Released: July 10, 2012
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Random House
Source: Amazon Vine
Genre: YA - Fantasy
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.
I am so depressed that I finished this book.
I wasn't expecting to have such a strong reaction to SERAPHINA; in fact, ask any of my friends the first day I started reading it and they could tell you that I was not impressed with this novel. The writing at the beginning reminds me of DoSaB By Laini Taylor, or anything by Maggie Stiefvater--not in how poetic it is, because I did not find SERAPHINA to be very poetic--but in how...different it is from the typical YA novel. I believe that, because this is a fantasy, the foreign names contributed to this "eccentric" writing style, if you will.
It was not until Seraphina met Lucien that I really took an interest in the book, if I'll be completely honest. I've been craving a good old romance, and once I realized that there was the potential for one between these two, I was hooked. I am still hooked now, and am desperately awaiting the second book in this series. Yes, there is the potential for a romance. Does one ever blossom? Maybe. Either way, I'm satisfied...for now.
I will say that Lucien is certainly not the typical romantic interest that I would squeal over. He's not dark and not an ass (well, not without good reason, anyway)--not that I support either of those qualities. He's very bubbly and cheerful, and I think he is like that in order to draw Seraphina out of her shell. I didn't see myself swooning over him like I would some other YA or adult heroes, but I liked him. He needs to grow on me more.
Seraphina was peculiar. I liked her as a character, but she kind of fell flat for me. I felt engrossed in her trials, felt myself tearing up at one particular scene, was cheering her on as she developed and grew a pair, and at the same time, I was apathetic about her. I can't describe it. I suppose I felt some sort of disconnect when it came to all the characters. They didn't pop, but I would not go so far as to say they're 2D.
There was another factor that kept me reading, even before I caught on to the potential for a romance: the dragons. I found this entire world, and how the dragons play a role in it, to be incredibly fascinating. Even when I felt myself growing tired of Lucien at some points, the dragons and my curiosity of them made me continue on. Then that curiosity shifted to the half dragons, and all the illusions inside Seraphina's head. When those creatures were first introduced, I had no interest... But leave it to Rachel to suddenly make them so important--and in turn, so mysterious--that I'm dying to learn more about them! Especially the girl who was sealed away (won't say anything more, you'll just have to read the book to know what I'm talking about).
Does this novel end with a cliffhanger? Yes and no. No, you will not be screaming and threatening the air because the story was suddenly cut off at an important scene. Yes, there are plenty of loose ends that have not been acknowledged because there is a second book in this series. I am content with how the story ended and will be able to survive the wait for book two, though I would be pissed if the series was suddenly discontinued.
Do I recommend? Well, you're either going to love it right away, you'll love it eventually (like me), or you'll probably feel apathetic. I don't think many people will hate it, but I do see people DNFing it because of the slow start. Honestly, this is one book that I'm wary of recommending because I had such an unexpected response to it.
0.5. The Audition (Tori's Review)
2. Dracomachia (2013 release)