Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman [REVIEW]

TITLE: Seraphina (Seraphina #1)
AUTHOR: Rachel Hartman
PUBLISHER: Random House Books
PUB DATE: Jul 1 2013
Summary 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.

In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page."


“He did not know the truth of me, yet he had perceived something true about me that no one else had ever noticed. And in spite of that—or perhaps because of it—he believed me good, believed me worth taking seriously, and his belief, for one vertiginous moment, made me want to be better than I was.”

I had a rough start with Seraphina. As expected, High Fantasy stories always come out confusing for me in the beginning. Whenever I read one, a map is always something I am grateful for, and yet I find the places a mouthful to say. The lore is another thing I had to adjust to, and it takes quite a while for their histories to sink in. Most of all – there were so many names!!! I can’t quite stress out enough how badly I am with remembering names, so thank goodness for the glossary at the back. It really helped a lot to understand this world.

Our heroine, Seraphina, lives in a world where the powerful dragons are thought inferior to the human race, quite a foolish and egotistical belief for a race that can be swiped off the earth in mere seconds. But because of a treaty between them and the dragon-kind, humans have become overconfident, not knowing that there is danger lurking right under their noses.

Although I already knew what Seraphina is without her revealing it yet, I never considered the danger that she would have been in if she were to reveal her secret. Another interesting factor about Seraphina were her visions. To think at first I thought that imaginary world seemed senseless and irrelevant to be elaborated in such a way, and yet it became quite a major factor in the story.

Kiggs didn’t really capture my attention that much. He’s a good character, but I didn’t find anything that was unusual about him as a hero and a romantic interest that would stand out from the others.

Glisselda was another story though. The first word that came out of my mouth when I met her was “idiot”. But her kindness towards Seraphina gave me a change of heart; I might have judged her harshly in the beginning. “Ignorant” would be a better description, I guess. Her actions in the end made me think that there may still be hope for her.

Reading this book was like riding a rollercoaster. All the excitement and anticipation brewing before the ride, much like how captivated I was over the story during the first half of the book. Then come the twists and turns similar to the rush I felt over the encounters with the dragons. But eventually the ride comes to a complete stop and I was left weary and a little queasy. Did I have fun in the end? Yes I did. But the action scenes, which were pretty much nonexistent (it was so short!) was rather disappointing.

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