Series: Seraphina #1
Author: Rachel Hartman
Published: July 10, 2012 by Random House
(Amazon / Goodreads )
Synopsis: 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
I had heard some really great things about Seraphina and everything about it screamed "me book." So despite being late to the party I decided to pick it up in anticipation of the sequel coming out next week and I was not disappointed. Seraphina is an interesting and complex high fantasy novel with a really intriguing world rooted in reality but with some truly fantastical elements.
One of my favorite things about this book was the world that Rachel Hartman created. A lot of fantasy uses influences from Medieval history and with Seraphina it was very evident. You can tell that Hartman did a lot of research about different aspects of Medieval society. A lot of the book centered around those historical elements. From the court structure to the influence of religion and saints it felt a lot like historical fiction. As a fan of both genres I really appreciated that in this book. But that was just the beginning of the world, it is fantasy after all and we got lots of creative and fantastical element. It felt a lot like some of the historical fantasy novels that I love, and like all good historical fantasy it took something known and added the unknown and fantastical. In the case of this book, that was dragons.
I was trying to decide what I thought about the characters in this book. It's kind of a bit of a throwback for me because while I loved a lot of the secondary characters, the main character didn't make much of an impression. Not that Seraphina wasn't likable, she just didn't seem as special as some of the other cast of characters, both human and dragon. That being said, I am kind of surprised to say that I enjoyed the romance in this book a lot. One could argue that it's a bit of a love triangle but it works. Both guys are likable and swoonworthy and there are some great moments with both. And while things lean one way pretty quickly the actual romantic moments don't happen till much later in the book. It was a good slowburn which is always appreciated.
Seraphina is an interesting and complex fantasy read that feels like a well-researched historical fiction with the very cool addition of dragons. It's got some complex themes that I can't wait to address in later books and some intriguing characters that made the story all the more enjoyable.
I give Seraphina by Rachel Hartman 8.5 out of 10
Have you read Seraphina? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!