August 24, 2013

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman: Book Review

Seraphina (Seraphina, #1)Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: July 10th 2012
Source: Library
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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.

My Thoughts:
To be honest, I only picked up this book  because I miss reading YA fantasy novels and Christopher Paolini is one of my idols-his quote is on the book cover.  I am a little disappointed with this book but only a smidge. I was expecting a very interesting and fast-paced fantasy book but that didn’t really happen.

The plot of this book was a little slow. But in all fairness, I keep forgetting that fantasy books are all slow because authors need to explain the setting accurately; setting is a very important factor in fantasy books.  I also thought that the plot ,although interesting, was not explained very well and it was confusing at times. For example, the book keeps refering to the Ardmagar and a bunch of saints that are not explained (edit: there is a glossary at the back of the book but it still isn’t enough for me). I didn’t know what the Ardmagar was until he came to visit and I realized he was some sort of important dragon-leader, don’t ask.

Despite the slow and sometimes confusing plot, I really enjoyed the setting. Rachel Hartman built a  fantastic world. To sum it up simply, dragons and humans were archenemies forty years ago. Finally, a legendary queen whose name I can’t remember, signed a treaty with the Ardmagar and together, they restored peace to the kingdom. Now, dragons take human form as Saarantras.  Sounds awesome, right? It is but on the other hand, it isn’t. It does get a little annoying hearing how prejudice the humans still are and how they don’t trust dragons. We get it, humans are ignorant. The romance of this book was cute. It was a little predictable (ok maybe not a little, a lot) but nevertheless, it was cute. I cried near the end of this book. The family elements of this book were a little traumatic but when Seraphina was saying good-bye to her uncle (for reasons I can’t explain), I shed a tear.

Although Seraphina was an interesting read, I felt that it was unnecessarily long.  It took me four days to read this book (which is a long time for me, I usually read books in two) and that was because I had a tough time getting into it. As I mentioned before, this book was slow-paced and a little confusing to read.

Overall, Seraphina was an interesting but slow-paced read. The setting was well-written but the plot was a little confusing. The romance was cute and I did shed a tear near the end of the book. I suggest this book if you need a refresher from reading too many post-apocalyptic books, I know I did.

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