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Most Helpful Favorable Review
8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.
Spoiler Free: Political, Fantastical and Dragon-Galore Novel - With a Few Flaws!
Full Review @ thereadersheartstring . blogspot . com
Seraphina by debut author Rachel Hartman is an intricate tale filled with exquisite world-building, rich, lush characters and political drama that is a powerful matc...
Full Review @ thereadersheartstring . blogspot . com
Seraphina by debut author Rachel Hartman is an intricate tale filled with exquisite world-building, rich, lush characters and political drama that is a powerful match to the fantasy that readers will be expecting and will love.
To be honest, the book had a rocky start for me, simply because not a lot was happening. The world was being introduced and set up as well as the many, many characters, the physical and the mentioned. It was just a lot to take it, a lot to remember and to try to understand, but once that happened and the main plot of the story was revealed, things really kicked in and I was able to enjoy the world, the characters and the writing.
And did I enjoy!!
This book was fantastic. It reminded of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, which I adore, in the sense that this was an alternate old timey reality that was mixed with odd technology, though the technology of Seraphina's world is a great deal simpler when compared to Lyra's world.
Which brings me to our protag -
Seraphina is the MC of this novel, which only makes sense since the novel is her namesake and she was, thankfully, a huge breathe of fresh air for the YA world.
For those of you who are tired of love being the main point of your YA reads know this: this book is about love. It's about love for a mother, a father, a uncle, the people and one's self.
Perhaps my favorite part of this novel was the writing, which did take a minute to get in to, but once I did, it just made everything richer. I loved the world and the complexities of the government, the religion and the characters.
Hartman's writing style is very mature and complex for YA and based on that, I could have easily seen this book as a real treat for adults. It was just refreshing to see a really captivating and at times, challenging novel made for teens.
Though I loved the writing style, things did get somewhat confusing. One moment we are in a memory that Seraphina is having and the next we are in present day . . . or so I think. Around one or two times, I was not sure if Seraphina was having a flashback or if the event that was occurring in the novel was actually happening at the present moment.
I did a little rereading and was still, a tad confused, but it truly did not deter me from the story in the slightest.
Like mentioned before, things did take a while to get in to and I read on due to my own stubbornness, which in the end paid off, but I'm not sure if everyone will do the same, which I hope they do, 'cus it is worth it.
posted by ValenSteel on July 10, 2012Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.
Love or Hate...no in between
I had to read a ton of reviews for Seraphina before deciding to read it. Yes, it does have a really high rating, but I wasn’t really exuberant about the synopsis. I totally loved the cover, but I still wasn’t interested. Then I ...
I had to read a ton of reviews for Seraphina before deciding to read it. Yes, it does have a really high rating, but I wasn’t really exuberant about the synopsis. I totally loved the cover, but I still wasn’t interested. Then I read it on a whim. I don’t know why I did. Things just sort of happened, if you know what I mean.
It was just okay.
One thing I will praise is the plot. Drop dead amazing, one of the most gorgeous plots ever. It intertwines dragons, action, and music with a tiny bit of love and death. Of course, that’s always the best way to get a great plot. I admit, there are tons of twists that I totally didn’t expect. I can’t say too much, but let’s just say the ending was really unexpected. The person or possibly dragon you thought was the villain really wasn’t. The person or dragon you didn’t even think about turned out to be a traitor. And then things just sort of happen, and by things I mean bloody action things. That’s totally fine by me.
I really couldn’t get into the writing. Seraphina’s voice is kind of boring. No offense or anything, but she seems to have gotten way more of the serious dragon personality than most dragons have. Seraphina just seems a little too serious of a protagonist, and that really makes the writing style boring. Sometimes, having a first-person narration seem like a third-person narration works. It didn’t this time though. Either I’m an easily bored person or Seraphina is unable to make an epic plot interesting. Take your pick.
I love how Seraphina is a musician. That’s something I genuinely appreciate. Music isn’t a very popular subject in YA reading, so I was pleasantly surprised with Seraphina’s love for music. I think she actually did a good job choosing music as a passion. Well, I would probably hate Seraphina if she didn’t love music, but hey, at least I tolerate her now! For the love of music, I will love Seraphina. (Or at least not hate her…)
I admit, Seraphina’s got it all. It’s got a decent love interest, a fantabulous plot, an amazing part about music and dragons. Honestly, it’s got fire-breathing, scaly, fantastic dragons! Who has the mental ability to pass that?
I think Seraphina’s one of those books that you either love or hate. It’s bound to be a good book, if you really put your mind to it. Just think about the dragons and don’t let the possibly boring writing stop you from loving Kiggs or the music. And then you will LOVE Seraphina.
This review and more at openbooksociety dot com
posted by Openbooksociety_dot_com on November 3, 2012Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 16, 2012
Seraphina is a breathtakingly beautiful fantasy book. It simply
Seraphina is a breathtakingly beautiful fantasy book. It simply sweeps
you away into its own little world, and is a prime example of good
fantasy. It's enchanting, reads like a dream, and leaves you pondering
its story and characters after finishing it. I would say, however, to
be cautious with what you expect with this one. It may not appeal to
every reader right away, and takes some growing into. But it's well
worth it for the experience, as it slowly grows on you and steals your
heart. Reasons to Read: 1.A clever, intelligent heroine: One of my
favourite things about Seraphina is that it features a heroine who's
defining character traits include her cleverness and intelligence.
There's so much more to her than just that, but it's clearly an integral
part of her personality. And it completely shines through in everything
she does - she's a little bit quirky, but totally brilliant. I love that
we get to see a character like her, who is a bit socially awkward at
times, but still fantastic in her own way. And the same thing goes for
the love interest - we don't get constant descriptions of his eyes or
body or overall good looks. 2.A mysterious plot, full of unexpected
twists: I really thought I had figured the mystery out. I thought I had
solved it not even halfway through the book and was less than enthused
that the characters hadn't figured it out like I had yet. So imagine my
surprise when I was wrong - totally, completely wrong. There are so many
layers to the plot, it doesn't seem possible to guess it all in
retrospect. And I was so caught off guard. But I LOVE it when I'm wrong
and the book surprises me. 3.Bewitching secondary characters: I don't
know how Rachel managed to do this, but she took cold, distant,
emotionless characters (dragons) and somehow made them come to life.
That's HARD to do, because of their (lack of) personality for the most
part. But she succeeds. And not only that, but the rest of the cast of
characters from Lars to Glisselda just lept off the pages for me. I
couldn't get enough of Selda, and I was pleasantly surprised by how
taken I was with her. 4.Rich details and complex storytelling: This
is one area where I think some readers may have a harder time with the
book and it can take a little bit of getting used to. The world Rachel
created for Seraphina is vibrant, and overflowing with details. It
really takes on a life of its own. I found the glossary and cast of
characters in the back of the book to be indispensible while reading.
But this is what made the world really come to life for me, and made me
fall in love with the book. 5.Brilliant thinking: Seraphina is
obviously intelligent. But I can tell that Rachel is, too. It takes a
very thoughtful person to craft such a rich story, and I found myself
questioning so many ideas and rethinking some standards I held to, and
ultimately making comparisons to real life. I especially appreciated her
twist on dragon mythology (nerd alert: I studied a little bit of this in
some POLITICAL SCIENCE classes in university. I know, that sounds very
odd, but it was incredible) and I could really tell that Rachel had
researched this and had a solid background in it. Especially with the
concept of hoarding. I LOVED that. That's not to say that I didn't
have a hard time with it, because I was completely confused at certain
times. The book is rather long for YA, and there are so many characters
and words that I just wasn't familiar with so it took some getting used
to. And there were a few instances where I found myself
second-guessing my infatuation with Kiggs. He won me over, eventually,
and I know it really wasn't fair of me to expect him not to struggle
with a few things but I think I was really expecting better of him. And
he did let me down once or twice, even though I know it's because he's
flawed. Seraphina is just another reminder of why I adore fantasy - I
love it to the moon and back. You have no idea what I'd do for more
books like this one (good thing Rachel's working on a sequel)!
E-galley received from Random House Canada for honest review; no other
compensation was received.
5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 17, 2012
This richly textured novel is not just for fantasy lovers and no
This richly textured novel is not just for fantasy lovers and not just for teens. It is beautifully written, with a strong, intelligent, delightful heroine and a refreshing approach to dragons,
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 3, 2012
UTTERLY AMAZING! ONE OF THE BEST FANTASY BOOKS EVER!!!!!!
I loved every page of it, every character, dialogue, event. The idea of the plot was absolutely amazing and unique, and the book engulfed me not only by the whirlwind of events, but aslo by the awesome characters, the relationships between them, their feelings and emotions. The way the author writes about music and love - it's just incredibly beautiful and precisely astute, her style of writing is captivating and fluent, I haven't even noticed when I've come to the end of the book - that's how skilfully it's written.
The characters are real masterpieces - Seraphina, Selda, Lucian were great, but my personal favourites were Orma, Comonot and Viridius. The idea of the garden was original, and I enjoyed all the emotional peculiarities of dragons and their way of thinking. All in all, this book is an unputdownable kaleidoscope of a perfect writing, offbeat fantasy element, riveting plot, touching moments, unforgettable characters and an impeccable pacing. Just go and read it - believe me, no blurb or reviews will prepare you for the awesomeness of this book! Don't deprive yourself of an immense reading pleasure!!!
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 27, 2012
Posted August 28, 2012
Posted September 14, 2012
Posted July 28, 2012
When I finish a book and go right back to the begnning to re-rea
When I finish a book and go right back to the begnning to re-read, it HAS to be a good book! Amazingly, I found it better the second time around.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 9, 2014
I really enjoyed Seraphina! It was a fun read with an interesti
I really enjoyed Seraphina! It was a fun read with an interesting subject that you don't really see a lot of in young adult stories nowadays. Especially being the main characters too. Dragons! Who doesn't love dragons? Ever since I was a little girl I have been in love with the majestic dragon. Yes, some are bad; but there are also some very good ones as well. And I guess that is what made me love this story the most. The idea that, just like humans, there is your good guys and your bad guys. I love when a story shows us there is more to it than the stereotypes that the vast majority share.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Seraphina was an unique character with her many talents and difficulties that she had. For the first few chapters, we aren't really sure why Seraphina is so afraid to bring attention to herself; only that she has some magical? abilities maybe and has to hide them from the rest of people. And once we find out what the "secret" is, whoa boy! It really is a big one that could bring about her death too.
I liked Seraphina. I thought I would probably get a long with her if she truly existed. She is quiet but awesome and caring even though she fears to get too close. Funny that she ends up being friends with the prince and princess!
That is another character that surprised me: Princess Glisselda. I automatically assumed she was a spoiled brat that would make trouble for Seraphina; but I was far from the truth. The Princess was actually very smart and paid attention to everything that Seraphina taught her. And she was a caring princess too. I can't wait to see how she does in the next book.
There is a slight love interest in the book but it doesn't take over. Instead, it is light and fluttery, like a butterfly, that slowly comes to the forefront very quietly. I don't know I liked that there was a love interest but I also liked that it wasn't the main story line too.
Really the main threads is the mystery and Seraphina finally coming to terms with herself; learning to appreciate her whole self and not just the parts that society would accept.
I loved this book! I can't wait to jump into the next one as soon as I get my hands on it! If you love high fantasy, dragons, and a great mystery then I insist you pick up a copy of Seraphina too!
Posted June 26, 2014
Great book, don't worry, the text is not in Spanish
The book is really good and attention capturing. Interesting twist on dragons. I actually got the sample to make sure the text wasn't in Spanish, and its not.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 1, 2014
Posted March 4, 2014
Posted December 7, 2013
Seraphina is a magnificent story with beutiful detail and a very entertaining plot. I absolutely could not stop reading it and i enjoyed it every bit of the way. The characters were well written and I would have to say that my favorite was Orma; he was was really quite funny in his own dry, non-comical, draconian way. I was a little conflicted about the ending. On one hand I was a bit upset that it kind of had an open ending that leaves you somewhat hanging but in the other hand I think it worked well with the story and I was not displeased. I very highly recommend this book and if you are put of by the strange, unknown words just keep reading and you will eventually find out their meaning, or can just look them up in the glossery in the back of the book. Happy reading!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 19, 2013
Posted November 4, 2013
Posted October 28, 2013
Brilliant! Inventive! And at times, charmingly touching. Prose t
Brilliant! Inventive! And at times, charmingly touching. Prose that ride on a wave of elegance, drenching the reader in story lust.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Let's start at the beginning. I was offered this ARC by a fabulous Publicist working for Random House, who I met earlier on through my dealings with Sourcebooks. I accepted this book on his urging, even though I was leery because I am not a dragon fan. Not that I find dragons offensive or anything like that. My psyche is just not attracted to them.
From the start, the writing in itself berated me, shamed me for even considering not reading this tale. The language was uniquely constructed, elegant and mesmerizing from the opening words. (I really mean that.)
Hartman's descriptions painted a breathing world, one that held all sorts of life. It's thick, feeling old and ancient--holding secret skeletons just waiting for the reader to uncover. Saying this, the air of the writing is not necessary my type, but I could not stop reading. It teased and taunted me, almost to a hypnotic state, where an hour went by and I hadn't realized how much I'd read yet I remembered it all. (That is saying something.)
Phina is just made of awesomeness. Her struggle to come to terms with who and what she is was done in a way I've never read before. Honestly, it was brilliant. Phina's silent relationship with those in her mind adds much depth and tangibility to the tale. I enjoyed how that all was revealed.
She's unique in herself partly due to her musical talent, yet the reader is clued in early on that there is something more, something else that challenges other's acceptance of her, including her beloved father. Her backstory is quite complex and shared with the reader at just the right intervals. And of course, like in most young adult stories, there is a love interest. In this case, it's an interest that is internally fought off by Phina until the end of the story. Until BAM! Out of nowhere, the reader--in this case, ME--finds his/her heart aching for Kiggs to show Phina mercy. Kiggs is an intricate part of the world build for Seraphina's story, who must keep order and fight off any hint of the dragons--dragons who take on human form. I won't say anymore, for I don't want to share spoilers, other than I wanted Kiggs to like Phina and she to like him more than anything. How had Hartman done it, gotten me to fall in love with dragons?
The underlying thread of peace and acceptance between 'peoples' (and oneself), who are different came to a climax at the end of the book. Once again, it was beautifully executed in scene and word.
I would definitely recommend this book to any young adult, romantic, and fantasy lover, as well as and adult who recognizes brilliantly written literature for what it is. I'd also recommend this to middle schoolers who are advanced readers. It's just a great story. Can't wait for the sequel.
Posted September 25, 2013
Posted September 1, 2013
Loved this book
Awsome story of a girl and how she discovers things about herself and her past she never knew. Great view of how dragons could live in a world with humans. Set in a time similar to the 1700'sWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 30, 2013
Posted August 29, 2013
I re read this book just so that I could be emersed in its magic
I re read this book just so that I could be emersed in its magic again! This book was exceptional, I HIGHLY recomend this to anyone who loves fantasy!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 8, 2013