Dragon Lady

Welcome back to our book trailer reviews, where we judge a book by its trailer. This review takes us back to fantasy land with Rachel Hartman’s debut YA novel, Seraphina. (Read our full Seraphina review.) Don’t know what a book trailer is? Check out our guide.

In the kingdom of Goredd, humans and dragons co-exist together in an uneasy peace; dragons can assume human form in order to live side by side with people. As the 40th anniversary of the peace treaty approaches, lavish celebrations are being planned; unfortunately for the talented musician and secretly half-dragon Seraphina Dombegh, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered, apparently by a dragon. Suddenly, Seraphina is much more visible than she and her scaly arms ever wanted — and, thanks to her secret, she’s in real danger in the treacherous waters of court politics. Can she help the hunky Prince Lucian solve the murder mystery, even when it leads to a sinister conspiracy to overthrow the fragile human-dragon truce?

This live-action trailer features a handful of actors, some vaguely Ren-faire costumes, and a quick peek at Seraphina’s secret scales, all shot on location at a fancy castle in the forest. I liked that they cast sort of strange-looking, not conventionally gorgeous people — it’s not a stretch to imagine that there’s some hint of reptile oddness about them. A quick plot summary is narrated by Seraphina herself (why does everyone in fantasy worlds have a default British accent?), and does a pretty good job of hitting the major points.

Yet despite the swelling orchestral score and the many shots of brooding actors glaring meaningfully at each other while stalking around in flowing capes, the trailer has a kind of silly, low-budget charm. Seraphina’s costume jewelry looks kind of chintzy, and when she dramatically pulls back her sleeve to reveal her (nicely done) silvery scales, you can see the lumpy seams and unlined fabric of her rental-quality dress. Which all gives the trailer a sort of homemade, rough-around-the-edges appeal that I enjoyed more than a costly extravaganza.

Seraphina was just released this month (July 2012) and it’s already getting lots of positive buzz, so plenty of readers are finding their way to it on their own. But for those who do check it out, this trailer’s blend of dragons, mysteries, and royal romance should prove hard to resist.

Grade: B+

Stephanie Perry
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