Friday, 23 January 2015

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.

Here is yet another book review! Let me know if you guys want a bit more variety in posts, I've just been loving some good books recently and want to post my reviews while I remember what happened still. Today, I'm reviewing Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. This is another book that I picked up on Boxing Day at Chapters. I started reading this and wasn't really taken in right away. It took some time and I would pick it up and put it down. However, like The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan, I was sucked in as soon as it started to get good (about 1/4 of the way through the novel). Not that that first quarter was uninteresting, it was just a slow start setting everything up. It was interesting how you didn't find out everything at once, but slowly eased into things through "memory pearls". I also liked that you learned things as Seraphina learned them, there was very little dramatic irony going on here. The love story is nothing spectacular. It's the most predictive thing ever, but it's still sweet to see how Seraphina and Kiggs deal with it at the end of the novel, especially since a princess is involved.

I found this to be very reminiscent of Kristin Cashore's work. I was very much reminded of Graceling with the whole "am I a monster, am I not" argument. The writing was very similar too. Maybe a mix of Graceling and Fire regarding the monster aspect and mental stuff that goes on.

I really enjoyed how Seraphina was someone who went from hiding all the time to becoming more accepting of what she was and her role. I also really liked the father-daughter relationship and how it resolved itself at the end of the novel, it was a nice touch.

The characters in general are really great in this novel. They're very well-rounded and their development is really well done.

I also really liked how independent Seraphina was. She went through this huge thing thinking she was alone and came to understand so many things about herself and those around her. It's definitely a coming-of-age novel, or bildungsroman if you're a literature person (have to use my school for something!), but it's done so well that you're not getting hit over the head with it or wondering when it's going to happen.

All in all, this was an amazing novel and I can't wait for the sequel! For those wondering, it comes out this March.

Quote of the day: We were all monsters and bastards, and we were all beautiful. - Rachel Hartman, Seraphina