From Goodreads: 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.
My Rating: 4.5 hearts
Thoughts on the Novel: I seem to be having difficulty writing reviews lately – watching the Olympics nonstop may have something to do with it – so I’ve decided to instead state five reasons why you should read Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina. Here we go:
- The worldbuilding: Besides the appeal of dragons, the world that Hartman created was incredible in and of itself. It literally felt like Hartman thought of everything down to the minutest detail – characters were even discussing the works of her made-up philosophers!
- The coming-of-age aspect: Although Seraphina is marketed as a fantasy, I think it can be enjoyed by anybody because it’s very much also a book about a young girl growing up, trying to figure out her place in the world, and learning to accept herself.
- The main character: Seraphina was just so fantastically complex. At times, she comes off as fragile and you just want to give her a hug; and then at other times, you realize that she’s actually pretty brave and tough. All in all, Seraphina was a protagonist I could easily relate to and root for.
- The secondary characters: I felt like all the secondary characters had something important to contribute to the story. Best of all, nobody seemed like a stereotyped character since even the minor characters were really well-developed.
- A romance that doesn’t overpower the plot: Although Seraphina’s realization that she loves Kiggs seemingly came out of nowhere (or maybe I was just oblivious to the signs), the romance never felt like an instant love situation (possibly because the two had interacted with each other a few times before Seraphina’s sudden insight into her feelings). I also liked that the love triangle that develops in the end isn’t like your typical love triangle because a) there are two girls and one guy and b) it wasn’t created to add more drama for the sequel or because a character is irresistibly attractive, but because there ends up being a conflict between duty and love. I was so thrilled to see Hartman stay true to her characters’ natures and acknowledge (through her characters) that it’s not an easy choice.
If you can get past the slow beginning and stick with Seraphina, I assure you that you’ll find a beautifully written story with multiple fully-rounded characters!
Seraphina was released by Random House Children’s Books in July 2012.
Comments About the Cover: I love the monochromatic look because it gives the cover this olden day feel, which I think is perfect since the world of Seraphina is very much medieval.
In exchange for an honest review, this ARC was received from the publisher (Random House) for free via NetGalley.
|original image from thegate.ca|