Review Detail

Seraphina FeaturedHot
Young Adult Fiction 7858
Who Knew Dragons Could Be an Instrument of Social Change?
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
If somebody were to ask me to recommend a good story for teens that sheds light on race relations I never would have thought I would someday be suggesting a book about dragons. After reading Rachel Hartman’s “Seraphina,” however, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

“Seraphina” follows a girl by the same name who lives in a world populated by humans and dragons. The catch with these dragons is that they don’t necessarily have to be fire-breathing beasts (although they can be) because of their ability to shape shift and walk the streets of human towns looking just like any other guy or gal. The only problem is that not all humans are jazzed about the idea of dragons walking their streets, and despite a peace that has been going on between the two races for 40 years, there is still rampant racism going with racial epithets and intense violence typically directed toward dragons.

The problem for Seraphina in all of this is that she is half-dragon. An even bigger problem is that inter-species breeding is against the law, and she can only imagine the atrocities that could happen to her if her secret is discovered. That, in essence, is what this book is all about: Seraphina doing all she can to keep her half-dragon status a secret, yet struggling to prove to herself and society at large that her race is not the trait that makes her who she is on the inside, and that it should not be the one trait used to judge her character.

This theme is extremely applicable to the real world right now. We still live in a society where all people are not created equal. We are still judged by our gender, sexuality, race, religion, and so forth. Hartman delivers this often heard but still not fully practiced message of judging a person by their character and not by their demographics, yet does it in such a completely unique way that the message seems entirely her own. Hartman’s emphasis on music during the tale, her addition of a love story, as well as a cast of eccentric characters make “Seraphina” a beautiful story with an even more beautiful message.
Good Points
A story about race relations that artistically masquerades as a fantasy piece.
Unique and interesting characters.
A new take on dragons for the fantasy genre.
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