Seraphina is a young and very talented musician who has some pretty enormous secrets which have kept her isolated her whole life and made her a practiced deceiver. She knows this must be the way of things for her but like all of us she yearns to have a place in the world, to be understood and accepted. In what is perhaps a subconscious pursuit of finding that place, Seraphina accepts a position as assistant to the Court Composer of Goredd. Against her better judgment, this position along with her intelligence and curiosity begin to involve her in court mysteries and intrigues.
I’ve kept the above synopsis purposefully vague because I think discovering this book for yourself is a pleasure not to be missed. The world Seraphina lives in is complex and imaginative and it sucked me right in. Seraphina herself is the guide and she is a fantastic protagonist – funny and clever, self-loathing but proud as well. She is a fully formed and very real person who gets waspish when she’s tired and stressed but generally is extremely compassionate and kind. All the characters in the book are suitably well drawn even if we don’t get to know them as well as Seraphina.
This was first great read of 2013 for me and I loved it. It is the type of book that has everything – drama, comedy, adventure, mystery, romance – and all balanced remarkably well. It is classified as young adult but is definitely on the high end of the quality scale for this genre. The narrator for the audio book, Mandy Williams, was really excellent.