Why not 5 stars? Actually I was thinking 3.4 because I really dislike books where everything is so different you end up spend half the time trying to keep up with what amounts almost to a new language. That is my huge bug-bear for this book. Everything has weird names, from the characters to the lands to the species (yes, plural), the forms of government, titles, even body parts. It dissolved a lot of the pleasure for me. The romance in this book is very much like skimming cream-off-the-top-of-milk, barely there and lacking in everything – intensity, passion, obsession, focus, desire…need I go on? The story: Dragons and humans have lived peacefully for nearly half a century. Seraphina was brought up by her Uncle (her father remarried and has a new family). She has imaginary friends – well, an imaginary garden populated by people she has to keep in line – who give her debilitating headaches. She has just secured a position as assistant to the royal musician. The princess, one of her pupils, quickly becomes a friend as does the bastard prince (who also heads the Queen’s guards) when there is an assassination that could threaten the peace treaty. But there is more to Seraphina than meets the eye and while she and her friends try to unravel the mystery behind the murder she does everything in her power to keep her secret intact. If you’re a fan of fantasy worlds (like Terry Pratchett’s Discworld) then this might appeal to you. For myself I am wondering why I didn’t give up halfway through – and that is why I gave it so many stars because it did manage to keep my attention.
Addendum: I am now looking for other novels featuring dragons so this book has met a critical directive: create enthusiasm. Move over angels, dragons have flown in!