Thursday, 14 June 2012

Seraphina - Book Review

Seraphina– Book Review
Rachel Hartman
YA Fantasy
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.
Fantasy is by far by far my favourite genre, so when I read the press release of Seraphina that explained it was story with dragons that take on human form; I just knew I had to get my hands on a copy. Therefore it came as no surprise that I ended up loving the book. It proved to be the kind of YA fantasy novel that I could put on par with works by authors such as Garth Nix, Tamora Pierce and Maria V Snyder. A truly fantastical read!
The story is set in a world where for the last forty years, a tenuous peace has been kept between humans and dragons. Yet the bloodshed between the two species has not been forgotten – leaving the protagonist Seraphina literally caught between two warring worlds. Born from the forbidden love of her parents, Seraphina is a half dragon half human, a creature that divine law states should not exist.
Hiding her true identify away from everyone, Seraphina does her best to fit in among humans. Then she stumbles upon a plot to destroy the fragile peace of the treaty and bring back the days of war – leaving her morally obliged to investigate further. Only now, working side by side with the Prince whose speciality is in uncovering the truth, Seraphina must work doubly hard to keep her heritage a secret – otherwise her family, her life and even her heart, she stands to lose them all…
I truly did love this book. However I have to say that the first chapter is confusing and pretty hard to get through – I don’t know if this was just first chapter jitters from the author but I really do recommend you persevere, the writing style really relaxes after that first chapter and you’ll find yourself truly locked into the story.
The world that the author Rachel Hartman creates is simply amazing. Very intricate and descriptive - it is full of philosophy, religion, music, mystery and of course dragons.  It is all extremely well developed and simply sets the imagination soaring.
The plot contains many twists and turns and there is always much more to each character than first meets the eye. Seraphina for instance makes a remarkable heroine, she has a quick mind and a kind heart which more often than not leads to trouble. Her love interest Prince Kiggs is also very endearing and I really liked the slow burn of their romance.
However every character in the story is equally unique and interesting, Orma, Fruit Bat, Vivirdius, Princess Glisselda (just to name a few) play such fantastic parts and are so refreshingly individual! The dragons themselves also bring a dry humour to the book as they fail to understand human emotions and customs. Generally they ignore social etiquette and unintentionally, are often quite rude.
Overall I loved it. However this is a high fantasy book so I know it won’t be for everyone but for those of you who do love fantasy, Seraphina is a must read! 5 stars!


  1. I'm pretty leery about high fantasy, although you did a good job convincing me this is a good book. I just like my fantasy closer to the real world...otherwise I feel detached from the world and characters. Although if the author does a good job creating the world (Lord of the Rings...) I enjoy it very much. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention.

  2. Oh I loved this book. Love, love, love.