WARNING: Linda is about to sing the praises of this debut novel. If you’d prefer not to be overwhelmed with a deluge of her gushing, please skip to the last paragraph.
I love dragons. I love medieval settings. And I love high fantasy. And those things I loved? Well, they were all in Seraphina. So, clearly, I loved it.
First, I want to explain why I didn’t give it five stars. (If you’re viewing this review on a website other than my blog, there’s a good chance that I rated it five stars there. Because this book was a 4.85–yes, that specific–and I had to rate it up, of course.) The first few pages of Seraphina were, admittedly, slow. I had trouble finding it within myself to keep on trudging through Seraphina’s daily life. A large part of this fourth of the book was spent on setting up the world that Seraphina lived in, and it was getting quite wearisome.
But when I hit somewhere along the 100-page mark, I couldn’t put this book down. The first hundred pages had taken me a few days to read (I was busy, I had other writing to do, I had other books to read, blah blah blah), but the next four hundred? I read it in two sittings, only stopping in between to sleep. (My mother had chided me for staying up until two in the morning to read a book on my computer.)
I adore the characters in this book. If you’ve read my reviews before, you probably know by now that I hate Mary Sues. Guess what? There wasn’t a single Mary Sue in this book. I rejoiced. And I fell in love with everyone in this book–the humans, the dragons, and the half-dragons. Ah, yes. The half-dragons. Because Seraphina is a half-dragon. Or, if I was thinking from the perspective of a dragon, a half-human.
Seraphina + boy whose name I will not name because I don’t want to spoil anything for you = cute, adorable, worthy of squealing. Since I’ve developed such an eye for things like this, I knew immediately upon meeting the guy that he was the love interest. Heck, I knew it before that. Because I’m that good. But getting back on topic: Seraphina and boy together equal one of the cutest couples I’ve read in a while. I wish they’d hold hands.
And now I have to talk about Rachel Hartman’s world. This world is INCREDIBLE. I’m not kidding. Six kingdoms with wicked cool names: Goredd, Samsam, Ninys, Porphyry, Ziziba, and Tanamoot. Two sub-species of dragons: saarantras (who can maintain a human form) and quigutl (who meddle with metal — that pun was completely unintended, by the way). Medieval setting–yes, that means palaces. Cathedrals. Handsome princes and clever princesses. And all that royal court intrigue. *rubs hands together*
After reading that, tell me that you don’t want to read this book.
Oh yes, and music! I love music.
I’m sorry, this review has started to sound incoherent even to me. I’m just in too much awe. I have author-worship of Rachel Hartman now because she has created such a fascinating world (she created it when she was in seventh grade, wow).
The only coherent paragraph in this review: Hartman’s debut was absolutely thrilling. It had all the qualities that I value: an intriguing mystery (as the murder of a prince would undoubtedly generate a mystery), mythological creatures (dragons, no less), a medieval tone (and with it, the court and the gossip), strong characters (so much that they could be considered stubborn), and an adorable romance (worthy of squealing over, I promise). I could only find fault with the first few pages, but Hartman has undoubtedly delivered a promising debut. I will eagerly await for her sequel, which is currently dubbed Dracomachia.
Source: Galley received from publisher for review