It has a decent plot and decent twists and turns, and acceptably good premise. But I cannot handle the writing style. Was this really published in 201It has a decent plot and decent twists and turns, and acceptably good premise. But I cannot handle the writing style. Was this really published in 2011? It sounds like someone in the 1860s traveled through time to write and published this. Was this writing style done on purpose to match the setting or does the writer always write like this? I can abide this in real classics written in the Victorian era, but for sci-fi, ehhh... Nah, not really.
Serafina is a disappointment in more than one way. Not just the story, the main character herself. There are so many contradictions in this story, itSerafina is a disappointment in more than one way. Not just the story, the main character herself. There are so many contradictions in this story, it is hard to believe that so many people let it get that high rating.
This is a spoiler but I am going to say it anyway, because to a cat lover like me, it is so obvious that Serafina's identity is somehow related to a cat. Eight toes, quiet steps, excellent rat hunter, and a collarbone that 'malformed' in the way that allows her to squeeze into narrow corners as long as her head makes it through. Exactly like a cat, yes? I am willing to leave the rest to suspension of disbelief but that last quality, heck. Cat's anatomy is freaking different from human's, the reason it can squeeze through narrow space is not just because of its special collarbone but also because its shoulders and the rest of the body is narrower in built than a human being. Serafina, a child though she is, has her shoulders to impede her. If she can squeeze into someplace narrow it is not because she is part-cat but because she is a contortionist (which she isn't).
Serafina lives in the basement of Biltmore with her father. I have no problem with that. But I have problem with her being too smart for a girl who does not go to school or have any form of formal education. She has read hundreds of books and she is just what, twelve? I know it is tempting for a writer to make his character love books, most writers are or were readers at some point of their lives. And I know a writer wants his main character to be smart and what easier way than to show that but to make her engorge on books. Serafina is so over the top. I can accept it if she has read a handful of books from front to cover and repeat them a hundred times over because she loves them, because after all the main point is that she learned the meaning of friendship through her reading. But hundreds of books? And nothing to really show that she is smart? This is an example of how a writer tells instead of showing, forcing us to believe that this girl is smart by making her loves reading to death. No, I am not buying what you selling.
Oh, there is another 'proof' of Serafina's smartness. She can imitate the conducts and speech of her betters despite, again, having lived in the basement her whole life and rarely going upstairs. The thing is, this is not credited to her reading but to her observation. Really? But worst thing it, I don't get why she has to know how to behave like those whose class she does not belong to. Can't she speak like the ruffian child she is and still make the Vanderbilts and us love her? Can't she just be herself? The Vanderbilts are too perfect to be able to accept people of lower class and unknown origins without question but not without Serafina somehow refining her manners first, in whatever messed and mixed up way they are. I can't brain this.
I am one of those adults who love middle-grade books, but there are some books that while can fit just fine with kids, won't sit well with me. This is one such middle-grade book. Maybe a child will find it enjoyable because unlike nitpicking adults, they probably won't look for contradictions the way I did. And probably if I ever had a child, I would let her read Serafina. But only if I have run out of better options. The plot is predictable, some of its parts drag to no end, and the characters are unchallenging and 2-dimensional. I love the description of Biltmore and could well see that the writer did a good research on it, but is it enough for me to consider this a good middle-grade book? Final answer: no....more
I am not really happy with this book. Granted that the writing style is beautiful and the way the story is told, backwards, is unique. And those giveI am not really happy with this book. Granted that the writing style is beautiful and the way the story is told, backwards, is unique. And those give this book three stars instead of just two. edit: Okay, I changed my mind.
Some things are a wee bit predictable. Just a wee bit but enough to make me unhappy. I looked at a certain guy and I knew he would be the red herring. I looked at another guy and I had the gut feeling he would not end up with her.
Nicolette is not the most likable character. I think the whole bunch of them are antiheroes. I don't have issue with antiheroes but I don't like how she finds things to complain about her fiance, Everett. And it is not that he is not good enough or a lousy boyfriend but that he is too good. Being too nice and perfect, not even in a condescending way, is not good enough for her. It is rare for me to hate or even dislike the main character but this time around, I just feel no empathy whatsoever for her.
(view spoiler)[I have issue with infidelity, though. Everett does not deserve the treatment Nicolette gives him. But maybe it is just as well, he should be with someone better than Nic, who knows to appreciate him good and bad both. (hide spoiler)]
And I think there are some strands left loose, untied at the end. I don't know, maybe other people like it when the fictional mysteries are left unanswered. But not for me. We have enough uncompleted puzzles as is in real life, I retreat to fiction for finality. And when I don't get that, eh, I feel that I have wasted a good portion of my days reading the book.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more