Thursday, May 16, 2013

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman


Published: 2012

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Copy: Library

Pages: 451

Summary: 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.


Calling all fans of Anne McCaffery's Pern series! Or anyone who loved Christopher Paolini's Inheritance series. Really, all dragon-lovers will adore Rachel Hartman's Seraphina, and not just because it has some of the most interesting dragons the fantasy world has seen in quite some time (or this reviewer thinks so anyways). Seraphina is a beautifully written and wonderfully engaging story of dragons and humans.

This fantasy world is expectedly medieval, but plays on elements of the Celtic, Norse and other cultures - winding them in with Hartman's own ideas of how her dragon infested world should function. Not only is the story set in a fantastically built world, with an enrapturing story line, it also touches on ideals of humanity and racism, in a unique way that could only be accomplished in the fantasy genre. Dragons are no longer giant fire-breathing lizards sitting on mounds of hoarded gold – instead, they have adapted to join into life with the human race – and not all humans take it the same way.

Seraphina is our heroine – and a wonderfully relatable heroine at that. She’s clever and strong-willed (as most heroines tend to be), but she also doesn’t understand what everyone’s problem is with dragons. She’s aware of the fact that her exposure has probably adjusted her viewpoint, but she is a great advocate for treating people as they deserve to be treated, not because they belong to a certain class or race.

This could truly be a fabulous ISU book – the correlations between race (or even gay equality) and the human-dragon interactions are astounding and well-written; not to mention really enjoyable! Five stars for Seraphina – this is a book I’m really excited to have as the beginning of a new series.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I loved this book too. I agree that Seraphina is a very relatable heroine.