Thursday, 30 July 2015

Review : Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Title: Seraphina (Seraphina #1)

Author: Rachel Hartman

Publisher: Random House for Young Readers

Release date: July 10th 2012

Goodreads summary: In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, "Some of the most interesting dragons I've read in 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.


In this debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich fantasy world set in an alternate Middle Ages period, and I really liked that aspect of the book. The atmosphere was realistic, with the music part that was so important for the treaty anniversary, or the way characters lived. The dragons here were genuine, such logical minds that for example, they can play music perfectly (technically speaking), but it won't move anyone's emotions, so human music is still better. For me, this world was near perfect and would be hard to improve. Nothing is sugar-coated here, which was a good thing.

Moving on to the plot, I had a hard time keeping on. In the beginning, we attend Prince Rufus' funeral, and dragons are suspected for this death. Our main character, Seraphina, has to help Prince Lucian Kiggs' investigation, while organized festivities and teaching the harpsichord to his fiancée, Princess Glisselda. But Seraphina seems to know a little too much about dragons, because she has secrets of her own. In theory, this plot is intriguing, and I was eager to read it. However, this book is set during only a few weeks, but the book was pretty thick. I think somewhere in the middle, I got lost. Then, I continued my reading, but I couldn't keep up. In fact, unravelling the mystery around Prince Rufus' death didn't appeal to me anymore, sadly. For this reason, I don't know if I'll read the second book, because it's apparently bigger, and I don't want to be bored.

The characters were fine, but none really stood out to me, even though Seraphina was really interesting. I liked how her garden of grotesques - who seemed really weird in the beginning - was really important and still will be in the next book. I didn't get attached to any of these characters , unfortunately. What I really liked is that the romance wasn't a big part of the plot. Of course, you guess who Seraphina will develop feelings for, but it's not her priority. The peace is.

"She needs us both," he said, "and she needs us not to be so distracted by each other that we are unable to do our parts in this war."
I nodded. "Crisis first, love later. The day will come. I believe that."

Overall, I got bored pretty fast by this book and probably won't read the next one, because it was too big for what it was. I wanted to read about dragons because it's not a supernatural specie I got to read about a lot. Still, I started the Talon series last month, it was set in our contemporary world, and I loved it so much, I think it would be better to read it than Seraphina, if you want to read about dragons.

Rating: 3/5

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