Apr 22, 2015

Review--Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

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.

I wanted to love Seraphina, I have heard nothing but great things about this book Rachel Hartman wrote and the sequel that took some years to come. It sounded intriguing and involved dragons! What's not to love? But sadly, and I really, really am sad, this book just was not for me.

I think I fell blunder to the fantasy world situation. Every now and then, I might come across a fantasy, that no matter how amazing it sounds, I can never get into. A lot of world-building goes into it, but somewhere along those lines, I lose track of things. There are sooo many different vocabulary words to learn that are related to the world, that referencing the glossary becomes tiring. And then it stops the flow of reading.

The pacing was a little slow as well, and I think coupled with the fantasy tropes and awkward names and loads of history that's where my reading got slower. I took a short break from it the other day and I almost dreaded picking it up again. This was so not what I wanted to happen. I wanted to love this book with everyone else.

I will admit though, I did like the characters. Seraphina was the kind of heroine I love. Strong-willed and brave...all the good things. She's a dragon in hiding in a world that basically hates dragons. Her life is pretty much in the danger zone, because if her secret is revealed...things definitely wouldn't end pleasantly. Then there's Kiggs, a prince and sort of guard, he's engaged to one of the princesses though, so it definitely presents a love complication between him and Seraphina. Though, the romance is nowhere near insta-love. It's definitely a gradual thing of sorts, where it takes time for even Seraphina to realize that she loves him.

I struggle to even write this review. What can I say? There were times when my mind wandered and that again had to do with the pacing and sometimes fantasy vocabulary overload. There were too many words and phrases I wasn't familiar with and then a few scene transitions left me staggering because I didn't quite grasp where we were at. And there was on occasion a word not listed in the glossary and it left me struggling to figure out the context of it in the sentences.

While parts of Seraphina were done beautifully, it was almost too beautiful. Too much, because I just couldn't get into the story like I wanted to. It had tons of potential for me as a reader, but in the end, it was just too much. I just didn't get into the story like I had wanted to. I guess my expectations were too high based on all the amazing reviews. I would still recommend trying Seraphina out if you're at all interested. Remember, just because my rating is low, doesn't mean the book was bad. It just wasn't the read for me. I would recommend looking to Goodreads for higher rating reviews because then you'll be able to see the magic that I had been hoping to experience.

Overall Rating 2/5 stars


  1. Ohh noesss U saved me frm picking up this one and Shadow Scale, and they were expensive! I can't believe this didn't live up to ur expectations because I'd heard such great thigns about it. OHH NOESSS

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz

  2. I thought this book was okay too. But more disappointing is that I was hoping things were going to end with a bang with Shadow Scale, but I just finished that and I'm feeling a bit ambivalent about it now too. You probably wouldn't want to continue after this, and I wouldn't blame you; it's more of the same tone and style, but the pacing was even more problematic.

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

  3. So disappointing when a book doesn't work out for you.


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