Seraphina

SeraphinaSeraphina by Rachel Hartman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5

Seraphina is an interesting and clever novel. It is set in an alternate medieval world of Goredd. It has all the things you’d want and expect from a fantasy novel set in a world of dragons. The dragons themselves are unusual in that that they can fold in to assume a human form( saarantras), though they don’t care much for it. Also, they are rather intellectual and highly logical and rational( which scared me shitless- I’m a being of chaos) beings who view us puny humans as cockroaches. They lock up their emotions in a small chamber of their mind so that their feelings don’t hinder their progress. Any dragon suspected of developing this weakness is excised. So, over all it’s all very captivating.

There’s the awesome world building. It was fantabulously done. The world was rich, the descriptions were vivid but not too intense. The narrative was good, the characters interesting, the plot was – figuring out the killer of a royal.

Our protagonist, Seraphina, is the progeny of a human and a saarantras and also a music protegee. She is likable enough but sometimes she just got on my nerves so much; there is no particular reason for it except that she kept blathering on and on and on about how she is a monster, how all dragons are monsters. But fortunately, that portion is easy enough to ignore and doesn’t even form a substantial part of the book. Then there were the extraordinary abilities of the half-saarantrai people that simply baffled me. That isn’t to say I didn’t like ’em. I think the powers were cool but what puzzled me was how could they get super-mental powers that are unheard of in both humans and dragons.

Then there is the love interest, Prince Lucian Kiggs. I didn’t feel the development of their romance. One second they are kidding about philosophers and bastards, the next she realizes she’s in love with him. What’s up with that?!?!!? I’d have enjoyed it more if only their friendship progressed in this novel, but I guess (view spoiler)[since she is leaving to find the rest hybrids, it couldn’t be helped. (hide spoiler)] But I quite liked the fact that they both acknowledged the fact that Lucian is engaged to the monarch and there’s a war brewing with the dragons, and decided to leave their romance for another time.

And I was fascinated with the concept of Ard. Not liked it, mind you, that’s too much order. And how the dragons use it to separate their emotions from the rest of their brains. Also, how Seraphina incorporate the concept to keep visions of other hybrids from overwhelming her was intriguing and clever. I enjoyed being in her head, observing the other characters and just viewing the gardens much more than reading about her managing the programs and events.

So overall it was a fantastic novel that had its fair share of oooohs and aaaahs and oh-shucks, but it just didn’t have me sitting upright wondering what’s going to happen next. However, I’ll definitely be watching out for the next book Drachomachia.

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