Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Review: Seraphina (Seraphina #1)

Seraphina (Seraphina #1)
 
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.
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
(Cover & Description from Goodreads. Source.)
 
Kat's Review
 
This book makes me want to erase every word I've ever written and start again. The story is nuanced and complex, yet written in a way that it appeals to a wide audience of both young and old.  The writing itself is so beautiful that it seems as though each word was chosen with deliberate care, forcing me to slow down and savour this book in a way I haven't done in a while.
 
The main character, Seraphina, is a young woman with a big secret.  Her character is both strong and vulnerable at once.  She is surrounded by a cast of supporting characters almost all interesting enough to have a novel written about their individual experiences, yet doesn't fade into the background.  Although the overarching thread is that of Seraphina's secret, it is a book about what it means to be human, about acceptance, about how we see ourselves and the other.  It also a book about love in its different forms, and what people are willing to risk for it. 
 
This book has won several awards, and deservedly so.  It's a timeless story, one that could have easily been written fifty years ago, and that will still be relevant fifty years from now.  Marketed as a book for young readers, I think it would appeal to both girls and boys.  There are castles and knights, dragons,  secrets and the threat of war.  It also has immense appeal for adults, as the nuances of some of the themes are more complex than they may seem to a younger reader.
 
Rating: All Consuming
 
I tried my best to pace myself, but I still read the last hundred pages in one sitting.  My only disappointment is that this is a debut novel, so I can't go searching for more from this author until something else is released.  This is a book worth owning!
 
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