Author: Rachel Hartman
Date Read: 25/02/2016 – 08/03/2016
It had been a really long time since I read a dragons-based fantasy, and having heard a lot of good things about Seraphina, I decided this was the one to go for. So glad, as it’s a gorgeous book.
Seraphina is a talented musician, having just moved to the Court of Gorredd as an apprentice to the music master there. When a human prince is found dead with head removed, suspicion falls on the dragons. For forty years, an uneasy truce between humans and dragons has been in place, but as the anniversary draws near, tensions are running high. Seraphina tries to assist in the investigation, but all the time, she has to hide her own dragon ancestry, which hinders her and others involved along the way.
First of all, let me talk about the world-building in this book. It’s not over the top (I hate reading pages upon pages of description), but it is rich in details. I could see it all in my mind’s eye. Hartman has also developed a detailed history of Gorred and the surrounding kingdoms, as well as the conflicts with dragons and how the truce came into place. Honestly, I wanted to live there.
And the characters are also great. None of the main players felt two-dimensional, even the ones we only see briefly. I’m not usually a fan of first person narrators, but Seraphina is written very realistically; I felt her doubts and fears along with her. My favourite character was her dragon uncle, Orma, who was in that same vein as characters like Spock or Sherlock, who claim to have no emotions but have spent too much time around other humans and find we’re rubbing off on him. Princess Glisselda, third in line to the throne and one of Seraphina’s students, was a nice bright and bubbly contrast to some of the other characters, and her cousin, Prince Lucian Kiggs, was a great Captain of the Guard (I have a certain weak spot for Captains of the Guard). I appreciated that he had his own goals outside of being Seraphina’s love interest.
All in all, this was a fantastic YA fantasy that I recommend to all fans of the genre. Unfortunately, general consensus seems to be that the second book is very unsatisfying as a follow-up, so while I would definitely like to read more of this world, for now, I’m going to quit while I’m ahead.