Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina (Seraphina #1)
By Rachel Harman
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Hardcover, 480 Pages

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page. -- Goodreads
4.5 Stars


Much of the YA dragon lore being published right now consists of dragons as a separate species from humans that are respected and are like ponies. I mean, hasn't anyone seen someone riding on the back of a dragon in the world of dragons, aka Eragon, How to Train Your Dragon and my personal favorite, Merlin, the BBC TV show. Those are besides the point, but they all have something in common; they don't give an in-depth tour of the strained relationships between humans and dragons. Seraphina shows both sides of the mutual unease between the two species, creating an original, fresh look of the dragons we all know and love.

Seraphina is a journey for a girl trying to find a place for her in the world. Secrets are holding her back from truly connecting to the world. As she discovers the secrets of the past that seem to be connected to the death of Prince Rufus, she has to choose whether to reveal her own secrets to those around her.
All of the characters vary in their desires and actions, but all have a similar trait; their perseverance. Each character has faced numerous hardships, and has managed ploughed through each one of them, even the antagonist. It is rather unimaginable for a book to possess only characters with strong personalities, but Seraphina pulls it off magically.

The romance is sweet, but somewhat lacking as well. Like most fantasies, the love evolving between the two protagonists is slow, yet steady. However, the romantic aspect in this book fluctuats quite often. One moments may consist of a moment between Seraphina and Prince Lucian, but pages later, their conversation seems unnatural and cold without reason. There are many instances in which the attitudes of the two flip on and off. It would make sense if the two protagonists were like Elizabeth and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, but Seraphina and Prince Lucian admire each other. Not to mention, the conversations between the two are extremely long and tedious, causing me to question the love the two supposedly had.

A majority of high fantasies are well-written and have fantastic plots. Seraphina is no exception to this generalization. With its powerful cast of characters, unique storyline and writing style, Serphina is a read like no other. I will guarantee to all that Seraphina will not disappoint.

Purchase this book: Amazon / Barnes&Noble / The Book Depository

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