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.