lives in our world. Serpahina’s struggles as she tries to figure out who she is and where she fits are sometimes painful, but they are also powerful. Anyone who has harbored a secret for too long will appreciate how much she suffers and how deadly her web of lies is.