Seraphina–Rachel Hartman

25 June 2014

Seraphina - Rachel Hartman
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 can’t believe it took me so long to read this book. It has been lurking on my TBR list for God knows how long. At one point I even considered deleting it from my TBR list. I kept thinking, dragons. rally? Thank all that is holy I didn’t. Now I am just kicking myself that I didn’t buy this sooner.

This book has the most original take on dragons that I have ever seen, not that I am an expert in dragon novels. It is so original thought. These dragons have a normal dragon form, but they can transform themselves into a human body where they are victim to human thoughts and emotions, something foreign to them in their dragon bodies. They don’t experience emotions when they are dragons, they are logical beings in that state so when they are humans they must constrain themselves to rules so that their emotions don’t overwhelm them. How awesome is that?

Enough about dragons though, what about the story you cry? The story is so lovely. The first couple of chapters confused me a bit, you are thrown in the deep end some, but I think it was made worse for me as I was reading on my kindle and didn’t realise there was a glossary until I finished the book. The language and some of the words which are used make the book a bit inaccessible at first, but considering I never found the glossary until the end I would say that you can puzzle through quite easily.

The language and the way this book is written is very formal, that makes it inaccessible as well, but I found it fitting. Seraphina is a formal individual, she acts very proper as to avoid drawing attention to herself as she has secrets of her own she does not wish to reveal. I liked that the writing reflected Seraphina herself and the way she would speak and think. Everything is written quite properly and you can feel the rigidity in the language I loved how the writing was mirroring the main character herself, although I suppose that isn’t to everyone’s taste.

I loved the friendships in this book as well. You don’t see too much of others characters, Seraphina is solitary by necessity, but of what you do see it is so lovely. Orma was a favourite of mine, such a great character. And Seraphina’s relationship with the princess, who obviously knows more of what’s going on than people seem to give her credit for in the book. It was just so nice, I have seen some reviews saying they would have liked more romance, but I think the friendships beat out a romance any day. There is a romance, it is such a slow burn romance that you don’t even notice it at first, and I love Hartman for that. I like romances that sneak up and maybe not take you by surprise, but you get eased into it.

I think my only complaint about this book is that it has ended and the sequel has yet to be released. I mean what is that? I would recommend this to anyone that likes a good romance novel that has excellent character and world building.

Anyone else read this? What did you think? Can you think of any similar books where there was such intricate world building that might take my fancy. I do love a good fantasy novel.
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