February 25, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: Seraphina (CD)

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Audiobook cover of dragon flying on red backgroundSeraphina. By Rachel Hartman. 11 CDs. 13:30 hrs. Prod. by Listening Library. Dist. by Listening Library/Books on Tape. 2012. ISBN 978-0-307-96894-4. $50
Gr 7 Up–In the decades since the peace treaty was signed, a fragile amity has existed between humans and dragons. Or so it is believed. As the treaty’s 40th anniversary nears, a rogue dragon masterminds a dangerous scheme to reignite the ancient war between the two species. Caught unwillingly in the crossfire is Seraphina Dombegh, assistant music mistress of the royal court, who guards a terrible secret: She is half-dragon, a genetic anomaly considered an abomination to both sides. Because of her unique ability to connect with dragonkind, she is reluctantly drawn into a high-profile murder investigation headed up by the acutely insightful Prince Lucian Kiggs. Seraphina knows this death is only the tip of the iceberg, below which lurks a plot far more sinister and far-reaching. But can she divulge what she knows without also revealing the truth about her heredity? Or her forbidden feelings for the prince? The audiobook cover’s nondescript black-and-white does little to hint at the gorgeously vivid imagery contained within Rachel Hartman’s stunning debut novel (Random, 2012). Although the pace unfolds rather slowly, the story is by no means dry. Hartman’s detailed storytelling and intricate plotting are reminiscent of Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy and Franny Billingsley’s Chime. Mandy Williams’s crisp voice harmonizes perfectly with the lyrical writing and lush ambiance of this exquisite tale. Fantasy enthusiasts will be enthralled throughout. A must have!–Alissa Bach, Oxford Public Library, MI

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