Thursday, April 24, 2014

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina is a musically talented girl who lives in a world where humans and dragons co-exist. For years, they have lived at peace under a treaty that makes requirements of both sides—one being that dragons remain in their “human” form. Despite the treaty, there is some mistrust from both parties, and when a nobleman is murder (which appears to be by a dragon) there are twists and turns about who done it and who can be trusted.

Seraphina herself is what her community would call an abomination. She is half human, half dragon. Only her father and uncle know this truth about her. Her dragon mother died giving birth. Seraphina has dragon scales on her arm and around her waist. She keeps this covered with layers of clothing. Seraphina has vivid visions that cause her to faint. Her (dragon) uncle and teacher shows her how to enter her subconscious to control these visions. Seraphina creates a garden in her mind where several “grotesques” live. She visits and maintains the garden regularly to insure they are all happy. For when one is unhappy, she faints into a vision. Seraphina later realizes that her “grotesques” are real people as she meets three of them. There connection—they too are half human, half dragon!

Dragons are naturally intellectual and knowledgeable in mathematics. When they take their human form, they experience human emotion. Guilt, fear, joy, and most dangerous of all—love.

The contrast between human emotion and dragon reason is well written. Author Rachel Hartman tests her reader’s vocabulary throughout the book. Seraphina’s subconscious world is eerily mesmerizing. And, like in any great book, there is a love story that develops at the perfect pace. Even for someone who is not into “dragons”, this book is well written with amazing characters.
Although this does not do the book justice, here's a book trailer of Seraphina.

The book is on the long side and would probably not be best is a classroom. I personally have not read much fantasy and was unsure about the book at first. I really enjoyed it! I switched between reading and listening to the book on CD. I think being read to is something we think of when it comes to younger children, but I liked listening to the story and was able to keep “reading” even while driving!
Click here to check out the book website.


Vanessa Chairez said...

Hey Sarah!
I enjoyed reading your summary plot. I am not into fantasy but this book seems very interesting. And the trailer you provided was great!

I do have to agree with you that this book wouldn't be great for the classroom. But it would be a great book for teachers to recommend to students who are into fantasy and want to read a new book!

I remember in elementary school my teacher would have us listen to audio tapes of books which I remember enjoying. And it can be great thing to do now when you don't have a lot of free time, like you mention you can listen while driving or walking to class or on the train.

Thanks for a great review!

Sarah Hicks said...

Thanks for your comments Vanessa.
I also used the books on tape when we read Make Lemonade and it's very enjoyable.