Smart, ambling introduction to a well developed world of humans vs. dragons. I really enjoyed some aspects of this book, and yet others left me feelinSmart, ambling introduction to a well developed world of humans vs. dragons. I really enjoyed some aspects of this book, and yet others left me feeling like there was a lot of missed potential. Maybe I was expecting a different book.
Good things first: In most humans vs. dragons stories I've read it's been all about the war/fight. Here it's more nuanced than that. There is prejudice, distrust, and a general undercurrent of hatred that shapes the culture of the people without engaging them in war. I thought it was brilliant.
Seraphina is not a whiner. Thank the saints. She mopes, for sure, but she gets over it.
Seraphina and The Love Interest actually share intellectual interests, AND, these interests are not wholly subsumed by later physical interests, but continue to play a role in the relationship even through to the end of the book. OMG. I'm trying to think of another story where the romance does not get sucked down into the "omg-i-want-you-i-need-you" mire. (maybe it will in future episodes? I hope not)
Now to the beats I think were missed: Can I preface this? Seraphina is a story about finding the courage to be who you are. There is nothing wrong with that story. It's very YA and speaks to a younger audience, which apparently isn't me anymore. I was bored by that story. Perhaps I've read it a lot.
What I hoped Seraphina might do in addition is address the cross-cultural conundrum: That she might need to face the problem of trying to live in two worlds at the same time: How she might cope with the expectations of two very different cultures, neither of which she truly fits in. I feel like this is a problem that speaks to more and more people as the world gets smaller... but regardless, there wasn't much about that here. It's mostly presented as a problem of being "truthful" (i.e, hiding or not hiding), which I found a little too simplistic.
Where were the arguments with her father over an acceptable career path (assuming music and marriage were out)? Where were the debates with Orma over behavioral instincts of dragons vs. humans, or the philosophical underpinnings of such beliefs (assuming she really does enjoy philosophy as the text indicates)? In addition to developing character and world, these mini conflicts could have added a whole new dimension to our understanding of what it was to be Seraphina, one more intricate than the simple "they will kill me if they know" imperative. It also might have made her seem less passive in the beginning, but that's another kettle of fish entirely.
There are other things I disliked too - the fact that once the Love Interest was introduced, the book became a romance; the very small role the interesting garden characters played; the self-centeredness of the main character; - These are pet peeves though and probably don't need elaboration.
Overall, a good book and one I would recommend for the YA audience. ...more
Better than #1. I can't say how many things I liked in this one: the music/opera (which could have been a disaster but instead was charming), the climBetter than #1. I can't say how many things I liked in this one: the music/opera (which could have been a disaster but instead was charming), the climax (which was tense and dramatic and scary, as it should be), the mystery of the briar king and the motives of the church and the fanes and the fae-realm and the powers of Anne Dare, the slimy fascination of the undead prince.
It was all quite surprising. This isn't a Hollywood style block buster of a series, but it has crept up on me. The writing drives forward with every chapter, and it's hard to put down....more
Grown-up dragon fun, if you don't expect too much from the historical side. This is a historical fantasy (see that emphasis on fantasy?) with a looselGrown-up dragon fun, if you don't expect too much from the historical side. This is a historical fantasy (see that emphasis on fantasy?) with a loosely historical flavor. Still, the wartime setting is a nice change from regency or medieval castles etc.
Plus, the relationship between the MC and the dragon is so sweet. It made me chuckle at first to see the straight-laced naval officer calling his battle-thirsty, spike-studded dragon "my dear", then I got over it. Why can't men show affection for their pets too?
I've never been the sort to read for dragons or other mythical creatures, but this book sold me from the beginning. A light and interesting read....more
Campy, trope-y, straightforward. I can't honestly say it wasn't entertaining, but I can't honestly say I'll remember it next week either.
I appreciateCampy, trope-y, straightforward. I can't honestly say it wasn't entertaining, but I can't honestly say I'll remember it next week either.
I appreciate the effort to bring something new to the story with Scarlet being a girl, but the continuous angst and self-recrimination of the teenaged protagonist was difficult to empathize with and there were just so many plot holes that weren't sufficiently explained.
Besides, there was another love triangle...
so sick of that.
Also sick of the "bad-boy" hero who has no way to express the depths of his passion than to release a stream of raging vitriol at his beloved. Not. Sexy.
Also sick of the "bad-ass" girl who is consistently fawned over for no reason than that EVERYONE wants to get in her pants and its ok for her to lead them all on while she tries to 'figure herself out' because they want to die waiting for her.
Dark, meandering, cruel. This story is a fairy-tale for those who like it grim.
Almost nothing about this book is as I expected. That wUnconventional.
Dark, meandering, cruel. This story is a fairy-tale for those who like it grim.
Almost nothing about this book is as I expected. That would be great if it gave me something better, but I'm not sure whether it did. Or perhaps I just didn't 'get it'? I feel very confused.
For instance, the beginning has a wonderful hook - a fairy-tale turned tragic with kidnapping, murder, and suicide. And I understand why someone would want it in the beginning. But really it has little to do with the story until later. Why not begin with the view-point character (Colby)? His story is just as compelling, and it might have set the stage better to have the rug ripped out from under us after we'd been introduced to the world. Maybe not, but I'm just not sure why the author did it.
Unless Colby isn't the main character. Maybe the main character is neither Colby nor Ewan. Maybe it's the kidnapper? The Bendith?
Is that why the tone becomes so grim? We are certainly given reason to sympathize with the apparent villain. And he returns again and again as Colby's antagonist, even though for the most part Colby has no clue that he actually has an antagonist. It's not like they're dire enemies.
So maybe he's not the main character. Maybe he's just a very well drawn character, and well drawn characters are naturally interesting and sympathetic, even when they're also villains.
Ah, but then the characters begin to lose their voices near the end too. Colby in particular loses his casual way of speaking and starts soap-boxing about the way of the world. It sounded suspiciously like the author's own voice to me. Was it bad? no. But it threw me out of the story.
I suppose in conclusion I should try and say something useful.
There are some wonderful things about this book: The characters are compelling, rich, and complex. The storytelling is modern, unconventional and can punch you in the gut. The tone is by turns flippant and grim. If you like these things and aren't put off by a bit of non-traditional set-up, this'll probably be enjoyable to you.
I might take a bit longer to think on it......more
Magicians and aliens from a parallel dimension? It sounded good, but this was not the Tolkien/sci-fi mash up that I was hoping for. The aliens were(viMagicians and aliens from a parallel dimension? It sounded good, but this was not the Tolkien/sci-fi mash up that I was hoping for. The aliens were(view spoiler)[ not really alien, just men. (hide spoiler)] In fact, I did not enjoy reading this until the very end.
I like Tolkien, but here the Tolkien inspiration is heavy: slender, ethereal elves in the forest; stocky, warrior elves under the mountains; a golden dragon sitting atop a pile of treasure. I mean, wow.
But where it really fell down for me was in the story-telling. The first 3/4 is just statement after statement about the world, and the politics, and the characters etc. There is basically no dialogue and the characters are described by a shortlist of personality quirks and visual cues. There is no unfurling, no discovery, no tension driving me to read the next page. It reads like a history book, even while the events are happening. /Yawn.
The silver lining, I suppose is that even though the first part was flat, at least it wasn't depressing. This is not the grim-dark gritty fantasy where everyone is horrible to each-other. The characters are nice, almost too nice... actually, I don't remember them having any personality flaws... or...any flaws at all - hmm.
Then in the last 1/4, something shifts and the story comes alive. The characters develop personality, the plot gets energized, Feist conjures up suspense and stakes! I raced through it! I'm not sure why this happened - a shift in viewpoint maybe?
If it weren't for the ending, Magician would have been 1 star for me (only because I didn't enjoy it - not because there is anything "wrong" with it) but the ending was enjoyable when I finally got there.
Would I recommend slogging through to get there? No, not unless you like an impersonal, factual storytelling style. Read the wiki and start with book 2.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more