Monday, March 23, 2015

Book Review: Seraphina (Seraphina, #1)

Author| Rachel Hartman 
Edition| American Hardcover
Genre| YA- Fantasy
Publisher| Random House
Rating| 4 Stars
Related Posts| FIF
This book straddles two worlds- fantasy and reality.  Fantasy in that it takes place in a classic epic fantasy setting with dragons and such, but reality in that it deals with Self-Harm, religion, race politics, LGBTQ issues, and many other things hidden within the pages.  It's a book that requires you to read between the lines alongside that actual story.

If I could summarize this book, I would.  But the many twisting story-lines make that impossible.  Each is individually important and unique, but they also build upon each other.  The best I can say is this: Seraphina follows the namesake, a young woman recently given the job as assistant to the court musician.  Beyond this, she harbors a dark secret- she's half-human, half-dragon.  Her kind aren't supposed to exist and yet here she is.  But she must keep who she is a secret, something that is becoming incredibly harder to do.

There is little bad I can say about this book.  The characters were all surprises- any first impressions I had were crushed, but in the best way.  The setting, while pulling from classic medieval Europe, manages to have a unique flavor to it.  I think much of this relies on the dragon mythology being used.  The dragons really stole the show.  Rather than being half-assed (pardon my language) these dragons were on par with Smaug.  They were great!  I put a lot of stock in a good dragon and was not dissapointed.  Not just appearance, but dragon culture, especially their difference from humans, made them worth reading about.  Nothing ordinary or standard here; they were fully fleshed out.

So why not five stars?  Well, it had a slow beginning.  For a while I was waiting for the ball to drop and something amazing to happen.  It never quite happened, but there did come some invisible point where the book became much harder to put down.  It was a small shift, perhaps 150 pages in, but after that I wouldn't have dreamed of giving it up.  The slow start really did weigh on things, though.

I never would have read this book had I not received an ARC of Shadow Scales (review to come later).  I'm so glad I got the chance.  I really recommend this one, even if you're not a big fan of dragons.  It can pull to everyone's interest for sure.  This is one book to keep on your shelf, not merely borrow from the library.

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