I just finished Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. I’m going to give this one nine stars. I loved it! I thought it was amazing and deep, and the world building was incredible The world may have been my favorite part. I loved the saints and the churches that are featured, the quotes and the philosophers and the law that are unique to this story.
It’s YA fantasy, so I’m recommending this to any fantasy readers. Even if you’re hesitant about the dragons. I’ve got to admit, I was a little hesitant too. That’s why I waited a while to pick up Eragon again (I had stopped it in the middle a long time ago, but after reading this and listening to my friend going on and on about how good it is I’ll give it another chance). Sometimes, it can happen happen that people automatically cringe when the hear dragons, for no reason other than dragon books just sound lame. But I had a feeling it wasn’t true, so I tried this.
And I’m glad I did.
Seraphina opened me up to a whole new branch of fantasy. So of course I’ve got to recommend it to fans Ergaon since it’s been called THE YA dragon book, although Seraphina goes deeper than its dragons. I thought the dragons were actually a great choice for the mythical creature that the humans were afraid of, considering they’re big, scary beasts. So I’d say fans of any books about hybrids (The Dark Elements by Jennifer L. Armentrout, for one), historical books (The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare) and any other high fantasy world, like Graceling by Kristin Cashore.
Summary (goodreads): 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.
Non spoiler review: I may have already mentioned this in the beginning, but I’m going to say it again. AMAZING. WORLD. BUILDING. Seraphina takes place in a middle-ages style high fantasy world in the kingdom of Goredd, where dragons live amongst the humans. It’s even better than it sounds. There are kingdoms and saints and politics and everything you need in a real universe, but in an intriguing fantasy-style. But the characters were great too. They are very well built. I love a character I feel like I know, and I feel like I know her and understand her pain. I also love a love interest I can fall in love with, and that was Lucien Kiggs. There are also themes of racism and self acceptance, which are some of my favorite themes to read about in YA. Overall, I loved it, and I recommend it to all fantasy readers.Although I must warn you, it doesn’t have a lot of action, so if you’re someone who needs constant excitement in their books you may hesitate to pick this up. Although I’d even recommend someone who isn’t usually a fan of slower reads to check it out.
Let’s start with what I didn’t like, and then I’ll get into what I did like with more detail.
Didn’t like – it was a little slow. There isn’t much action, and the characters weren’t so adventurous. Lucien kept calling her brave, but I thought that the only thing that made her truly brave was when she lived in the castle knowing they’d kill her if they ever found out if she was half dragon, and then announced it to the world. She was also brave when she talked to the prisoners. But she didn’t really fight her grandfather or make any decisions about peace, her uncle and the princess did that. But at least we got to see the princess with some power, even though she wasn’t the main character.
Liked – As I may have mentioned, the world building and the characters, so I won’t get into that again. But I do haven to talk about the silent romance brewing between her and the prince. I was nearly heartbroken when he told her to call him Prince Lucian instead of Kiggs. I love them together, but even though I love Glisselda, Lucian belongs with Seraphina. Lucisan is very honest, and that’s another thing I love about him, but it’s kind of anoying when he doesn’t understand that Seraphina CAN’T tell the truth. I mean, come on dude, I know you don’t get it but she’s trying her best here.
Also, that world. Wow. I’m a history person, and a fantasy person, so this was great to dive into. So many details. The world made Seraphina being a hybrid all the more intriguing, because of the whole dragon human issues. But it was more than that; it was actually against her religion to be a hybrid.
This book also had its funny parts. My favorite was when Lucien thought Orma and Seraphina were together. I wanted to scream into the book “he’s her freaken uncle!!!” But I didn’t, even though I thought it. At first I thought he had to know she liked it because she wasn’t hiding it that well, and then he came out with his Orma theory and I just thought this guy was hilarious. At least they kissed later. I hope they’re together in the second book, I really ship Lucien and Seraphina. And I wanat Glisselda to find someone else, because she doesn’t deserve to be dumped.