Friday, January 25, 2013
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
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.
In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page.
For some reason, I wanted to hate this book so much. There are so many good reviews of Seraphina that I wanted to get the book just to see why everyone else loved it. OKAY, BOOK. YOU WON THAT ROUND.
But even from the summary I was turned off from Seraphina. I don't like music, and it is apparent that music plays a large part in the story. Strike one, book. Two more and yer out.
Strike two: Seraphina has a unique special talent. She has the talent to meditate and see imaginary people in her head. They sometimes try to make her life miserable. What? Her "talent" seemed entirely useless to advancing the plot of the book. The parts when she went to her imaginary people's garden were the parts I grew to dread. The scenes did nothing for the book.
Despite all that, Seraphina coming to terms with her half-dragon heritage and the mystery of the beheaded man kept me interested. That and Orma. Orma, Phina's dragon uncle, won me over. Dragons are required to be unemotional. The dragons fear emotions. Orma cares for Seraphina, but he isn't allowed to show her any love. Dilemmas. How I love them. OKAY, BOOK. YOU WON YER COMPLIMENTARY FOUR STARS.
Seraphina kept up a prickly exterior, and she had to keep it to avoid anyone knowing her secret. I love Rachel Hartman's writing of all the secondary characters. They knew Seraphina was prickly, but they all kinda took in into stride. No one thought she was being mean, and they liked her. That rubbed off on me. I didn't realize it until the middle of the book when the action started picking up, but I actually started to to care about what happened to Seraphina, and I took special interest in her torrid luurve affair with Lucian. OKAY, BOOK. I give up. You win... ALL THE STARS! Five stars.