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.
Seraphina was an awkward book for me to read, because I have conflicted feelings towards it and it was hard for me to follow along with. In a way, I look at it as challenging and in another way I'm a little disappointed in the fact that I felt as if I had to constantly force myself to keep reading. This was a book that I was really excited to read, because it was fantasy and also involved dragons, which are two things that I absolutely love more than anything. I don't know if it was the book itself or the fact that I'm such a mood reader and maybe I just wasn't in the right mood for this one at the time. I think it was a bit of both, if I'm being honest.
There were things that I found myself liking about this book and then there were also things, that I found a little frustrating as well. The concept of this novel and the story itself, is brilliant. However, I think the writer may have bitten off a little more than she could chew. As I was reading, I found myself constantly being jarred out of certain parts of the story due to the rhythm and the pacing of it. Just getting through the first few chapters of the book felt like a chore in itself, but I continued to stick with it because I kept hoping that it would get better. In some small ways it did, because there were things that I did find likable about it, but then there were other's that I didn't.
It was hard for me to understand certain aspects of Seraphina, because at times it felt like the story was in various different places at the same time. I had to work to keep up with it and then I had to work even hard to stay involved with it. That's something that I find a little too tedious when reading a book that I really want to enjoy. I was looking to find a lot of action and a more compelling story, than the one that I felt was written. Maybe if I hadn't gone into this book with such high expectations, I wouldn't have ended up feeling like it let me down as much as it did. The way the mythology of the dragons and their history was written, made kind of hard for me to finally understand them and their role of importance to the storyline. I could have been a little more forgiving of the "less action" if I had been better able to understand the dragons.
Seraphina, on the other hand, I really enjoyed her character quite a bit. I love that Rachel Hartman gave us such a wonderfully endearing and awesomely complex character, such as her. Part dragon and musically gifted, she was a rare gem and a breath of fresh air for me in this story. I love the tough exterior that she presented to the world, while still being a bit vulnerable beneath the facade. Her and Lucian were probably the best part of the story for me, personally. Lucian is just made of so much awesome, that it's hard to put his character into words. I found him to be wildly enigmatic, entertaining, and definitely swoon-worthy in his own way. Glisselda, is just pure amazing. There's the only thing that can be said for her, except that I love her journey and optimistic nature. For someone who came across so carefree, she turned into one of the strongest characters the book had to offer and that definitely made reading it a lot more enjoyable.
This book has some wonderful potential, that it makes me look forward to reading Shadow Scale for sure to see what's going to happen with these brilliant characters I have come to love so much. Seraphina, is an interesting novel with an intriguing concept that I feel could be built and expanded upon better. If you are a reader who enjoys fantasy novels and you like dragons too, then I would go ahead and recommend this book. It is a pretty solid read, even though it hasn't been my favorite. I urge you to give it a chance and don't just take my word for it. There are many things about it that were enjoyable, even amidst some of the conflicting elements.
Her first YA fantasy novel, Seraphina, was published by Random House on July 10th, 2012.
She is set to currently release the second book, Shadow Scale, in her YA Dystopia Fantasy series, Seraphina. It will be releasing March of 2015.