Seraphina by Rachel Hartman Book Review

Thursday, July 26, 2012 4:52 PM
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Release Date: July 10, 2012
467 pages, Seraphina series
Rating: 4 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

“The world inside myself is vaster and richer than this paltry plane, peopled with mere galaxies and gods.” 
― Rachel HartmanSeraphina

Synopsis
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. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts
I was really excited for Seraphina. I expected it to be a new fave, but I was disappointed when I first started reading. It took me awhile to really immerse myself in the story. I was bogged down by all the detail and, honestly, a little confused. There was just so much to digest, and I think the beginning could have started off smoother. There was a lot of stuff that needed clarifying. When I finished, I was still unsure about some of the saints, like St. Ogdo, and what the Tanamoot was. Maybe I just missed some key details. I'm not sure. The glossary helped a lot and I finally found out some stuff I wanted to, but that was at the end of the book so I finished before realizing it was there. 

It took me till almost halfway through, but I did eventually enjoy the book. Very much so. It was slow-paced in the beginning so I read slower. But once I reached about halfway, I couldn't put it down. I loved hearing about the religion and culture of Goredd. The festivities and the worshipping of different Saints was so intriguing. Goredd was described beautifully, and I found myself falling in love with all of its eccentricities: the Countdown Clock and the beehive skep, Quighole and Treaty Eve.  The inclusion of the psalters and philosophy also really added to the story. Prince Kiggs and Seraphina quoted philosophers frequently, and the language was beautiful. 

The music had a central theme throughout. At first, I was reminded of band concerts and my flute lessons, of band camp and so many awkward memories trying to play my open holed flute. But then the music built upon itself, growing in strength and meaning throughout the book. It flows wonderfully and it has such a strong place in the book, almost a character itself. I loved how the songs communicated mood and a longing for the past. The song lyrics were amusing at times and poignant at others. I found myself drawn into songs I couldn't even hear, and Seraphina's love for music worked well with the plot. 

I loved Seraphina. She was outspoken, sweet and lovable. She really proved her bravery, even though she did not believe in herself. Plus, her abilities were so unique and her mind so strange. I liked it. I loved Prince Kiggs. He was adorable. And even Glisselda who could be very clever, when she wasn't high maintenance, and there was something so endearing about her, how oblivious she was to awkwardness. How she could crumble in despair and then be authoritative in the next second. Plus, Abdo, Dame Okra, and Lars and well, I loved so many characters. Orma especially! He's probably my favorite, or Kiggs, or Abdo. All of them were so awesome. I found the dragons could be funny without even meaning to be. Hartmann did a great job with character development. I cracked up every time the scrawny sackbut player was mentioned. 

Despite the slow beginning, I did come to love Seraphina and I will continue reading the series in the future. The dragons were unique, and I liked how the story added a new twist to dragon mythology. 

Happy reading, 

Courtney 

P.S. Fat Cat Reads A Lot - Seraphina Review




Fat Cat aka Pudgy aka Callie decided to read Seraphina with me this week. She purred during the romance scenes. Hissed at the drama. Her review: 

Meow meow dragons. Meow meow fantastic. 

She gave it 3 tails out of 5. She was upset there were no cats. 

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