Sash: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

seraphinaSeraphina by Rachel Hartman
Release Date: July 10th, 2012
Random House Books for Young Readers, 512 Pages
Sub-genre: Fantasy (Dragons!)
Source: Bought the Audiobook
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Seraphina #1
Voice Actors: Mandy Williams, Justine Eyre

Four 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.

At first glance, I must admit that this book didn’t jump out at me. A pretty cover and a unique premise just weren’t enough. Add in the lengthy list of awards that were racked up – 2013 William C. Morris YA Debut Award, Cybil Award for Teen Fantasy and Science Fiction, Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of the Year – just to name a few. You’d think I would be ready to tear into this one – but it still wasn’t enough to pique my interest.

Until I was in the mood for DRAGONS. I wanted a good dragon story and, boy, did I get what I wanted.

Seraphina starts out rather slow and I did feel a little like I’d been thrown into the deep-end without any proper explanation of what was what or who was who, but this is just one of those books that immerses you into its world within 50 pages and then you forget how or where it even began. The writing is absolutely stunning – rich descriptions of music and dragons – with politics, philosophy, and religion thrown into the mix to make the reader think.

Questions that I thought to myself while reading this book: What does it feel like to feel? What do I feel like when I’m sad? What about when I’m happy? Could I choose between my family and the one I love? How do people bring peace to times of war? Could (or rather, would) I be willing to put peace and my country in a place of higher priority than my own heart?

This series has the potential to be multiple books – and I would gladly read them all! And there is a sequel, Shadow Scale, but the release date is set for MARCH 2015 (insert sobbing here).

Overall, a magnificent debut that I can’t believe I didn’t read sooner. Exquisite.

  • November 15, 2013 - 7:55 pm

    Pam@YAEscapefromReality - I was really interested in reading a book about dragons and I did like the world-building, including the fact that dragons could take human form and had rejected emotions and had very analytical and mathematical minds. I also enjoyed the politics of it all (humans and dragons really hating each other but having this very uneasy truce). However, there was just something missing for me in this book. I agree, the book started out a bit slow and there was just so much information throughout the book that didn’t seem that necessary, although it may turn out to be in later books. There’s a middle ground with having enough information in a book versus having too much, and I think there was just a bit too much here for me. Sometimes I found myself just found myself skimming a bit, especially when Seraphina is in her “garden.” Also, I just never completely connected with the characters. It wasn’t one of those books where I was so invested in the characters that I was laughing or crying or wanting to throw my Kindle across the room. Seraphina is a likeable character, and I enjoyed the scenes with her and Prince Lucian Kiggs and Oram. I was rooting for Seraphina and Kiggs, but then you have Princess Glisselda, who I kept liking more and more as the book went on and I’ll be curious to see what the author does with that triangle in the future. Wow, the sequel is not coming out for such a long time, there’s no way I’m going to remember this book. These series are killing me!ReplyCancel

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