Source: Publisher, through Netgalley
Publication Date: July 10th, 2012
Short Synopsis (Goodreads): our 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.
My Review: I love Dragons, I'm not gonna lie. When I first saw Seraphina and that it was a different twist on dragons, I knew I had to at least try it. Guys, I was hooked on the FIRST PARAGRAPH! That rarely, if ever, has happened to me. Usually I like the writing style, but it takes me a page or two to commit fully (sometimes longer, sometimes not at all) but this was in the first paragraph! Just so you know the line that made me laugh out loud and utterly indeared me to Seraphina as a narrator, it was "a rich symphony of indigestion".
Ultimately, that is what I liked most about this book: Serphania as a narrator. Seraphina herself is not perfect, but how Ms. Hartman portrayed her through her words I was totally and utterly committed. I felt like a half-dragon, having to hide my secret, thinking outside the box in order to try and save lives, etc. etc. It was an awesome roller-coaster to be on. And really, there were so many little thoughts or expressions that Seraphina had that made me laugh out loud!
Plus, this was such a clever take on Dragons! The world building was unique but very easy to fall into. I think I'm going to start going around cursing 'Blue St. Prue' now. I really liked how fleshed out it all was. I'm hoping for more expansive adventures in things to come to see what else is out there!
And the 400 odd pages? Didn't feel a thing! I breezed through this. The cover actually really helped me place this all in my head. It has that medieval feel to it, but there was actually technology in it as well (not to the point of steampunk, however).
Oooh, and there are theses parts where poor Seraphina has to go inside her head and manage a 'Garden of Grotesques' full of these people (or not, as the case may apply) and that was so creepy! There wasn't an over abundance of information, which I thought was just perfect, but just the right amount to get my imagination going and boy, I don't think I'd be able to do that! I would absolutely loath having to manage something like that in my head, of all places. Seraphina sure was full of grit!
My only...not really complaint, but let's say comment....was the ending. Great build up with a......too easy resolution. I am NOT saying that I wanted things to turn our horrible (and they aren't even over, another book is on it's way!!! YAY!) that would have made me very, very sad. However, the fact that things resolved so...swiftly...made all of the build up not as solid as it could have been. And believe me, I was right in there, fearing for Seraphina's discovery and understanding how hopeless she was about being loved. When....stuff....happened, like I said, I was glad, but I felt just the *teensiest* that it should have been a bit harder. Now, things could become a whole lot harder in the next book (and any others that are coming down the line...any hints as to how many, Ms. Harman?) and I think that that would make up for this a bit, so it's still too early to tell. This is just a 'freshly read' feeling I had at the end.
And seriously, this is a debut novel? FANTASTICALLY done Ms. Hartman. Honestly guys, I'm in this for the long haul. ANYTHING Ms. Hartman writes is on my TBR pile, no ifs and or buts about it. I'm so excited to see where this goes next!
Five stars that were justly, justly, earned!