Publisher: Random House Books
Source: E-branch from my public library
Release Date: July 2nd, 2012
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.
Review: Oh my goodness, you guys you have to read this one DON'T IGNORE IT LISTEN TO ME. Especially if I'm screaming out into the internet IN CAPS.
First things first. Rachel Hartman deserves an award for the world-building in this book. All the details you can imagine about constructing a fictional world--the people, the politics, the places--it's all there and Hartman did a fantastic job in making Goredd come alive with rich writing. Speaking of her writing, can I just roll around in all her pretty words and let the ink soak into my skin? Hartman absolutely dazzled me with her writing talent.
Now to Seraphina: I loved her character. She has so much to lose, and she's very cautious but trouble still manages to find her wherever she goes. Instead of shrinking away from her problems though she faces them however way she can and you have to admire her for that. Along with being careful, she's very intelligent and is brimming with potential. She learns to fight for what she wants and wholly embraces herself. :') Another detail that I really enjoyed about Seraphina was the focus Hartman placed on Seraphina's relationship with her family--her father, a distant man who taught her to be cautious but obviously loves his daughter and cares for her welfare. Then there is Orma, Seraphina's uncle who was one of my favorite characters. Being a dragon himself, he never understood how his sister could fall in love with a human but knowing that a child resulted from his sister's "indiscretion", Orma decides to participate in Seraphina's upbringing. Dragons are known to transfer their personalities and habits into their human forms but throughout the story the reader can witness Orma's gradual humanization. Hartman did this so well, and it was heartwarming.
I also really liked how Hartman dealt with memory in the novel. Seraphina's mother was able to leave her memories with her daughter and sometimes Seraphina is able to view them but at a cost. Seraphina also exhibits some exciting powers that may have a huge role later in the sequel and it's going to be something good! I can't wait! >:D I must also say, there's a little bit of a romance sparking here and it's done very well. It's gradual, a slow burn kind of romance so for anyone who's a fan of those....Seraphina delivers some of that as well.
Final Verdict: Do not make the mistake I made in waiting so long to read this one. It's a gem, and a shelf keeper. It's the kind of high fantasy novel that I've been aching to read and OH SO GOOD. The world-building is intricate, the characters are all fully fleshed out, the stakes are high and Seraphina is one kickass dragon lady. I can't wait for the sequel because I know it's going to be epic. Highly recommended. So much that it gets a gold star from me and a freaking A+