Seraphina is the unique story of a girl cursed, or is it blessed, with the blood and scales of her mother's dragon form. It is a curse because of the uneasy alliance between the dragons and the humans and a blessing because her unique talents could help her to save the two races from going to war.I really liked this book it is different from every dragon story I have read to date. Although I have read books with dragons with the ability to take on the shape of a human before the stories were nowhere near as compelling.Seraphina was one of my favorite aspects of the story. She felt more real than most female YA protagonists tend to today. She was not overly brave, had flaws that made sense, and her sob story was sob worthy. I appreciated how she didn't complain about nonexistent flaws throughout the entire book, her scales were the only things she didn't like about herself and that seems to only be because they could easily reveal the secret of her heritage. She was a very likeable and relatable character.(
Background: In the kingdom of Goredd, humans and dragons live together, however they are not necessarily the best of friends. For 40 years, they have lived together under a treaty of no war between the races.In this tale Seraphina Dombegh is unique; she has a secret which places her in both worlds, only she cannot let on to anyone, especially her employer in the castle. Through the story Seraphina comes to learn about herself and her past, as well as her mother’s past; all while trying to solve the mystery of who is out to murder the Dragon general and destroy the treaty and peace.
Review: This was a great read. Dragons and a mystery, really could anyone go wrong? I felt that the beginning of this story moved a little slowly but the redeeming factor was that the environments are wonderful to picture. Hartman paints a beautiful picture with her writing, the characters and towns are drawn up for you in a wonderful manner. Every detail is explained and there is even a list of characters for the lost in the back of the book (there were quite a few). Also, our heroine, Seraphina is a captivating character and I loved her every step of the way. I think that Hartman did a wonderful job combining mystery and fantasy with this tale, and that Seraphina is a very strong woman that others in literature should look up to.
What is there to like?
• Seraphina is a likeable heroine: brave, independent-minded, and compassionate--but not too much so.
• In so many stories with a female protagonist and a romantic rival, the "competition" is petty, unkind, easily dismissed. But Glisselda holds her own as smart, strong, and willing to learn, and is a genuine friend to Seraphina. I have my suspicions about how this will be resolved without serious harm to either side, but I think it's wonderful for women and girls to have a fair and humanizing portrayal of this kind of female relationship, rather than pitting the two against each other.
• The society Hartman has created, including prejudices, political dynamics between Goredd and Tanamoot, and social castes have satisfying depth and subtlety. Answers aren't easy, but this layering makes them seem worth pursuing.
• Likewise, the humans' and dragons' difficulty in understanding each other, simultaneous with their reciprocal fascination, is not only believable and "true" in the context of the story, but is the kind of exploration of the attractive and repellent power of differences and commonalities that makes literature--and YA lit in particular--important.
• Seraphina and her love interest seem well-matched; he makes a worthy object of her affection as shown through his actions and character, but neither is he a two-dimensional Prince Charming character.
• People of different races and orientations are included.
What's not to like?
• The book uses the "psychic gifts" trope, which I find to be rather tiresome/clichéd, and which I personally believe to be a crutch that authors use to manufacture situations and relationships that would otherwise be unbelievable--or just take longer.
• Seraphina is brave, but it doesn't seem believable that so many people would automatically put their faith in her as a leader, given her personality (see above criticism of "psychic gifts").
• People talk about "princess fatigue"--isn't it time to rethink the prince-as-love-interest as well? Kiggs is an admirable person, but still...
• Goredd's religious system is central to its culture, but seems rather thinly developed. This is perhaps intended to create some suspense for the next book(s), but it does feel either insufficient or deliberately obfuscated at times. (On the other hand, perhaps it only seems so in comparison to the detailed facets of the culture that Hartman has created.)
Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, Dragondrums
Fly By Night
What made me pick it up?
Lovely cover design and a rave Goodreads review from a youth services librarian friend.