Seraphina – Rachel Hartman’s Killer Fantasy Debut

The ARC of Seraphina has been on my shelf for a while. Truthfully, I wasn’t planning to read it. Why? I’m not a big fan of fantasy (I know. Pshaw!). I’m more of a realistic fiction girl. But when the starred reviews started piling up and the praise poured in, I thought, “Why not see what the hullabaloo is all about?”

To put it mildly, I’m glad I did. This book is beautiful. A glorious read—even for curmudgeonly non-fantasy readers like myself. The writing is stunning. The story is thoroughly captivating. Seraphina (the star of the show) is deep and talented and full of heart and soul. And the ending is breathtaking. How many more effusive adjectives can I use?

For those of you who haven’t heard the scoop, here’s a wee plot synopsis (cue movie trailer voice): In a world (specifically medieval Lavondaville, the capital of Goredd) where dragons and humans live together in alleged harmony, a fragile peace exists. On one side: humans. On the other: dragons that can shape-shift and take human form yet live without feeling or emotions. In the middle, a half-breed: Seraphina, a 16-year-old girl with a talent for music and a secret (her true identity) she must keep hidden forever. But as the 40-year celebration of the peace treaty between humans and dragons draws near, Seraphina’s carefully crafted facade begins to crumble. Then, when a prince and heir to the throne is decapitated and a dragon is seen flying near the scene of the crime, factions on both sides begin calling for a renewed war. Will the dragons decide to destroy the humans once and for all? Or can Seraphina join forces with those she trusts to put an end to the fighting?

As other reviewers have noted, Seraphina is one of the most sympathetic heroines I’ve come across as of late. Her choices are hard-won and despite the fact that her story is a fantastical one, there are real-world parallels to be drawn (i.e. identity crisis/fitting in; a blooming, forbidden love affair).

For your reading pleasure, here’s an interview with the author by Shelf Awareness’s Jenny Brown:

And, why not, the book trailer:

There’s a reason this debut fantasy book has received five starred reviews thus far. Tamora Pierce says, “I love this book!” Christopher Paolini called it “impressive,” featuring “some of the most interesting dragons I’ve read in fantasy for a long while.” Naomi Novik vows it’s “a book with hoarding.” Grab a copy soon and see what everyone’s going bonkers about. You won’t be disappointed.

Oh, and did I mention there’s a sequel? Whoopie!

To read the original post, please visit Letter Blocks: The B&N Parents and Educators Blog.

%d bloggers like this: