Thursday, September 6, 2012

Review: Seraphina - Rachel Hartman

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Series: Seraphina #1
Genre: YA, fantasy
Published on July 10, 2012
Published by Random House
Pages: 467
Read From: 8.1.2012 - 8.4.12

Four decades of peace have done little toe ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend the 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.


Cover Blurb: I really like it. The dragon, of course, grabbed my attention, since I love dragons, but there was also something about the simple pencil-drawing style that interested me as well. It’s different from a lot of covers.

What I Liked: Seraphina is a really good protagonist; she’s sensible, practical, and quick to realize her mistakes and fix them. I was able to really appreciate her personal struggle over being half-dragon because one of my own characters struggles with being half-blooded. Seraphina, though, doesn’t give in to self-pity, and strives to overcome the obstacles she faces. I loved Lucian Kiggs; he’s a very good “leading male.” The romantic attachment between them is predictable, but it didn’t bother me because they both handle it with great maturity and patience.

What I Disliked: What problems I had have to do with a few plot holes.

Believability: The dislike humans express towards dragons, and dragons express towards humans, is very believable and realistic - there would be dislike between the two races after long hostilities; there would always be someone looking to stir up trouble and break the peace. The political struggles were easy to follow and also believable.

Writing Style: I admit, it surprised me. It isn’t hair-raisingly good, but it’s definitely more than “just pleasant and entertaining.” This Author shows a lot of promise with her style. There are number of surprising twists, and she does a very good job in providing in-text translation of a lot of the dragon-words - though I wish she had provided a pronunciation guide in the back. Her dragons and dragonlore are original, and that’s a hard thing to say nowadays, and the dragon society even echoes a dystopian world ever so slightly. They are a bit more like Vulcans in their “suppress all emotion” practice than I would like, but the similarity is easy to ignore. The mystery of the Prince’s death is exciting, but I was disappointed in the fact that it more or less sinks into the background of the story. No one really seemed to be reacting the way a country would if their crown prince died, especially under such suspicious circumstances. They have the funeral, every once in a while the Prince's death with crop up in conversation, but other than that, everyone carries on with their life. Hello?! Your crown prince was just murdered!

Content: 1 s-word.

Conclusion: It promises a very exciting sequel and further character development; I believe that this is a series which could go on for a quite a while and not lose its originality and interesting factors.

Recommended Audience: Fans of dragons stories - especially ones who are looking for an original dragon story - and fantasy mysteries. This is both a guy-and-girl-read.

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