I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Series: Seraphina #1
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on July 10th 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Source: the Publisher
Also by this author: Tess of the Road
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.
Fantasy is a real hit or miss for me… That said, I have found some fantasy novels I have read and enjoyed immensely so I’m certainly not going to stop since I’ve found more bad than good. ‘Seraphina’ may not have been for me but I can definitely see the attraction and why this will be an extremely popular book. I will say this, Rachel Hartman writes incredibly well. You could visualize the world she created and her attention to detail was flawless. Seraphina was an awesome character View Spoiler »except for those parts where she was trying to remove her scales… wow were those hard sections to read. « Hide Spoiler The storyline itself, with Seraphina being a half-dragon and the garden in her mind… wow. I must say it was incredibly original and was the reason for my initial interest in this novel.
But I did give this 3 stars so I suppose I should discuss why. The storyline was not fast-paced in the least and the pacing was completely off so I did find myself struggling through sections (although I do blame the fact that I’m not a very patient reader). I actually stopped about 200 pages in and set it aside for the better part of a month. I did find that the story picked up around mid-way through and I was able to finally get through it.
Despite the fact that I praised the world-building I still found myself struggling to keep my facts straight. First installment novels in series often bother me because of the massive amount of info-dumping, but that wasn’t the total problem for me. Again, I’m not a huge fantasy fan but the strange names of people and places was too much for me to keep straight at times. The mystery itself that was the center of the story really lost me and even when the big revelation happened and all was revealed I was still scrunching my forehead trying to remember names and who was who. (There was a glossary in the back to help you out, but, I have an aversion to novels which require a glossary. I did sign up to read a story, not a textbook.)
The addition of the love interest was completely unnecessary and I would have loved if it had been left out. The attraction between the two left much to be desired plus there was the whole ‘he has a fiancé’ thing that was a bit off-putting.
I do still plan on reading the next installment, Dracomachia. I have a feeling (and high hopes) that since all the intricate world-building has been established we can focus solely on the story I will enjoy it more.