Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Seraphina - Rachel Hartman

Seraphina Rachel Hartman book cover
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Series: Seraphina #1
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library || Hardcover

For decades, dragons and humans have managed to live in peace, thanks to a treaty that was formed years back. However, this does not mean that the humans trust the dragons... or vise versa. As the anniversary of the treaty draws nearer, tension and conflict start to arise. For Seraphina Dombegh, however, there is a whole lot more at stake - her secret could mean losing the life that she loves.

Seraphina is a remarkable, addicting debut novel that has easily become one of my favorites of this year. It is certainly no easy feat to attempt to find the words that can properly convey the awe and amazement I felt while reading this book, mostly because it was out of this world awesome (and yes, I believe that is a legit category on my blog).

While it would certainly be easier if I could just shove this novel at various people and go "READ IT. NOW." while giving them the "look", I am hoping that this review will convince you that this fantasy novel is definitely worth the time you'll spend reading it.

Obviously, the reason that I picked this book up in the first place was because it featured dragons. Dragons are probably one of my top favorite fantasy creatures, and it's basically an automatic reflex to check out any novel that features them prominently. The dragons in Seraphina certainly retain many of the qualities typical to a dragon - the ability to fly, breathe fire, the size, the draconian appearance. But there are also new things introduced, like their ability to morph into humans and their agreement with the humans that results in a semi-peaceful co-existence. This play on their qualities is certainly one of the most intriguing aspects of the novel, and it kept me interested from beginning to end.

As the title and synopsis suggest, Seraphina is our main character - and she's simply amazing. The challenges she faces as someone who is different from everyone else are so easy to relate to, especially in how heartbreaking they are. She is also supremely intelligent, sublimely musically talented and determined to do the right thing in any given situation. It was a joy to follow her journey - she might have started out being lonely and different, but by the end of the novel, she knew who she was and what she wanted to do with that knowledge.

Despite the number of pages, readers should not feel intimidated at all, because the story moves along at a perfect pace. There's a nice mix of action-packed scenes, more serious encounters and a little bit of romance here and there. It's certainly never boring, that's for sure. 

I honestly did not even realize how long it was until I was very nearly done with the book - it's that gripping. I love the way it was written, as there was such a lovely flow from word to word, from scene to scene, and it was easy to get caught up in this fantastic world the author created for us. It spoke to me of a musical influence, which was certainly liberally sprinkled into the story!

All in all, I highly recommend Seraphina as one of the best debut novels of this year. It's inventive, it's lovely, it's emotional, it's different. I absolutely loved this novel! I certainly will tote it as one of those books that I could read again and again, and I absolutely am dying to find out what happens in the next installment.

26 comments:

  1. Yes, this book is definitely amazing! There's been some great YA fantasy released this year, and it makes me really happy.

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    1. I hope that the trend of fantasy in YA keeps holding strong. It's definitely still my favorite genre :)

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  2. I consider this book one of my favorites from this year too! It's such a unique take on dragons and like you, I LOVED Seraphina (and Kiggs!). I can't wait for the next book.

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  3. This book has had some brilliant reviews, but it just doesn't seem to be working for me. Maybe I am not as comfortable with high fantasy as I like to thing, as I've tried twice now to get into this and it hasn't happened yet. Lovely review, Alexa!

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  4. This has been on my TBR list for a while but your review just got me REALLY excited for it! Need to read it soon!!

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  5. I adore fantasy novels/worlds, especially ones that feature dragons so Serphaina sounds like something I will really enjoy. I really dig the concept and when I see someone get SO excited over a book, I just have to know what all the fuss is about!

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  6. I've heard a bit about this book but never really knew what it was about. BUT DRAGONS??! Cool! I'm so not a typical high fantasy reader but I need to get over my fear of it lol

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    1. You should definitely read this! It is so beautifully written.

      Throne of Glass might actually be a good fantasy for you to start with, just so you can ease your way into the genre.

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  7. I'm glad you liked it better than I did! :) So many people love it, but for some reason it didn't really work for me. But yay dragons!! :) They're among my favourite paranormal creatures as well :)

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  8. i still need 2 read this and want to read this . gr8 review

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  9. "lovely" is a perfect characterization of Seraphina. I full on LOVED the audiobook. Her words took me deep into the world and made me think it was real. It is fantisful and sophisticated. Glad you loved. Yes, you should pick up this book people.

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  10. YAY!!! I'm SO happy you loved this one Alexa! I too loved it and I can't wait to have time to re read it!

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  11. I loved this book! The politics between humans and dragons was so different from anything I've read.

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  12. First off, I see you won NaNoWriMo! Congrats! I quit about two days in when I discovered that I like to take my good ole sweet time.

    I think you can always tell how amazing a book is when you fly through it without even really comprehending just how long it is. I'm not super interested in dragons, but that last part of your review has convinced me that perhaps I should make an exception.

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  13. I love that you described this book as different. Often times I feel like a fall into a pattern with books and read the same story over and over with different names and different places. I'm glad to hear this is unique.

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  14. Ooooooh, I need to read this. I love "long" books that don't feel long. AND DRAGONS! Oh my!

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  15. I'm glad that you enjoyed Seraphina so much! I agree with everything you said. It is such a well-written, unique story and Seraphina is a wonderful protagonist. I really enjoyed how the novel used the dragon vs human mentality to examine prejudices, stereotypes, and their place in this world. Can't wait for Dracomachia next year!

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    1. Yes, the examination of stereotypes and prejudices in this book was so interesting! And I love that it was between two "different" races... It definitely made me think.

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  16. This was one of my favorite reads this year too; I was nervous because I had read some reviews that called the beginning slow but it was so worth it!

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  17. This book does look super good! I've seen it around at the library a few times and always want to snag it ... one of these days I'm going to have to. :)

    Great review, Alexa!

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  18. I was really impressed by this one, it definitely made my favorites list for this year! And the ending...I'm just so eager for the next one.

    Great review! :]

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  19. Oh my word! How have I not heard much about this book before? It certainly sounds like an amazing tale and your review is full of awesome!

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  20. I really love dragons too! But I haven't read this one yet. I did download (I think) the short story/prequel as suggested by Heidi from Bunbury in the Stacks. I am kind of scared that my expectations are too high because I love fantasy/high fantasy so much.

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    1. I really liked it, though my standards for fantasy/high fantasy are pretty lenient ;)

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  21. I really loved this one too! And the romantic interest- well, I will just say its one of my favorites!

    Marlene Detierro (Rogue River Country)

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