Thursday, 18 July 2013

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Title: Seraphina
Author: Rachel Hartman
Publisher: Corgi
Released: July 1st 2012
Pages: 369 (Paperback)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Add on 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.

Half of the time, I firmly have my head stuck in fantasy land - new worlds, dragons, goblins, elves, dwarves - I love it all! Seraphina came up on my radar back in February, as even though it was published back in 2012, it's recently started to increase in popularity. As soon as I saw the synopsis was about dragons - well, who am I to resist?

Four decades ago, peace finally settled between human- and dragon-kind. That is, until a member of the royal family is murdered in a strangely...dragon-like fashion. With suspicion settling over the land and rumours spreading, Seraphina is determined to uncover who is really behind the murder, whilst keeping her own secrets...well, secret.

I was super excited to start this - as I said earlier, I love fantasy and mythical creatures, especially dragons. The whole idea of dragons being able to transform into humans is something I've never seen before, and it's interesting. I think most people have thought about what it would be like if you could transform into a different creature - or I have, anyway! I loved the way that Hartman highlighted the differences between the dragons and humans, and how her writing changed with the characterisation.

I guess the characterisation in the terms of individual characters wasn't that amazing. I could tell the difference between them, but I wasn't bowled over by any of it. Seraphina was a good narrative, and she kept the reader hooked - but there was nothing about her that really stood out, aside from her long name.  The same goes for many of the other characters.

As a love interest, Kiggs wasn't that great. There was barely anything suggestively romantic between them - one moment he was the prince and Seraphina barely noticed him; the next, she is "in love". It wasn't the kind of unrealistic, instalove that often features in contemporary novels, but it was just very abrupt and...dull? I didn't care whether they got together or not, really, which was a shame, as with a bit of improvement, I think Kiggs could have been quite swoonworthy.

I think I expected a lot more from Seraphina, really. It wasn't a bad book by any means, but it wasn't as fantastic as I thought it would be. I'm still excited for the sequel, of course - I mean, come on, dragons! Would I turn down dragons? - but I'm not as hyped up as I was about this read. If you love fantasy like me, I think this is worth a go. Hopefully in the sequel, a lot of the points I brought up will have been changed (i.e. HOT KIGGS ACTION PLEASE!)
Rating: 3/5


  1. I thought this one was okay. With all the hype it got, I expected something that would completely blow me away, but most of the time, I was bored. It's a cool idea though.
    Nice review! :)

    1. I completely agree with you. Oh well! It was still worth reading, I thought.