“Seraphina (Seraphina #1)” by Rachel Hartman
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
This is my second attempt at reading Seraphina. You can read my Did Not Finish review here.
One of the big reasons I didn’t finish the book the first time was I thought the book moved really slowly. My feelings didn’t change about that this time. It was still pretty slow moving. I was able to ‘deal’ with it better this time because I was in the mood for fantasy. I wouldn’t say the story became action packed at anytime but it did pick up at some point midway through.
I greatly enjoy politics in my fantasy so I really enjoyed seeing the Human and Dragon relationships play out. Hartman’s take on dragons was absolutely unique. Dragons being able to fold themselves into a human form? Sign me up. It was intriguing to see how humans and dragons interact with each other. You could understand why each was leery of the other side. You could even see how the strained relationship affects the world. The politics had the tendency to get a bit confusing. There were spouts of infodumping as well. I really appreciated the glossary. It helped with remembering/figuring out who everyone is.
I liked Seraphina. She’s quite talented. It was cool to see her as a music tutor. That’s something a bit different! She was a bit reckless and ballsy with her choices. Kudos to her for sticking to them though even when they became difficult. I was really hoping her relationship with Kiggs would stay platonic. I liked their banter and how well they worked together. I wasn’t a fan of the idea of them getting together. Then of course there is the fact that Kiggs is technically engaged. It’s not the most ideal circumstance but it is still an engagement. The only thing that was really weird about Seraphina was her garden. It was just a really bizarre idea. It took me a while to even wrap my head around it.
The bottom line? I didn’t love the story but I did enjoy it and was glad I gave it a second chance.
I read this as part of my Reading Outside the Box Challenge. This was for my Second Chance square. See my progress here.
14 thoughts on “Book Review: “Seraphina””
Thanks for the honest review! The premise sounds good and the cover is gorgeous, but I’m glad to know how slow Seraphina is up front before I start reading it and fail miserably. Not to say I won’t ever give it a shot, but I definitely won’t do it if I don’t have a lot of patience 🙂
It’s always good to know that stuff upfront. I’m not usually a patient reader but this was worth persevering for.
I agree with you about the garden. That threw me off a little bit as well. Also, I figured that Kiggs was going to be her love interest but I think they should have saved that for later books in the series. Overall, I liked the book enough to finish it, but I don’t know if I would read the rest of the series. Really good points in your review!
I agree. The love interest should have been saved for later. I like Kiggs but we could wait for him.
Totally agree – her “garden” was super weird. Almost turned me off the whole thing. Glad I persisted because I ended up really liking it by the end, but I certainly struggled in the first half.
It almost turned me off too! I wish it had been a smoother introduction.
I think someone warned me upfront that Seraphina was going to be slow to start, so I was able to hang with it. I ended up really liking it, and I’m looking forward to the sequel.
A head sup about the slowness really would have been helpful. Oh well, I’m curious to see how the sequel stand up.
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I’m glad you enjoyed this more the second time around, even though it sounds like it still might not have lived up to the hype for you. I love Seraphina’s character and in general I like it when characters have hobbies and talents, like Seraphina’s for music. Great review 🙂
I really liked that she had hobbies. I’m always reading books about people who are busy saving the world so it was a nice change of pace to have someone with time and energy for hobbies.
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