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Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.

Even better the second time through

Seraphina - Rachel Hartman

I just finished re-reading Seraphina in preparation for diving into its sequel Shadow Scale and if anything I loved it even more the second time. I would be completely happy just walking around inside the wintery, music-filled, multi-cultural Medieval-like setting of this book, with its castles, saint-filled religions, arcane philosophies, and logic driven dragons, even if it was plot-less, but on top of everything else it has a WOW of a story and a wonderful soulful heroine, half human and half dragon, who has to hide who she is.


I listened to the audiobook this time, and one big plus of that method is there is no rushing. Yes, I skim if some part of a book isn't holding my interest, but I also race when things get exciting and I don't always go back to savor the words slowly. There is no avoiding the full, in this case glorious, impact with an audiobook (unless you get distracted by driving . . .)


My original review from January 2013:


I’m not usually interested in books with dragons, but here the dragons function like another species of humans, a species that values logic as much as any Star Trek Vulcan, and they can shape shift into human form when they chose. There has been a forty year peace between the dragon and human kingdoms, but because they don’t completely respect each other it’s been an uneasy truce and is on the verge of falling apart after a beloved human prince is found decapitated in a way that looks suspiciously like the work of dragons.


Main character Seraphina lives as a human but she is in a difficult position because according to what most humans and dragons believe she’s an abomination who shouldn’t exist since her mother was a dragon who died giving birth to her but her father is human. Seraphina’s form is mainly human and her dragon ancestry is a secret she struggles to keep. She has silver dragon scales on her arm and torso that need to be kept hidden at all times and before her mother died she managed to pass on a mental box of memories which can open and overwhelm Seraphina at the most inopportune times.


It’s no exaggeration to say that the writing is gorgeous and the world building is breathtaking. Several human kingdoms with their own cultural idiosyncrasies participate in the treaty with dragons and the human religion is rich with frequently invoked patron saints. Seraphina lives in a society with queens and kings, castles and taverns, art and scholarship. She is the assistant to the gouty royal music master, and music instructor to the playful but perceptive Princess Glisselda, whose grandmother is the current ruler and the original author of the human-dragon treaty.


Though this is the first of a series, and I can’t wait for the sequels to be published, it has a an ending that satisfies and won’t leave readers tormented until the next book.

Source: http://jaylia3.booklikes.com/post/1105027/even-better-the-second-time-through