Author: Rachel Hartman
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Age Group: YA
Publisher: Random House
Page Count: 480
"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."
The Cover: Never judge a book it's cover, is the saying. Well, I did. I love this cover. It's brilliant. I want a giant poster of it to hang on my wall. 6 out of 5 Hearts!
Teasers: "I wasn't much of a runner; each step seemed to drive a spike into my knees, and the hem of my gown, sodden with dirty snow, clung to my ankles, nearly tripping me. I ducked left and jogged right, sliding on bloody ice . . . I climbed a ladder onto someone's work shed, hoisted it up after myself, and used it to climb down the other side . . .Basind's breathe rasped close by my neck; his hand hit my swinging satchel, but couldn't quite get a grip on it. I burst out of th ealley into bright sunlight. People scattered before me, crying out in surpise . . . we'd emerged in he middle of a cluster of men in black-feathered caps: the Sons of St. Ogdo." Pg 333-334.
My Thoughts . . .
To be honest, the book had a rocky start for me, simply because not a lot was happening. The world was being introduced and set up as well as the many, many characters, the physical and the mentioned. It was just a lot to take it, a lot to remember and to try to understand, but once that happened and the main plot of the story was revealed, things really kicked in and I was able to enjoy the world, the characters and the writing.
And did I enjoy!!
This book was fantastic. It reminded of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, which I adore, in the sense that this was an alternate old timey reality that was mixed with odd technology, though the technology of Seraphina's world is a great deal simpler when compared to Lyra's world.
Which brings me to our protag -
Seraphina is the MC of this novel, which only makes sense since the novel is her namesake and she was, thankfully, a huge breathe of fresh air for the YA world.
For those of you who are tired of love being the main point of your YA reads know this: this book is about love. It's about love for a mother, a father, a uncle, the people and one's self.
This is not a love story between a boy and girl, but with that being said, there is a romance for Seraphina in these pages -
Seraphina was strong, yet unsure. Brave, yet unwillingly so. She was intelligent, yet human (sorta) and realistic. And she was in love, yet it did not make her weak, did not detour her from her tasks and she changed through this love in the BEST way possible.
I very much enjoyed the romance and it was clear from the get-go that this would be one simply because of the bickering and stubbornness of these characters. It reminded of Hermione and Ron, only not that extreme.
Like previously mentioned, the main plot of the story took a while to unravel itself and once it did it was very captivating. The plot was all mystery, politics and fantasy.
Seraphina lives in a world where the dragons or the Saar, were once in war with humans and though mostly everything is good, there is still a lot of unease between the races, ALL of the races, including the Saar's less then intelligent cousins, the Quig.
(Side Note: The Quig . . . .eck!! They are just gross. Gross. Gross.)
Most people still silently fear or dislike the dragons and the same goes for the dragon towards the humans. The dragons are rather emotionless and think more like one would think a robot would, while the humans are of course emotional beings and just cannot connect with the scientific and stone logical Saar.
Saar think that the humans are pathetic sacks of emotional flesh and the humans think the dragons are just animals with a secret agenda to one day take over the world.
There was a main villain and a few side baddies that Seraphina had to deal with and for the most part I loved all of the evil doers. However, and this is a big however, I did not like who the main villain was revealed to be since they were in disguise. I liked who the main villain really was, just not who they were pretending to be. It just was not realistic to me. When the MV was revealed, I was just like, "Really...?" but then the MV started causing mayhem immediately afterwards, so I guess it payed off. I shall spend some belief, but only some....
This novel does deal with dragons, so by nature is a fantasy novel if anything but the fantasy of this world was . . .natural.
I believed in everything. It all made sense and all seemed plausible within the confines of the world and story. There was no wizards or faeries (yet!), but the subtle fantasy of the world was always present, especially with Seraphina and her 'visions'.
Too spoilery to really mention, but they were just so awesome and grotesque!
I loved it.
Perhaps my favorite part of this novel was the writing, which did take a minute to get in to, but once I did, it just made everything richer. I loved the world and the complexities of the government, the religion and the characters.
Hartman's writing style is very mature and complex for YA and based on that, I could have easily seen this book as a real treat for adults. It was just refreshing to see a really captivating and at times, challenging novel made for teens.
I would def say that this novel is age group defying and good for all who want a intriguing read.
It was great.
There is one particular scene that takes place in the dark washroom involving blood and a knife and it was just scary!
It was great and dark and scary.
Though I loved the writing style, things did get somewhat confusing. One moment we are in a memory that Seraphina is having and the next we are in present day . . . or so I think. Around one or two times, I was not sure if Seraphina was having a flashback or if the event that was occurring in the novel was actually happening at the present moment.
I did a little rereading and was still, a tad confused, but it truly did not deter me from the story in the slightest.
Like mentioned before, things did take a while to get in to and I read on due to my own stubbornness, which in the end paid off, but I'm not sure if everyone will do the same, which I hope they do, 'cus it is worth it.
In the end, Seraphina by author Rachel Hartman is a complex and thrilling story of magic, murder and memories that I greatly enjoyed and cannot wait for everyone to read!!
Advice: Push through the first 50 or so pages, 'cus it is worth it.
Question: Should you read?
Answer: Thuuluu Yes!!
Seraphina gets 4.1 Hearts out of 5!!