Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
|Publisher(s):||Random House Children’s Publishers|
|Formatt:||Hardcover / Audio Book / eBook|
|Release Date:||July 10, 2012|
In the realm of Goredd, dragons and humans live side by side in a fragile attempt at peace. Their differences keep them apart; dragons believing humans are irrational, indulging in unnecessary emotions, and humans believing dragons are cold, dangerous creatures with no soul. When Seraphina is dragged into the limelight by her musical talents, she risks exposing her dangerous secret. But it is this secret that will help uncover a dangerous plot to upset the balance between humans and dragons.
Seraphina is a complex and captivating fantasy featuring dragons as we have never seen them before. They are able to transform into saarantrai or human form and live alongside humans. However, the peace between dragons and humans is very precarious and tenuous. Neither side fully trusts the other, and their differences makes them suspicious and wary.
I love the fact that dragons are scientific, rational, logical creatures; they don’t understand or want human emotions, which sully the mind and infect their rational decision-making. Their lack of affection, sympathy or appreciation for art and music puts them at a distance from humans, which seems irreconcilable. And this is why I loved Orma, a dragon secretly living in Goredd in human form. He struggled to understand the emotions and physiological reactions he was feeling as a human, and yet he refused to ignore them. He was heartwarming and full of funny contrasts.
Although I struggled a little with the first chapter, once I got into the story I found it completely absorbing and captivating. There are so many different elements to the story from the extravagant worldbuilding, intriguing and multilayered characters, and underlying tension and prejudice between human and dragon kind.
As the female protagonist, I can’t think of anyone better than Seraphina. For someone so young she was mature, vulnerable, sassy, reserved and outspoken all at the same time. Despite wanting to live a quiet life, her talents as a musician draw her into the palace and into the public eye. Here she meets Prince Lucian, a strong man with his own insecurities. Their interactions and the slowly building romantic tension between them was charming and thrilling. A big plus for me was that Hartman didn’t feel the need to constantly remind the reader how attractive Prince Lucian was. His personality and Seraphina’s feelings for him did all the work, leaving me slightly infatuated and very fond of him.
The concept of Seraphina’s ‘mind-garden’ is unusual and strange and yet so brilliant. Here Seraphina controls and tends her ‘unruly’ thoughts to prevent her visions and breakdowns. Unusual characters and landscapes bloom in her mind and threaten to expose her secret. I won’t say more about this, but will only say you must give this book a read!
Seraphina is a beautifully unique and fascinating debut fantasy. I can’t wait to read more from Rachel Hartman.