(left: US cover; right: UK cover)
Author: Rachel Hartman
Goodreads Link: Goodreads Description
Oh, my goodness, where do I begin? How it took me so long to hear about this book, I have no idea, but boy am I glad I did! Dragons? Medieval epic fantasy? Sold!
Let's check out this snippet from the Goodreads description, shall we?
In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world.
Debut? That's right, this novel is Rachel Hartman's first. Judging by her writing skill, I would not have guessed this. The writing in this book is one of my favourite things about it. The prose was amazing, the language perfect. I was in Seraphina's world. There are very few authors who can write like this -- like they have been writing professionally for years. J.K Rowling is another that comes to mind. Phillip Pullman is another. Just... amazing. I adore Rachel Hartman's writing style. She is brilliant and I bow down to her.
But of course, Hartman's writing style is just one of the pluses of this book. The others would be the very likeable, very real characters; the vividly described setting; and of course, the unique and intriguing plot. The plot that kept me eagerly turning page after page. The plot that made me scream out in frustration when I had to (very reluctantly) put the book down for dinner (a dinner which I scarfed down so that I could keep reading). The plot I very quickly fell in love with.
The book began on a note that draws the reader right in. In the prologue we get a small glimpse of Seraphina's past, and even though we know little about her world, we know she is different. How different she is, we find out later (and may I just say that it was not something I was expecting). The prologue and the opening chapter are what effectively pull you into the book. For some reason, I felt that the book would start off slow. Probably because a lot of books do. They pull you in slowly, but keep you interested until things begin to escalate towards the climax. Seraphina began to do that, and I fully expected it to continue that way. But then at the end of one of the beginning chapters... BAM! Plot twist. And then you read on excitedly because plot twists are AMAZING and a pleasant surprise when they happen near the beginning of the book. And then BAM! Another plot twist, and you're hooked. You cannot put the book down. It's glued to your hands and you would have it no other way. That is what it was like reading Seraphina. There was never a dull moment; I read and wanted to read every single word. I wanted to know every detail of Seraphina's life and most importantly I wanted to know what would happen to her considering her own secret. Now, I won't spoil her secret, becuase that won't be any fun for anyone. But wow. This book... Wow.
And the teensy bit of romance
(can we call it that? I'm going to call it that) strung into it? Perfection. It was there, but in no way did it overshadow anything else that was going on. Yet I still cannot wait to see where it that goes.
I need to talk about the dragons for a minute. I don't want to give anything away for those of you who have not yet read Seraphina, though, so I'll keep this short. MOST INTERESTING DRAGONS I HAVE EVER READ. Okay, so my list of books I've read with dragons in them is not as large as it could be, but still. These dragons *pokes copy of Seraphina excitedly* are so cool and so interesting! So if you're sick of dragons, you need to ignore that and read Seraphina, because you will be introduced to something new. And if you love dragons, then you are about to love them a whole lot more!
I also liked the addition of the royal family tree that was included in the book. Things like that are really helpful for a reader, especially when introduced to such a large family. It makes it easier on the author, too. Instead of clogging up the prose with "Daniel, whom Seraphina remembered being introduced to as the king's cousin, is coming to visit" (ps, I just made that sentence up), the author can just keep it simple, and if the reader forgot who Daniel is, they can flip to the family tree. This helped me, because I was confused about two characters being cousins but also being engaged.
Another thing I was glad to find at the back of the book was a glossary of characters (which included some very witty descriptions of characters at times), and a glossary of terms used in the book.
I seriously canNOT wait until Dracomachia (Seraphina #2) comes out, which should be in early-mid 2013.
There is also a Seraphina 0.5 called The Audition. There is a link on its goodreads page, which you can find by clicking here.
So have you guys read this one? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments :)