December 12, 2014

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman


Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Series: Seraphina #1
Source: Bought hardcover
Publisher: Random House
Age Genre: Young Adult
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.

 
I adored Seraphina. It's been a while since I've read any good "dragon" book, and I love them as a creature. Fire breathing, treasure hoarding, deadly, beautiful winged-scaled animals? What could be better?! Maybe this is also good time and place to ask you guys on suggestion for other good dragon books.

But I digress.

Seraphina is a wonderful heroine. She is so fleshed out, that she is right there in front of you. You could almost touch her. She is a brave, smart young lady, filled with insecurities and self doubt and self hate. But she never lets it stop her, and you feel her pain as strongly as if it were your own.

Alongside Seraphina we have a great cast of side characters, from the headstrong and sometimes silly princess (but don't let that fool you - she's a sharp one) to the adorable Dragon uncle Orma, to the music master, and the cast of grotesques (of whom we will hopefully see a lot more in the sequel).

Oh, and let's not forget the prince.
Kiggs is a prince. He is also a bastard, and the head of the Guard. He was smart, sweet and loyal to a fault. He is perceptive and once he makes you his friend, you'll be hard bent to shake him off. Not that you'll want to, really.

His and Seraphina's relationship was an interesting one. It progressed slowly, but surely, and I feel like we just touched the tip of the iceberg of what these two could become, despite love declarations already made. It feels to me like this could become an epic love, but it's not there yet.

But, get this, the most interesting part of this book is not any of that. The best part of this book is easily the dragons and the world - here, dragons are something like autistic people. They're analytic, logical, and seem to lack emotions - and an understanding of them. However, as much as people claim them "soulless", they are far from that. At least the dragons we meet in Seraphina.

The ideas behind this book are so intriguing and create one heck of a setting. Of which I'm actually thirsty for more. I can't wait to revisit this world in the next book!

The only "downside" of the book may be in the action department, which I felt was a bit lacking. The book was never dull or boring, but it wasn't action filled. Even the exciting parts were usually done or solved in talking. So don't expect any epic sword-fighting. And while this didn't bother my enjoyment of the book at all, I do feel this may relate to why the book also lacked that WOW moment that blows you away.

But even without that wow moment, this is a wow book, for me. I'll eat the hat I'm not wearing if I don't read the next book as soon as it comes out.

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The Turbulence Journey to Getting Seraphina
And I'm going to digress again, this time on purpose, because the story behind how I finally got my hands on the book is one I need to tell. On July, I ordered the book from Amazon. Their shipping is normally too expensive for me, but I wanted the purple cover too much, as I'm not a fan of the black&white one. From experience, Amazon shipments get here in about two weeks, despite their month and a half expectation date. 

But two weeks flew by, then a month, then a month and a half. And still, I waited. The delay could be on my side, after all. We did have a sort of war going on for a while there. Fast forward another month and a half, and I know the book isn't going to get to me. Other orders have reached me, and three months is enough of a wait. So I sent a message to Amazon, after a frustratingly long time trying to figure out how to do that - it wasn't in any convenient/obvious place.

But finally I did. Maybe a day later, I got a reply. They put a new order for me, with the best shipping they had, which was unexpected. I had hoped for a new shipment, but didn't expect the extra mile. Three days later, the book was here. Three days!

Well done, Amazon! Well done.
   Nitzan

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