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Tamora Pierce is a best-selling author of fantasy books for teenagers. Her books, known for their teenaged girl warriors and wizards, have received critical acclaim and a strong fanbase. Her newest book, Mastiff, is the third book in The Legend of Beka Cooper series.
In Seraphina's world, coldly intellectual dragons can take on the shapes--and feelings--of human beings. Sometimes this results in a surprise. Seraphina's father married a beautiful musician, and discovered too late that she was a dragon. She died, leaving him with a daughter who confuses him and his new wife and children.
Now the half-dragon Seraphina is the assistant to the cranky royal music master. She is in charge of Princess Glisselda's music lessons; she books performers for the 40-year celebration of the peace treaty between dragons and humans, and she rehearses the rowdy court musicians. She has to hide the scales on her arm and around her waist, and she can never let anyone find out that Orma, her music teacher, is actually a dragon.
When she plays the solo for the funeral of the realm's murdered prince, Seraphina is suddenly raised into entirely new, visible levels of peril. People she always avoided are noticing her. She has to attend social functions, where she is caught up in court politics, between those who support the treaty and those who want to destroy it. She runs afoul of conspirators who want to start the war again--one of them may be her own grandfather. She even discovers that Prince Lucian, who is betrothed to Princess Glisselda, is not only very sharp-eyed but also very agreeable to be around. He appreciates her insights on intrigue at court and in the city and uses her as an unofficial investigator into the ongoing unrest.
The plot thickens. A new religious order plots riots and revolution. Exiled knights return to report an unregulated dragon flying near where the old prince was murdered. The dragons are trying to send Orma for corrective surgery--they think he's gotten too human and they want to cut those parts out of his brain. Seraphina fears that if she tells the prince and the princess what she is, they'll hate her forever, but their work to preserve the treaty celebrations is bringing them closer together. And all of them are terrified that the dragons will decide that humans are not worth the trouble, and will destroy them at last.
I loved this book even more the second time I read it than I did the first. The characters are interesting and engaging, and I love the new look at dragons. For all that she's half-dragon, Seraphina is a very believable human being, caught between different loyalties and just trying to keep everyone she loves alive. But don't take my word for it--read it yourself!
This book is well written and Rachel Hartman does a wonderful job creating the fantasy world of Goredd.
Seraphina has got to be one of the most interesting characters I've come across in a fantasy novel, and I very much enjoyed getting to know her.
It was a most enjoyable read that I couldn't put the book down from the word go and finished it in one sitting!
The experience that dragons had managing human emotions is a Himalayan gold mine of material. Loved it! Read morePublished 3 days ago by T. Allen
A stellar performance and thoroughly enjoyable read! I gasped, laughed out loud and perched anxiously on the edge of my seat, losing all track of time. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Amazon Customer
Dragons are something of a given in fantasy novels, with rather defined roles to play; companion, mentor, or villain, there are only certain spaces massive enough for a dragon. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Callista
Does being human simply consist of looking like everyone else? That is what the heroine of this well written book has to ask herself. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Theresa May
In the magical kingdom of Goredd, dragons and humans have peacefully co-existed under a peace treaty for many years. Read morePublished 1 month ago by D. Florack
I would recommend this book. There are several twists and turns in the story and outcomes are not easily predicted. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I may be a harsh critic for this lovely tale. The fairly complex characters kept me curious about how the story would turn out for them. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Seraphina has a very interesting basis. The book centers around dragons living "harmoniously" with humans, somehow taking human form in order to do so, and in order to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Joe