Feb 3, 2015

My Thoughts: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

4 thickly frosted sugar cookies.

Cover Love:
I don't love this.  It makes the book look too fantasy, which it is, but it might not be as eye catching to some readers who would end up loving it.

Why I Wanted to Read This:
I have heard so many positive things about this book and saw that the sequel was coming out soon, so I decided to give it a try.  Plus it is part of my library collection so I was able to fit it in that challenge!  Here's the synopsis from 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.
Romance?: Yes. Sigh!

My Thoughts:
I gave this book only four stars rather than five because I found the first third pretty slow moving.  There was a lot of set up with world building, lots of new vocab, politics and characters to introduce.  It was a lot to take in and there were times I almost gave up.  Luckily the author introduced a few very interesting characters quickly on and that caught my attention and kept me reading.

I have to say, I love dragons.  Always have and always will.  I don't seek out every book about dragons, but I do really like them.  I don't love the idea of dragons as human and wonder why that had to come along.  However, it really works for this book because there would be no Seraphina if there weren't dragons as humans.

I loved the characters!  Seraphina was awesome and even though she thinks everything she did was to hide her secret, she also really wanted to know the answers.  And to help others, especially those like herself.  Princess Glissenda will prove to be an amazing queen--she is loyal, smart, trusts her instincts, but is very open to learning from others.  (I am hoping that what I am reading between her and her lady in waiting turns out to be true.)  Prince Lucian Kiggs--oh man!  So smart, inquiring, noble, sweet.  Everything you would want in a Prince.  Orma, no matter how much he strove to keep himself above the emotions of humans, he was such a good uncle.  So kind-hearted and wise.  What a good teacher for Seraphina.  Even the people in Seraphina's garden that we got to know were great characters.  Such a wealth of awesome.

The set up for the conflict between the dragons and the humans was very good, almost too much with the politics but I am glad I know about it.  It will make the second book go even faster and this is a world I want to return to.  I want to know what happens with Seraphina's "romance" and how this war gets resolved, but I would also want to read about how the treaty came about or how Seraphina's mother and father fell in love.  This is a rich world with a lot of possibilities for stories. 

And the romance.  I am such a sucker for romance.  I loved the build up, it was slow and they became friends first.  And even though we could see it coming from miles away, the ending was both satisfying and heart breaking.  But I didn't mind it.  And I think the third part of this triangle knows it is happening and is pleased because they are two of the people she cares about and trusts the most. 

To Sum Up:  This book is part of my middle school library collection, but I think it has to be a pretty mature reader to stick with it.  The set up is slow, necessary but slow.  I will be recommending it to the fantasy lovers I know.

Side Note:
Sometimes I give up on books too early.  A book like this reminds me that the climb might sometimes be slow, but the other side makes it SO WORTH THE TIME!  This is one I almost gave up on and I am so, so glad I didn't!


  1. Nice review, I really like dragons as well. Will have to give this a try sometime.

  2. I skimmed your review because I'm currently reading Seraphina myself, but I am so glad to hear you say you struggled with the slow beginning but it's worth it in the end! I'm struggling with the world building and the slow start, but I'm also hooked and engaged. I also agree with you about dragons as humans, and how it actually does work well enough here. Thanks for your review!