Tuesday, March 24, 2015

oh. seraphina

I love dragons. I really do. To be fair, that made me slightly impartial to this book. However, and I will point out, that you will not be getting those giant world crushing dragons that appear in most fantasy. These are shapeshifting dragons that are persecuted and oddly respected for being what they are, dragons.

The flaws in this story? I never felt totally convinced that people could take control of such an intelligent race like dragons so easily and I don't think that a dragon, would deign themselves to wear bells, like a household cat. Truthfully, the writing isn't for everyone. The pacing is strange and sentences are disjointed. However, somewhere in there, I stopped noticing. Which means, no matter what, I understood this book on a visceral level.

Seraphina herself is a pleasant character to support. She had weaknesses and strengths that made her feel well rounded. It wasn't that I identified with her, it was that she felt real to me. She wasn't perfect and whiney. She was skilled, intelligent and introspective. She wasn't stubbornly plowing ahead but worked through her life with a respectable determination. She wasn't the over the top character that seems to be getting so much attention in young adult literature these days. She was just Seraphina. 

Usually, I would talk about the plot here. But, I am not going to. I feel that this book should be read without many spoilers.  So I will post the published synopsis instead.
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.
That is about as much information as I am willing to divulge. 

Problems aside. I really liked the book. It felt new. Fresh. The world felt rich. It kept me interested in its simplicity. The idea that dragons were these Vulcan-like mathematical creatures was fascinating. The usage of subtle intrigues. The cerebralist references. And lastly (but not least) the fact that the book reminded me of Anne McCaffrey's Harper Hall Trilogy. (A set of three books I fell in love in as a prepubescent teen.) Ultimately placing Seraphina into my list of favorite books regardless of it's flaws.

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