Books,  Five Stars,  Review,  YA

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Author: Rachel Hartman
Publisher: Random House
Published: July 19th 2012
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcopy
Source: ARC from publishers
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon, TBD


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.

five stars
five out of five hearts

it is opened
There are some books that you read that are so amazing and compelling that it is incredibly difficult to stop reading and return to your normal substandard life. Seraphina, for me, was one such book. It was an inspirational story that I found myself truly engrossed in and could not wait to be able to read more of it. It was imaginative, irresistible and just an all out brilliant book that I am looking forward to reading again and again and again, and would easily recommend to a lot of people. Seraphina is a book that is full of creativity and imagination, a true example of how talented Rachel Hartman is.

the world unfolds
Being able to create an entirely new world is definitely no easy feat and yet Rachel has managed to so with relative ease – or at least it appears that way. The world that Seraphina lives within is inspiring, beautiful and extremely dangerous and deadly. I found the descriptions of be exquisite and enticing, allowing me to imagine the world perfectly in my mind. I adored the castle, with all it’s different rooms and stairwells. It was so brilliantly written that I just truly found myself admiring Rachel’s writing and wishing that I could write even half as well as her.

While there are a fair few novels out there that deal with dragons, I haven’t actually read that many of them – and I don’t think Harry Potter really counts anyway – so I may not be the best person to talk about the dragons in this book (here’s hoping I just don’t sound like a twilight fan who adored the sparkling vampires), but I really loved her take on the creatures. I found the way they transformed into humans as fascinating but what I really enjoyed was how they lived among the humans while trying to keep a distance from them as well. I felt that it was all really imaginative and had some foreshadowing on how people act around those who they feel are different.

the plot unravels
With so many books out on the shelves, it is incredibly difficult to write a story these days that isn’t the same as another in some ways. As I was reading Seraphina, I felt like I knew how it was going to end, I could foresee where things would go wrong and what would happen because of that. Yet, somehow, despite it somewhat going the way I planned, Rachel still managed to surprise me with some things. It is for this reason that I found myself enjoying Seraphina even more. Sometimes it’s not just about what happens, but it is also about how these things happen, and what else happens around it that really bring a story to life.

By the end of the book, I found myself really wanting to carry on the story, to find myself entangled in that world once more so I was sad when I remembered I would have to wait a bit of a while before the next book is released. Fortunately, I can now go backwards and read the prequel instead. The book wasn’t left on a cliff-hanger, like some novels like to do, but it was a nice ending that kept you wanting more while also satisfying the story within that book.

the characters unwind
There were so many characters in Seraphina that I found myself truly liking and enjoying and while Seraphina should be the natural favourite, I actually much preferred Prince Lucian. He was so… simplistic but yet also full of depth. I loved that he basically wore his heart on his sleeve, he said what he wanted to and he had this look on his face that just… I could just imagine it perfectly. I found myself feeling sorry for him and wanting to kick him all at the same time and really, he was just a really well-written character. I did also like Seraphina. She had a lot going on, a lot to deal with and hide but she was still stubborn and curious. I liked that she did what she wanted to, worrying about the consequences second but that she was also so protective of people. She was a great character with a depth and it was so easy to see that she wasn’t some two-dimensional annoying protagonist.

I also loved Orma, he was such a brilliant character who was living with such a dilemma. He needed to remain faithful to his dragons because it was the only way to save the one he loved and in that act he had to be emotionless, as all dragons are, but in remaining faithful he was merely showing how full of emotions he truly was. A dynamic character that I really found myself getting attached too. Princess Glisselda was another favourite of mine. She has a lot to learn but by the end of the story, you can see the cloggs turning in her head as she takes everything on and does her best to be the best she can be. She has the world thrust upon her shoulders and she handles it with grace and charm, just as a princess should.

the problems unseen
While this book was absolutely stunning and I found it to be a marvellous read, there were a few issues along the way. At first I found it quite hard to get into. There was a lot of new information piled on and not a lot of things that actually happened so it made it difficult to keep going but I was so glad that I did carry on as it was so worth it. Understandably this needs to be there as the new original world needs to be described to the reader for them to understand the rest of the story, but it might have been a little better if more had happened. Hopefully I’m the only who has found this problem however. Other issues included the music teacher, I found it difficult to get behind his character and found his actions hard to believe at the end of the novel but that could just be my problem. Fortunately, these issues did not deter me from reading the book, nor did they stop me from enjoying it, and I hope that this would be the same for you as well.

it all comes to a close
Overall this novel is a magnificent and glorious masterpiece that I would easily re-read and would definitely recommend to people who love fantasy stories – especially epic fantasies. It was imaginative and just really captured a lovely piece of this world. It is clear that there is so much more on the horizon just waiting to arrive and I cannot wait to read the next book when it gets released. This is one book that I honestly don’t think you want to miss! So, if you haven’t already got this one in your collection… what are you waiting for?

* I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review *



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