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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman [Book Review]

Title: Seraphina
Author: Rachel Hartman
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Random House
Source: Purchased

Lyrical, imaginative, and wholly original, this New York Timesbestseller with 8 starred reviews is not to be missed. Rachel Hartman’s award-winning debut will have you looking at dragons as you've never imagined them before…
In the kingdom of Goredd, dragons and humans live and work side by side – while below the surface, tensions and hostility simmer. 
The newest member of the royal court, a uniquely gifted musician named Seraphina, holds a deep secret of her own. One that she guards with all of her being.
When a member of the royal family is brutally murdered, Seraphina is drawn into the investigation alongside the dangerously perceptive—and dashing—Prince Lucien. But as the two uncover a sinister plot to destroy the wavering peace of the kingdom, Seraphina's struggle to protect her secret becomes increasingly difficult… while its discovery could mean her very life. 
Seraphina was a true fantasy. I say this because of all the effort that was clearly placed into the building of the world. Hartman creates a world and a race of dragon that was very original, and the relationship between the humans and the dragons is a central concept of the novel that evolves and comes to light as time goes on. We all know that I am a huge fan of fantasy, it speaks to me, and Seraphina was special in its originality.

I loved, loved, the conflict between the dragons and man kind. I felt the relationship between them (and the mirroring that seemed to take place) as very interesting, but also important because there was still a clear difference between the two races that was tangibly felt.

Seraphina, is caught between two worlds that made an attempt at coming together, but never can fully reconcile. This from the beginning gave her a sense of depth of character as the conflict was apparent from early on as not just an inner turmoil but an outer turmoil.

The writing was beautiful, the addition of art and music to the stories central themes were a wonderful addition which made some passages read full, luscious and embodied with emotions.

While I liked all of these things, I also think that at times the world and story were so intricate if you blinked you missed things. There is a glossary for a reason, and as long as you use it you're fine, but for the reader who does not want to have to keep names and people straight this may be a problem.

This book was no Game of Thrones in complexity, but the world was so much world building that using the Glossary proved to be very helpful.

The romance in the book was sweet and it was definitely an element the reader rooted for. I am very excited to see where Hartman takes this particular element in the book to Shadow Scale. The relationship between Kiggs, Glassinda, and Seraphina was one that I really enjoyed reading. They all shared an unusual friendship in their own ways, which kept me interested and intrigued as the plot thickened.

Seraphina is a wonderfully developed story that will appeal to fans of fantasy, and to fans of romance. This tale has so many varying elements that it will hold the interest of many and the beautiful imagery will only add to the appeal as Seraphina's music and garden come alive in the most wonderful ways. While this book is long, it is definitely worth the reading.

If you love fantasy, don't miss Seraphina!


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