Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Book Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

By:  Rachel Hartman
Publication Date:  July 10, 2012
Publisher:  Random House Books for Young Readers, 451 pages

GoodReads Description:

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.


I was really interested in reading a book about dragons and I did like the world-building, including the fact that dragons could take human form and had rejected emotions and had very analytical and mathematical minds.  I also enjoyed the politics of it all (humans and dragons really hating each other but having this very uneasy truce).  However, there was just something missing for me in this book.  The book started out a bit slow and there was just so much information throughout the book that didn’t seem that necessary, although it may turn out to be in later books.  There’s a middle ground with having enough information in a book versus having too much, and I think there was just a bit too much here for me.  Sometimes I found myself just found myself skimming a bit, especially when Seraphina is in her “garden.”  Also, I just never completely connected with the characters. It wasn’t one of those books where I was so invested in the characters that I was laughing or crying or wanting to throw my Kindle across the room. Seraphina is a likeable character, and I enjoyed the scenes with her and Prince Lucian Kiggs and Oram. I was rooting for Seraphina and Kiggs, but then you have Princess Glisselda, who I kept liking more and more as the book went on and I’ll be curious to see what the author does with that triangle in the future.

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