26 March 2013

Book Review: Seraphina

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman came to my attention through *insert trumpet here* book blogs. Specifically, Steph Su Reads, Raging Bibliomania, Eve's Alexandria, things mean a lot, and Rhapsody in Books. It's quite possible there were others too....

I feel like most already know the premise of the book. In short, dragon-human alliance threatened, dragon-logic and human-emotion, secrets and politics, little bit of love.

Instead of repeating what others have said, I've copied here some of the quotes from the reviews I've read which I think say what I would say if I were more articulate right now:

Plot and Setting:
"I was totally ensnared in this story and found that the blend between the very specific politics of Goredd and the personal trials of the heroine kept me enthralled every step of the way. As more and more is revealed, the danger becomes potent and universal. Nothing is safe. Everyone is a suspect." ~Raging Bibliomania

"Seraphina holds its breath at a very important moment in Goredd, the moment when a younger generation of humans and dragons starts to break down the species barrier.  Starts to wonder what the real differences, aside from the obvious physical ones, are." ~Eve's Alexandria

"You sense that both the humans and the dragons in this world have a long, rich, fascinating history; that the people of Goredd and the neighbouring kingdoms have their own culture, art and philosophy; that there are interesting details to be uncovered at every corner." ~things mean a lot

Characters and characterization:
"Supporting characters are allowed a full range of thoughts and reactions, so that where we think we’ll find potentially stereotypical character roles—in the spoiled princess, or the love triangle—we instead find refreshment." ~Steph Su Reads

"The characters are uniformly complex: by turns heart-warming, amusing, heart-breaking, fragile, stronger than they know, full of hurt, but full of hope." ~Rhapsody in Books

"In SERAPHINA, dragons and humans have made an uneasy peace treaty, but the social tensions are still apparent and painfully recognizable in its similarities to the prejudices that minority groups in our world still suffer. I love that “real” aspect of the book, and feel that the countless instances of anti-dragon sentiment in SERAPHINA are authentic as a result." ~Steph Su Reads

"Although the world-building involving the dragons is stellar and downright spell-binding, I tended to see the divide between dragonkind and humankind as metaphorical. The prejudice, misinformation, fear, rumor-mongering, and acts of intimidation and terrorism were reminiscent of – well, humankind all by itself!" ~Rhapsody in Books

"The exciting thing about Seraphina as a character is that she integrates these two modes of thinking, experiencing, and making sense of the world – the cold and logical and the emotional and artistic. Seraphina’s dual nature makes her hyperware of her emotional responses, and this gives the narrative room to explore how emotions affect our perception of and responses to different contexts and situations." ~things mean a lot

"This is a book about states of mind, about the perceptions people and dragons have of their thoughts and feelings, and the different ways they find of coping or not coping with them.  Essentially, the question it poses is: what makes anyone what they are - a soul, their feelings, their body?  And if so, how do we locate or define these things?" ~Eve's Alexandria 

"You might think that this one is not for you because it’s fantasy, or science fiction, or because it has dragons in it, but trust me, this book transcends genres and is a heart pumping delight." ~Raging Bibliomania

"I loved Seraphina because of the way it restored me to 'my childhood's faith, with a love I seemed to lose with my lost saints'." ~Eve's Alexandria

My thoughts in short: perfect for active reading, complex themes, realistic and evocative characters, and finally damn good story.

So there you have it. Now go read.


  1. I know, I've been convinced as well. And this is no small feat, because I don't do fantasy or dragons, or anything close to that. I'm currently trying to chase down the audio!

  2. yay - welcome to the fan club :D (And Sandy, I don't think you'll regret picking it up!)

  3. I love the way you did this review! I thought that this was just such a fun and magnetic book, and I was so captured by it. I am really glad that you loved it too, and that it was all that you hoped it would be!

  4. I'm so glad this one is on my shelf already!!!

  5. I like how you did this review!

  6. I really liked this review and thoroughly enjoyed the book- looking forward to the political machinations of the next one!

  7. I also have this on my list due to other bloggers. The cover, the plot, everything about this appeals to me. So glad you enjoyed it.

    plus I adore how you did the review! So creative and a total shout out to those blogs that made you want to read this one.

  8. Why have you not posted since this review? I miss your thoughts. I read Seraphina sometime back; really enjoyed the story and the worldbuilding, and interested in seeing where it goes next.

    I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Liebster award. You can check out that post here. Thanks for being such an awesome blogger! :)

  9. I also thought this book was fantastic! A truly great read, fab review :)

  10. I hate it when I have the impression that I am reading a different book from other readers whose opinion I value. Hate it. Unfortunately, it happened with this book. I've read some really glowing reviews but, alas, I can't just - partially - share the love.


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