Book Review: ‘Seraphina’ by Rachel Hartman

Dragons are a trend I can get easily onboard with. I love them. So when I heard that Seraphina was about them and got all these wonderful reviews, I was like: MUST. READ. NOW. And I did start it immediately, but then stopped… for months. Then I tried picking it up again and well, stopped again. The fact that I’m writing this review means that I have finished it six months after I started it. Does it mean it’s bad? No! While Seraphina begins painstaking slow, it builds up into a wonderful and original adventure that left me –unbelievably- yearning for more.

Seraphina has always had to hide her dangerous secret, that she was half dragon and half human. In a society where dragons and humans live peacefully, if not always tolerably, it’s strictly taboo and illegal for a dragon and human to have relations. Unfortunately, Seraphina’s father was tricked into believing that her mother was human, and hence came little Seraphina with a line of dragon scales that curled around parts of her body. Taught by her apathetic uncle, the dragon Orma, Seraphina was raised to be a smart and musically talented woman. When she begins to teach Princess Glisselda music, Seraphina becomes tangled with the country’s politics, especially as a new draconian threat emerges. She teams up with Prince Lucian Kiggs to help solve the mystery and protect the royal family as well as the kingdom.

Considerably, the beginning is very slow. It couldn’t hook me right away. As someone who always has stuff on her mind, I need that hook. But eventually, I became motivated, and once I read past the beginning, I started to get more and more absorbed in the story. What really helped was that I loved Seraphina. She’s brilliant, serious and just so satisfying to read about. It’s no surprise that the story is named after her because she’s undoubtedly the star of this adventure. As I read on, I began to care about her more, and remarkably, so do the supporting characters. There are a ton of characters in this book. Luckily, there is an index, if you have problems with keeping track. However, I didn’t make much use of it because I found it fairly easy to remember who and what everyone is, which goes to show how well-written (and memorable!) the supporting characters are.  (I wish I could say that with some other YA novels.)

The world Rachel Hartman creates in Seraphina is quite original. It slightly deviates from the usual dragon mythology, especially since we’re focusing on a half-dragon girl. The whole story is wrapped in mystery, politics and espionage. It’s thrilling and keeps you guessing. When Seraphina finally hits its pace, it’s a non-stop journey, one that I now wish didn’t end so soon. For those motivated by romance, you’ll be pleased. It’s a slow-burn, but totally worth it by the end. And it’s a main reason why I can’t wait to read the next book. If you love well-written fantasy and dragons and you haven’t read Seraphina yet, well… hurry along and go get it! (Just remember as you begin to read that it’s definitely worth it in the end. Don’t give up as easily as I had!)

Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman is now available. Support The Young Folks and purchase it at our TYF Store!

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