21 August 2016


Author: Rachel Hartman
Series: Seraphina #1
Rating: 2.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow

"I scrupulously hide every legitimate reason for people to hate me, and then it turns out they don't need legitimate reasons. Heaven has fashioned a knife of irony to stab me with."

Hartman knows how to write some serious prose, I will give her that.  Unfortunately, it's bogged down in a confusing plot that didn't feel all that well pieced together.  It was a bit like trying to read a Nolan movie in print version.  But, unlike a movie, this book is more than a two hour commitment.  I found myself a little confused more than once.  I feel like if I did a reread, it would make a lot more sense.  But I think Hartman could have helped readers by setting up the story a little better (and maybe putting the dictionary/appendix in the front, since I never skip to the back of the book).

Seraphina is another dragons-in-disguise-as-humans novel.  Hartman pulls it off a lot better than Kagawa did in Talon however.  Unfortunately, Seraphina's plot, like Talon, suffers from a little too much emphasis in romance.  While at least - thank the stars - a love triangle is not involved, it still kind of is actually.  Seraphina starts crushing on Kiggs, who is engaged to his own cousin (ewww.  Gotta love that royal inbreeding).  To make matters worse, Seraphina is a halfblood (half human, half dragon).  Don't even get me started on how that's even possible.

Though there is a peace treaty between the humans and the dragons, there is anything but ease between the two species.  As such, I didn't really understand the entire bell theory and how some dragons were exempt from wearing them, and how no only really seemed bothered by that.  But then, later down the road, when the idea of bleeding everyone to see if they bleed red like a human or silver like a dragon comes up, everyone seems to lose their wits.  And all the public places apart from a special section of the village are segregated where dragons are not allowed.  So that really didn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

The fundamental plot of the novel - who killed the (king? king's brother?  Kiggs's uncle?  I don't even remember, but let's just say some human royalty) - takes way too long to build to fruition.  And the climax of the story is just plain anticlimatic, as the novel is told from Seraphina's POV and she's barely paying any attention to the battle/action at all.  Hartman has beautiful writing, but a lot of the time it just feels frivolous.  Still, she finally built up some steam near the end, which makes me hopefully for the second installment in the duology.  Fingers crossed.  I want more dragons!

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