I've been wanting to read Seraphina for a very long time, mainly because I like dragon books. When Netgalley recently offered Shadow Scale the sequelI've been wanting to read Seraphina for a very long time, mainly because I like dragon books. When Netgalley recently offered Shadow Scale the sequel as an E-Arc I decided the moment presented itself and I should go ahead and take the plunge. Seraphina, the main character covets a secret, she's a half breed, with a dragon mother and a human father. In this time, where dragons are the enemy and only a peace treaty keeps them from attacking humans, interbreeding is illegal. All of her life, Seraphina's father has kept her origin as secret, for fear of what her fate would be if anyone discovered her secrets. He's begged her to lay low and stay out of the public eye. But despite all these precautions, at the prince's funeral she is noticed after playing a beautiful moving, musical piece. The royal family asks her to become a music assistant. Against her father's wishes, she agrees. Things take off from here. The story is set in a fantasy world, in the distant past. Pacing is slow to moderate, picking up near the end where we encounter an involved battle scene. This book is told in a first person narrative in the voice of our brave heroine, Seraphina. In this book, there a so many characters to keep track of, not unlike most fantasies. So, I'm only going to touch on a very select few. Seraphina Dombegh, the main character, is a brave and heroic young lady. She spends her life trying not to be noticed, while at the same time hating herself for it. She is embarrassed of who she is, believing if anyone were to discover her secret she would be repulsed. With a musical talent, its difficult to fly under the radar. Plus, she's been schooled about dragon lore by both her Uncle and her father. So, its very difficult to not have a strong opinion. One thing Seraphina isn't very good at is holding her tongue. Her greatest strengths are her fearless nature and compassion for all creatures. Prince Lucian Kiggs, Captain of the Queen's guard is an intelligent, perceptive young man. He investigates anything puzzling to him and usually is able to work out people's thought processes. Also, by being a bastard, he is very sensitive to others. He becomes enchanted with Seraphina as they slowly become unexpected allies in uncovering who is behind the recent death of Prince Rufus, who's death is suspected to be at the hand of a dragon. Princess Glisselda, second in line to the thone, is a fifteen year old girl who Seraphina ends up giving music lessons too. Glisselda is wiser than her age and becomes a good friend and confidant to Seraphina. The caveat is she's engaged to Prince Kiggs. Of course there are many, many other characters. These three are very integral to the story. This story covers many years of Seraphina's life. Its primary focus is when she's in her later teens. It does touch on her birth and also details a scene where she first finds out she's a half breed. One very different part to this story is what Seraphina refers to as her "garden". Seraphina is plauged with visions. The only way she can control them is to reach out to the creatures who haunt her, which she refers to as "her grotesques" and find a spot for them to reside happily in her mind. This was a unique concept and is continued to be developed as the story progresses. It will also play a much larger part in the sequel. Romance is present in this story. Its more of a forbidden romance. There are not any love triangles which I could see forming. Throughout the book both the mystery of the Prince's death and the continued concern Seraphina's secret would be revealed kept me turning pages. As she and the Prince become closer, you keep hoping she will find a way tell him and of course that he will be able to accept her. The ending was action packed and very powerful. It involves an incredible life or death battle between two dragons. I felt the conclusion was solid with a definite resting point. This book sets the stage very nicely for the next book, where the heroine will need to accomplish new goals which will involve an exciting quest in the anticipated conclusion to the series. I would recommend this book to readers who like dragons and love fantasies. Also, those who like to read about strong female characters will also find a lot to like about this book....more
I was lured into reading this one because of a readathon. I was able to pick it up on amazon for $1.99 which is always a screaming deal for an e-bookI was lured into reading this one because of a readathon. I was able to pick it up on amazon for $1.99 which is always a screaming deal for an e-book in my opinion. In the beginning, I instantly felt a connection to Ana the "new soul". I seem to really be drawn to the underdog. She's very discriminated against because of her differences. In this story, every other character has been reincarnated for thousands of years. They all have multiple lifetimes of existence, experience and memories. Ana is a new soul. At the expense of her birth, another reincarnate Cianna did not come back. So, you see she already starts off on the wrong foot in her world. When we join the story Ana has just reached her 18th birthday. She's decided its time to live a life on her own, far away from her mother Li, who has been nothing but awful to her. Growing up Ana has been treated like a second class citizen. What's great though, is instead of ruining her character, causing her to feel sorry for herself it had the opposite affect. Her poor treatment made her resilient and determined to make something out of herself. I also like how she doesn't know if she will be reincarnated, so she lives her life to the fullest. Throughout the story she's very set on finding answers to all of her burning questions and this is the primary reason for her quest to Heart. The main city in Range, the area she lives in. On her journey to Heart, sylph attack her and she is recused by a young man called Sam. Immediately, I felt drawn to Sam. He was kind and treated Ana extremely well. He gave her confidence and ended up sharing a love for music with her. Music was a key commonality between the two. This story definite has its moments of being tense, action packed and chaotic. For me, though I felt the lion's share of the book was dedicated to the budding romance between Ana and Sam. I did enjoy the romance and how it grew and flourished thought the story, however, I do wish it would have stood more in the background. I was more invested in the evil temple, the acid breathing dragons and especially the mystery behind Ana being a new soul. The climax of this story was very spell bounding and exciting. Some of the book's alluring mysteries were solved, but there are still so many loose ends. This is an interesting kick off to a new series. I'm excited to continue forward, curious to see where Jodi Meadows will take me and the characters next time. I'd recommend this book to readers who like romance stories with endearing, sweet, relationships. Also, those fans of mystery and intrigue will enjoy this book too, especially discovering the secrets of the temple and the new souls. I'm not sure if this one will be 3.5 or 4 stars for me. If it weren't for the romance dominating the story, I certainly would rate it much higher....more
INITIAL THOUGHTS: Enjoyable read about a strong lady character enamored by the scientific study of dragons. However, in the age thisRATING: 4.5 Stars
INITIAL THOUGHTS: Enjoyable read about a strong lady character enamored by the scientific study of dragons. However, in the age this book is set, this type of educational pursuit is improper for a woman. Its also a story about an expedition in search of dragons which lead to other polictal battles. With beautiful, lyrical language Lady Trent's story is told in first person, holding the reader on the edge of his/her seat throughout the novel.
When a young girl shows more interest in boyish pursuits of science, nature and biology, she is harshly reprimanded by her mother after she is caught, red handed, dissecting a starling. From this point forward, Lady Trent tries her best to smother her love for the sciences. She refocuses herself on more proper lady-like pursuits so in the end she may find a suitable husband and make her family proud. When it finally comes down to arranging her marriage, her doting father does his best to chose suitors who would be tolerant of Lady Trent's boyish ways. He does succeed in finding her the perfect mate, Jacob, who then allows Lady Trent to accompany him on a scientific expedition to study dragons. And so her adventure begins....
From Marie's Website "Marie Brennan is a former academic with a background in archaeology, anthropology, and folklore, which she now puts to rather cockeyed use in writing fantasy. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she spends her time practicing piano, studying karate, and playing a variety of role-playing games."She's an accomplished writer and A Natural History of Dragons is just one of many great books she has penned.
SETTING PACE AND STYLE
Set in a fantasy world in the past, The Natural History of Dragons begins. The writing is beautiful, fitting to the times, entertaining and descriptive in the ideal way. The dialogues felt real. I find the tone of this hard to describe. Lady Trent's memoir definitely has a certain air or ambiance which is easy to loose yourself in. With a great knack for detailing her escapades, Lady Trent, the main character and narrates her story in first person.
CHARACTERS AND PLOT
Lady Trent is an strong-willed, ambitious woman with tomboyish tendencies. Brave and bold, she's not afraid to speak her mind. Sometimes, though she guilty of allowing her emotions to override her common sense. She occasionally will blurt something out, only later realizing the consequences of her actions. Being compassionate, intelligent and curious with a lot of tomboyish nature makes her an admirable female lead in this story.
Jacob (her hubby) is endearing, patient and very understanding. He's a model spouse, a perfect match, as he's so tolerant of Lady Trent's strange quirks and traits. I loved to see him treat her as an equal, even though he does have some internal battles, I felt he loved his wife so much he would stand behind her in whatever she wanted to pursue. This made Jacob one of my favorite characters in the story.
Plot: A woman and her husband join an expedition to a foreign country to study a specific breed of dragons - a memoir.
I recommend this book to historical fantasy readers who enjoy beautiful writing with whimsical tones. Those readers who look for rich prose and a fantastically detailed story, involving expeditions, adventures and of course dragons should give this one a try.
Haven't we all read our share of books where a father sets up a marriage for his daughter and then she ends up being unhappy for the rest of her life, because her heart lies with another? Well, in A Natural History of Dragons we get something completely different! Finally, a historical fantasy story, set in Victorian Times where a father arranges a marriage in his daughter's BEST interest! Amazing! This is just one of many exciting features of this fun, clean entertaining read.
Another stand out characteristic of this book is the beautiful illustrations. The cover gives the reader just a little taste of what's to come inside. The beautiful hand drawn illustrations makes me want to go out and actually buy the hard copy so I can continue to admire them. Here are some examples:
This is an enjoyable read about a strong lady character enamoured by the scientific study of dragons. However, in the time this book is set, this type of educational pursuit is improper for a woman. Its also a story about an expedition in search of dragons which lead to other polictal battles. With beautiful, lyrical language Lady Trent's story is told in first person, holding the reader on the edge of his/her seat throughout the novel. This story captivated me with action, adventure, battles, dragons, mystery and suspense, a perfect mix of all the characteristics which make up a great story.
Science, dragons, ancient ruins possessed with demonic kings (part dragon and part human) strange politics and plenty of historical fantasy, this book has proved to be very unique. With plenty of unexpected twists and turns I was excited from the first page turned.
One aspect I didn't like was how the author chose to conclude, not because the ending was poorly written, more so because it wasn't what I wanted to happen. It wasn't the ending I would have picked if I were writing the book. I can't really say more without spoilers! I'm curious why Marie chose to go in the direction she took this one. What I did appreciate is the story stopped in a good place, however, it eluded to another expedition in Lady Trent's not so distant future, which I will really most definitely look forward to reading.
This one earns a 4.5 out of 5 Ring Rating. I deduct a half of a ring because I was unhappy with the direction the author took the story in at the conclusion.
4.5 out of 5 Rings (Captivating ~ Looked Forward to Reading)