Thursday, January 10, 2013

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - A Book Review

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - A Book Review

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman is one of my favorite books I read in 2012. Actually, it probably will make it onto my list of favorite books of all time.

It is the story of a girl who has a personal secret that could be very dangerous to herself and her family. She also has dreams and goals for herself that make keeping her secret more difficult. The story takes place in a world where dragons are real, and they can even take human form if they choose. Still, dragons and humans often do not understand one another, and maintaining a peaceful treaty between the two species is something that some folks on both sides may no longer want.

This was a world I didn’t want to leave when the story ended. I enjoyed spending time with the characters and was sad to leave them. If you’ve already read the book and felt the same way, there is a free, very short prequel called “The Audition” that you can read on Scribd. It may also be a good read if you want a feel for the style of the novel before you read it.

I was a little wary of the premise about dragons morphing into human form. That didn’t sound like something I’d enjoy. While the physics of that (not to mention the biology) still bug me a little, the story carried well enough that It ended up working. I was interested enough in the characters, and the shape shifting was integral enough to the plot that I was able to accept it while reading.

I don’t have any comments from my kids on this one because they are a little young for it, but I look forward to sharing it with them when they can appreciate it. I didn’t feel they are too young for it because of the romance and sex of the “Twilight” series. The romance in Saraphina is sweet, and full of character. Nor am I wary about the level of violence like the over-the-top relentless violence of the “Hunger Games” books. Each instance of violence in Seraphina is important to the story, and appears in small doses.  As such their impact, I believe, is intensified. The reason I will wait to give it to my own children to read it that the vocabulary might be tricky, and there are a lot of deep messages about self confidence, racism, becoming independent, and love that I think would be lost on them at this age. I want to wait until they can really appreciate this.

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