Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Title: Seraphina (Seraphina #1)

Author: Rachel Hartman

Release Date: July 10th 2012 by Random House Books for Young Readers

Read: November 18th 2012

Pages: 467-Hardcover-Library

Series:

  1. Seraphina
  2. Shadowscale

Synopsis:

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.

What I thought:

There are so many good things about this book, the first of course being dragons! The dragons are huge, but have the ability to become smaller and look like normal people. Aside from the fact that they don’t usually show much emotion, it’s hard to tell them apart, so by law they have to have bells on their clothes. There is also much hatred among the people towards the dragons because of the past and how they used to fight. Even after the treaty of peace, there are still those that would attack and rally others against them.

Seraphina (Phina) is the main character, with a lot to hide. She is half-dragon, an entity which is not only very rare but what most people think is a myth or a horrible thing. She has to hide herself and avoid people so she isn’t the center of attention in case they find out about her. She also tends to tell a lot of lies, even when she hates doing it. She is actually very intelligent and good at noticing things, sometimes even thinking like a dragon would. The way she feels about herself and her nature is so sad too, she thinks herself a monster and can’t love herself at all. I do like how she does change and grow as the book goes, and how bold she is with a certain someone at the end of the book.

I won’t tell you all that makes her unique, but one thing is the garden in her head. Because of something that happens when she’s younger, she sees visions of other people, but to stop them from ruining her she has to create an imaginary place to contain them. She has to visit each night and tend to those people staying there or else the visions may come back. This actually is important as it plays a bigger role later, and I actually found it kind of cool how she interacts with it. The people in there that she focuses on are really interesting too.

All the characters in this are so full of life, from the dragons blending in, to the royalty and of course the people at court in the palace that are always talking behind someone’s back. I think Kiggs and Orma are my favourite aside from Phina!

If you want a rich world with dragons and knights and lots of other fun fantasy stuff, definitely read this book!

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