Janina's Reviews > Seraphina

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
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's review
Oct 30, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, music, young-adult-fiction, for-review
Read from January 14 to 21, 2012

Four and a half stars

It has been ages since I've written a review, but I really owe this book one.

Seraphina is an epic fantasy exactly how I like it. Some might find it slow, maybe even boring, but I revel in its kind of detailed world-building and character development. The story unfolds very slowly – but honestly, I couldn't care less. There are so many interesting details to find out about Seraphina's world, her past, her love for music, her relationships.
The setting is amazing, too – an intricate portrait of a medieval city with cobblestone pavement, stone buildings and churches (the cover perfectly fits my mental image of it!). It creates such an unforgettable atmosphere and just comes alive, I almost felt as if walking through the streets alongside Seraphina.

Add finely nuanced characters, shapeshifter dragons and a well thought through society balancing between mistrust and infatuation and you have exactly what I'm looking for in a fantasy book!
I am deeply in love with the concept of Seraphina's “garden” and its – often deliciously eccentric – inhabitants. It offers so much potential and I can't wait to continue exploring it. Also, a shout-out to Orma – dragon scholar and Seraphina's teacher – for just being generally awesome. A mixture of absent-minded professor and unlikely father figure, he provided for laughter even in tense situations.

The only (small) drawback for me was the love story: Oh yes, their friendship convinced me, truly. I even understood Seraphina's growing feelings for him, how she started hoping their relationship would develop into something more. I would have wished for more of those bittersweet moments of not knowing, being unsure, stepping back for the sake of a friendship (I crave these sort of romances.), though. Unfortunately, in the end, everything just went a bit too fast for my tastes and that killed the chemistry that was undoubtedly there between those two.

When I enjoy a book, I normally rush through it in a few hours, but thanks to my busy schedule, I was forced to savour this, reading it chapter for chapter. And that was probably the reading pace that fit this story perfectly. It may not be one of my favourite favourites (yet?) - I'll have to let it stew a little while longer before it becomes eligible for that list – but it can wear its “best of 2012” badge until then. Looking forward to seeing how Seraphina's story continues.

Recommended for fantasy fans (like me) who are not looking forward to the battle scenes (I hate them. They are mostly just boring and should – by all means – not exceed the length of a chapter – at least in my opinion.) If you agree with that, you might want to give this book a try.

Oh, and one cover in poster-format, please?

Thanks a lot to Random House and Netgalley for the review copy.
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Reading Progress

16.0% "Enjoying it so far. Love Seraphina, Omra and the setting"
42.0% "Liking it a lot despite the fact that, well, not that much is actually happening ..." 1 comment
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Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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Janina YES!

message 2: by ~Tina~ (new)

~Tina~ Ohhh, happy reading!!

message 3: by Janina (last edited Jan 15, 2012 04:42AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Janina Thank you, Tina! I'm so happy I got this from Netgalley. I actually didn't expect them to approve my request.

message 4: by ~Tina~ (new)

~Tina~ I was going to request it, but I have a hard time reading high fantasy on the computer. I'm looking forward to the release though:) Hope it's good!

Janina Wouldn't you be able to read it on your Kobo? I have it on my Kindle. It's a pdf, so the formatting is a bit messed up, but that's still a thousand times better than reading on my laptop.

message 6: by ~Tina~ (new)

~Tina~ I've tried reading PDF's on my Kobo and it's impossible. It simply wont let me and I'm tired of fighting with it. So...it wins:P It's strictly Epub for moi now ~sigh~

papalbina you can download kindles from netgalley. in fact, i read seraphina in my kindle sent directly from NG to my device in the right format... it's more comfortable to read that way...

message 8: by Nomes (new) - added it

Nomes so glad you loved this one :) I have it on my kindle but have needed that extra motivation to start it :)

message 9: by Lora (new) - added it

Lora Yays! I'm very interested in this one - especially since they changed the cover. Very nice.

I look forward to your review:)

Catie I'm forever skimming the battle/training/sparring scenes in fantasy too, Janina. And I completely agree with you about the pace of this one. I loved that it was a bit slower and more detailed/vivid. Nice review!

Janina Thanks! And I'm glad I'm not alone with my aversion for battle scenes. So many people seem to think they're the most important thing in fantasy.

Miss Bookiverse YES, Janina, battle scenes (in books and movies likewise) are the most boring thing ever :P

message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

I have this book sitting on my shelf for so long ugh need to read this.

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