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Friday, August 17, 2012

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (Review)

Genre:Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure
Publication.Date  July 10th 2012
Published By:  Random House for Young Readers | 
WebsiteRachel Hartman | 

Seraphina - Goodreads
My review copy:A copy of the book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Where to get:

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.

“Sometimes the truth has difficulty breaching the city walls of our beliefs. A lie, dressed in the correct livery, passes through more easily.”
“We were all monsters and bastards, and we were all beautiful.” 
“He did not know the truth of me, yet he had perceived something true about me that no one else had ever noticed. And in spite of that—or perhaps because of it—he believed me good, believed me worth taking seriously, and his belief, for one vertigi-nous moment, made me want to be better than I was.” 

     I loved Seraphina! I was totally blown away by this phenomenal YA fantasy, full of fresh ideas, clever plot developments, and fascinating dragons. This beautifully written novel is sure to impress readers, with relatable characters, savvy storyline and magnificent world-building

     Rachel Heartman's dragon world is simply gorgeous. I loved that she developed such an interesting and complex society, complete with political and social aspects. Dragons in this story mingle with the human kind; they take on a human form and live among their former enemies. They are not violent, fire-breathing, blood-thirsty creatures - they're very intelligent, rational, cold-minded, and diplomatic. They don't roam the skies in search of an easy pray, and they don't randomly attack innocent people - they're far more civilized for that. Hartman's dragons attend the court as ambassadors and give lectures at universities. They are scholars, scientists, and tutors. And yet humans don't trust them. The peaceful co-existence between humans and dragons is ensured by the peace treaty, but like with any treaty, there are those who support it and those who'd like to destroy it. The already unstable truce threatens to fall apart when a body of Prince Rufus is found, and the fact that it's missing head seems to be pointing to a dragon as his murderer. 

     Our sixteen-year-old heroine, Seraphina Dombegh, lives with her father, and works as the assistant of the royal music master. Her mother died while giving birth to her, and though Seraphina has no memories of her, she inherited her incredible musical talent. Though extraordinarily talented, she can't display her musical skills publicly, as she can't afford to draw attention to herself. Why? Because of the dark secret she's hiding. A secret that, if discovered, could put both her and her father in great danger. 

     I really loved reading about Seraphina, her world (outer as well as inner), her interactions with Orma and Prince Lucian, and all her adventures. It was heartbreaking to see her struggle to accept who she was, adapt to her difficult situation, and learn to live with the consequences of her origin. Most of all, though, it was moving and inspiring. Seraphina's life was never an easy one. Her father wasn't excessively affectionate towards her; and she had to watch her every step in order to keep both of them safe. She was so full of passion, so curious of life and the world around her, and yet she was never allowed to fully explore her potential. To me, she was like a bird in a cage who never got to spread its wings and fly freely. That didn't stop her from dreaming and trying, though, and I loved how persistent, hard-working and brave she was. A truly wonderful heroine, indeed. 

     Seraphina is exquisitely written. Everything from the setting of the story to its many interesting characters is exceptionally fleshed-out. Rachel Hartman writes with style, grace, and great care for details, making it easy for the reader to connect with the characters and fully appreciate all the intricacies of the storyline. Her descriptions are vivid, flavourful and rich. The meticulous plotting instantly captivates and the mesmerizing writing style weaves a magical spell. It's simply impossible not to fell in love with this book; this world; this achingly gorgeous tale. 

     While it's not a book that you'll be able to breeze through in one sitting (at least not for me, it isn't), it's most certainly one that you'll be coming back to every day until you finish it. And you shouldn't rush through it; you should take your time and slowly savour the story to ensure no details or important information escape your attention. There's a lot going on on the pages of Seraphina, and it's all-too easy to miss something that might prove essential to understanding the world, the characters, and the intrigue. Besides, why would you want to rush through something as beautiful and imaginative as this fabulous fantasy novel? It's such a treat, and not only for fans of the genre, but for anyone who loves a solid plot line, breath-taking adventure, and magical worlds filled with fantastic creatures. Oh, and let's not forget about the musical aspect of the story! It definitely added a nice sophisticated touch to it.

     To be honest, I don't think there's a single thing I didn't enjoy about this book. It's a gorgeous and compelling piece of literature and I definitely recommend checking it out. It's true that it took me a while (nearly one-third of the book) to really get into the story, but when I did, I didn't want to stop reading. I am absolutely in love with Rachel Hartman's writing style and can't wait to see what else she has in store for us!

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


Jody said...

Great Review. I am curious about this book. The cover kinda makes me think more fantasy than anything.
Jody Duffy

Amy said...

So glad to hear that you really liked this one! My library has the audio book of it and I am going to put myself on the hold list for it. I just hope since it's high fantasy I don't get confused with the names not reading them on a page. I love audio books, but sometimes find it hard when names and other words are uncommon. Fabulous review! I am excited to get to this one.

Gorelenore said...

I loved this book so much too! It was a beautiful world.

Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

I adored this book. Very surprising writing for a debut novel, Hartman did an amazing job and I can't wait to get the next book! I was actually surprised at how quickly the book went for me (I just didn't want to put it down though)

Danny said...

OoOo I want to read this book!!! This truly was a beautiful review Evie!!! And you hooked me with "The meticulous plotting instantly captivates and the mesmerizing writing style weaves a magical spell."

uhm... yes , me wants to read this!

Ashley @ Book Labyrinth said...

I'm intrigued! I keep hearing great stuff about this one. I actually have it from the library and I'm itching to delve into it soon.

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

As much as I like unputdownable books I can read in one sitting, sometimes it's nice to read a book that doesn't make you want to rush through. It sounds like a nice read, I'm glad it's waiting on my shelf!

Jaime Lester said...

Seraphina is sitting on my shelf. MY shelf. It is all mine, and though I (sadly) haven't been able to get to it yet, I look a the shelf on a regular basis and just smile because I know that it is sitting there. Occasionally I will pick it up just to look at the too pretty cover. I am so glad that you reviewed it and liked it. I can go into it knowing I am going o be satisfied. Thanks for the review!

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