2 1/2 stars.
I'm not sure why this book didn't work for me so well. I'd seen so many good reviews for it. I sought it out because I wanted to read something easy-to-digest; something mystical, perhaps; fun and light. I have been so burdened by responsibilities lately that I kind of wanted a book that would give me a break from that.
Seraphina was a pretty good candidate. Unlike others, I liked it more in the beginning and less as time went on.
The best part for me was the world building. The author did a great job of creating a believeable land. I especially liked the royal court and the feeling of the castle. I also liked all the "vocab" words, and I think it's a great thing to expose the YA audience to a multitude of words. I also liked the dragons--Orma particularly, but Comonot was great and I liked Eskar too.
Here are some things I didn't like:
- The parts where Seraphina says things like, "OMG some crusty old guys who never see women 'flirted' with me [in our world, this would be called "sexual harassment"] and I'm sooo flattered and my spirits are lifted." BARF!!!!!!!!!! Ughhhh Rachel Hartman, WHY!?!????!??!
- The predictability of the whole Lucian thing. I don't ever try to predict what's going to happen in a book. Most of the time, when other reviewers say something is "predictable," I will not have picked up on it. By the SECOND interaction with Lucian, I could tell she would fall for him. So I saw that one coming by a couple hundred pages, which pretty much never happens for me.
- The Lucian thing itself. I'm starting to think dragons have a really good reason for keeping their emotionality in check if all the humans in Goredd fall as fast & hard as Seraphina does. It takes like...two weeks? If that? For her to fall madly, irrevocabaly in love with Lucian, enough to endager her job, his responsibilities, their very own kingdom. Dumb.
- The end. Seriously WTF?
Seraphina: i luv u
Lucian: i luv u 2
Seraphina: we kant do dis
Lucian: ur right... well do it l8er
Lucian: lets keep it sekrit from my fiansay n ur best frend k?
Like...how heartbroken would you be if you were Glisselda? She is such a sympathetic character too, she's nice and bubbly and generous and kind. The day or two after her own mother dies and she has to assume all responsibility for a kingdom, her fiance and family member is confessing his love to your friend and teacher? And conspiring to keep it secret from you until you can "handle it"? Glisselda is a strong character; if you think Seraphina is strong, surely Glisselda is just as strong, if not stronger? And, yes, even though technically I think of Lucian and Glisselda as being an incestuous couple, cousin marriage has been typical for royals (and others) historically. It just left a baaad taste in my mouth.
- How it's set up for a sequel. Which I will not be reading (unless I hear that the undoing of Kiggs & Seraphina is swift and delicious--which it probably will not be, because Seraphina is so ~~good~~ and ~~honest~~...ew)
The more I write about this book, the more I seem to dislike it, so I'll leave off...