Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Hardcover, 464 pgs.
Expected publication: July 10th, 2012 by Random House
Source: NetGalley/Random House

Description from Goodreads:
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.

This book really had everything I look for in a fantasy.  First of all, absolutely fantastic characters that are incredibly brave and have a quality that stands out and personality that is memorable.  This book is full of those kinds of characters.  Not just Seraphina, but everyone around her.  
The romance is of the EPIC sort.  Epic and forbidden and very very sweet.  I knew it was coming, the vibe was there straight away, but I just cherished those moments they were together and only wished that it may all be figured out.  
The world building was phenomenal.  It was a fantasy world I could imagine and see clearly.  It was vibrant and full of life.  I loved how everything worked, the tension between the dragons and the humans and everything with the court intrigue.  It was fantastic!
The story line was brilliant.  As I mentioned, there is a bit of court intrigue and at times was slow moving.  Actually the first half of the book was on the slower side and I struggled just a bit, really hoping for some stuff to start happening.  But when it all started coming together it had my full attention.  I loved pretty much everything that went down and it was very unpredictable.  I’d think I had it all figured out, but then would be desperately wrong.  Even when I figured the author wouldn’t make it obvious and would try to figure out someone less obvious, it really was different then I could have ever guessed.
All fans of fantasy, I highly suggest you read this book.  It’s got the elements, the beauty, the epic’ness we demand from fantasy.  Just hang in there through the first bit as we’re introduced to the world, because trust me, it’s all important and once things start happening you won’t be able to put it down!
  Disclosure:  I received a galley for review purposes, all opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.

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  1. I love that you touched on everything I need to know to be convinced of this book! A fantastic heroine, epic forbidden romance, awesome world-building and storyline… Plus, it doesn’t hurt that this is fantasy too, which is one of my favourite genres ever! 😉 And I LOVE the illustrated cover — I’m usually a pretty girl in pretty dresses kind of lover, but this one with its gorgeous dragons really works for me! :)

    Awesome review, Candace! <3

  2. I agree completely Candace! I definitely struggled in the beginning of this one as well, but it picked up and then I was completely captivated the entire rest of the way through. I can’t wait to get more of this world and of Seraphina in particular:) Really wonderful review!

  3. I am so excited for this book! I love YA fantasy and DRAGONS, which is the main reason I’m looking forward to reading this. Can’t wait to dive in to this book.

  4. OK! Totally downloading this one. I love epic fantasies with epic romance and murder and dragons to boot! With a review like that I can’t wait to get started! Thanks! 😀

  5. This sounds amazing! I heard more about this book at ALA and ever since then I knew I had to give it a try. I’m going to have to see if the library is getting a copy of this so I can read about the great adventure. Heck I might even get Johnny to try a YA book if this is as amazing as everyone is saying it is.

    Thanks for the awesome review, glad you liked it.

  6. I so need to read this. Everyone has been raving about it. I have it from netgalley but don’t know if I’ll get to it in time. Regardless, I’ll pick it up soon. I’m excited that you say it has everything you need in a fantasy.

  7. I keep seeing this one reviewed and the bottom line on all the reviews is that it’s worth the read. I’m going to have to get my hands on a copy.
    Great review! I always enjoy your personal style of reviewing!


  8. This is the second review I read about this book. Jenny already made me curious about this one and now you added to my curiosity! Especially hearing you talk about the romance made me want to pick it up instantly!! I LOVE a good romance!
    Lately, I also wanted to read more Fantasy so this one sounds like a great addition!

  9. Oh man oh man oh man I can’t wait to read this! I hear great things about it…I’m in such a great need of epic fantasy right now. This sounds like it’s going to be my read!! 😀

    Great review, Candace!
    Sierra @ Yearning to Read

  10. I’m so jealous that you got to read this already, I’ve had this on my TBR list for a couple of months now. So glad to see that I will not be disappointed :)

  11. Your assessment is pretty much in agreement with mine. I love fantasy novels and this one, once it began moving along, was great. Very imaginative. Great review!

  12. The premise sounds awesome, and your praise on the world building definitely raised the awesome factor:) I’m a bit wary of fantasy/dystopian/paranormal fiction in terms of world building because I haven’t seen a lot of books that have rich world characterization, but this seems to be an exception. Great review, Candace!

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