I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Series: Seraphina #1
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on July 10th 2012
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Amazon・ Good Books・Book Depository
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.
Holy shit. This is honestly a first for me… Oh, hi by the way, I’m Archer.
I’m actually left speechless by the force of the ending of this book, yes I know it’s the start of my review but I have just finished it and wow. There are no words.
Now I’m torn, not because I’m reviewing the ARC, but because I was friends with Rachel Hartman before I even had the desire to read her book. And this is probably going to be a gushing review.
I need to make this perfectly clear. My friendship with the author doesn’t make a difference to my opinion of their work. If you don’t believe me then look up my review of Eve Eden vs The Zombie Horde.
I loved this book. More than I’ve loved a book in a long, long time. This book moved me with it’s simple, eloquent message: Love is not a disease. I know that this may sound fairly obvious to most everyone but I assure you that there will be people out in this world that believe that it is. This book beautifully conveys the importance of all emotion, not just love.
Seraphina is unique, both the book and the character, I have never read a fantasy quite like this. Gone are the long arduous quests. Gone are page after page of padding that could be summed up nicely with “We walked, and walked, and walked and just for a little change of pace… We walked some more.” This is a fantasy of intrigue. Very much a murder mystery if you will. This is a tale of knights and dragons. But not as you’d expect.
Without spoiling anything too much, I hope, Dragons are in one way everything you would expect them to be and at the same time they’re everything you wouldn’t and for that Rachel… I would like to pledge my undying love. The prose is beautiful. Shifting from the expected choices for the opinions of Phina to the cold, detached, almost forensic wording of the Dragons. And the transition isn’t jarring. The two styles work well together in the context of this book, however, if I have one criticism it is… Would all the readers of this book be able to read and fully understand all of the writing without the use of a thesaurus? (That’s not a slight against the author but rather the education system.) Some of the word choices seem a little bit… obscure for what is being sold as a Children’s book. And I just wonder if it will be as appreciated as it deserves to be because of that.
The cast of characters seem to be richly developed, in my opinion, and with so many distinct personalities to write, that is a rare feat for an author of late. So many YA characters just seem to have about as much depth as a puddle. These characters are richly written and of a depth and forethought on the authors part that I have not encountered since… erm… well for a long assed time.
The pacing of the novel propels it along at a satisfying rate and the world building is smooth, believable, absorbing. Sure there are infodumps, but they’re cleverly blended infodumps that provide much needed backstory. Which helps round out the world (and unlike so many other fantasy novels recently, do not descend into the mind numbing minutiae of detailing everything).
Look, honestly, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Seriously, why the hell are you even still reading my review and not beating booksellers to death with your cold hard cash… Oh yeah… release dates… my bad. PUT THIS BOOK ON HOLD AT YOUR LOCAL RETAILER GODDAMMIT! I mean it. If you love fantasy, put down the George R.R. Martin, step away from the Tolkien (yes I went there, deal with it), and bury the Rowling. This is a book that will keep you engrossed until the end and then will leave you shaking your fist and prodding Hartman with a stick until she finishes the next one. Because if a YA author can make a fan out of me, then surely she can out of you.
STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT AND FIND OUT WHERE THIS WILL BE SOLD NEAR YOU… NOW!