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Seraphina (Seraphina #1) - Rachel Hartman

I’ve read a few really good fantasy books this year (Throne of Glass/Crown of Midnight, Shadow and Bone, Poison Study etc), and Seraphina has added itself to the list. This novel tells the story of a musician at court with a terrible secret – a reason why she feels she can never get close to anyone else. However, she’s drawn into the politics of the court, joining forces with Prince Lucian Kiggs to investigate the murder of his uncle, while also trying to keep the peace between her country and that of the dragons they’ve had peace with for years.


Seraphina herself is a brilliant character – smart and brave and closed off and untrusting and as honest as she can be. She has a charming narrative, and I just really loved reading it. She was backed up by a really strong cast of characters, too; I loved Kiggs honesty, and Glisselda’s backbone, and how they drew Seraphina out of her shell, and how, at the end, they accepted her for who she was. The story of the Queen, and what she’d done to secure peace for her country was inspiring; I loved that the novel was full of really strong characters. And I just had a soft-spot for Orma and how he felt about Seraphina, and how he learnt that emotions – love, especially – were something to be valued.


Though the novel is longish, the story never dragged. It carried me along easily and it made me want to keep reading. The prose is written in first person, yet still manages to be beautiful without feeling unrealistic or clumsy.


I liked Kiggs as a love interest, and I really enjoyed the dynamic between the too; it was sweet and real and they brought out the best in each other. It certainly wasn’t instalove, and I loved the development of their relationship. My only downside to the novel is probably the expression of love at the end – how fast it is, how they have to keep it a secret. Saying that, however, I did like that though present, their relationship wasn’t the main part of the novel, but simply a sub-plot. It was refreshing.


Overall, I really enjoyed this novel, and I am certainly looking forward to the next one.