Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Genres: Dystopia, Supernatural
Release Date: July 10th, 2012
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.
With so many raving reviews, I made the classical mistake of having pretty high expectations when I went into this book. I’m sad to say that I didn’t see why everyone fell in love with this book. Seraphina did have it’s good points, like it’s uniqueness, but it fell flat in others.
The best thing about Seraphina has to be how unique it is. The world-building, the characters, the history, everything about this book is so unique, and I really enjoyed learning about everything in this book. The whole dragons thing had a new kind of take on it, which was very original. Also, the mind/vision type thing we had going on in this book was also super neat. The world-building was done fantastically; we weren’t given enormous amounts of information all at once, it was done in pieces, so that everything wasn’t overwhelming. The writing, just in general, is very beautiful, and if you add that to the wonderful originality of the story, you get something very special.
Also, the ending of this book was extremely entertaining. The ending is where lots of things started to happen, when pieces of the puzzles started falling into place. I liked how we as the readers were figuring things out just as the characters were, that really put us, the readers, in a good place. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, which made me want to keep reading to figure out what actually was going to happen. The ending was addicting and riveting, and that made me wish that the beginning had been as good.
The main problem with Seraphina lies in it’s beginning. It is just so slow. Nothing really happens until the last portion of the book, like I said before. I had to keep forcing myself to read this one, because I knew people had to love for some reason. This book took me over a week to finish, which isn’t much for some people, but it is for me, especially because I actually had a lot of time that week. Usually with fast books, I’ll get really absorbed, so I’ll be able to finish the book in a day, with enough time. I had ample time to finish Serpahina during the week, but because it was so slow, it took me forever to finish it. Not only that, but I almost DNF’ed this book many times while I was trying to push myself through it.
Also, there was a lot of talk about Saints and stuff like that in this book. All that talk extremely confused me while I was reading. I understand that it was a part of the dystopian world that the author created, but this whole concept was never explained, like many other aspects of the world were. Since the topic of Saints was brought up quite a bit, I wanted at least a bit of an explanation of things, since I didn’t know anything before I started this book.
Overall, Seraphina was a bit of a disappointment for me, although I can totally see how others would love it. The world-building and writing is exquisite, and the ending is really action-packed and suspenseful. However, the beginning was extremely slow, and I almost DNF’ed this book too many times. And the talk about Saints and such thoroughly confused me. But, if you are fond of great world-building and little action, then you should give this book a shot. Sadly, Seraphina wasn’t exactly the book for me, but it could be for you.