Monday 9 September 2013


Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Book 1 of the Seraphina series
Read by Mandy Williams and Justine Eyre
Genre: victorian urban fantasy
Format: paperback & audiobookAudiobook

About Seraphina:
In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, "Some of the most interesting dragons I've read in fantasy."

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered — in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.
Source: Info in the About Seraphina was taken from GoodReads at on 08/07/2013.

I picked this book up because obviously I like dragons. And there are dragons in this book aplenty. Good and bad dragons. So no one is purely bad or purely good... Just like the humans. It is a fight of good versus evil. Plus dragons in a victorian setting is a new twist for me. It has always been in a medieval-like setting or the modern world. Very good premise! That however was toned down by the author's blatant attempt to create a situation where the heroes could show off and save the world by making some characters act stupid. What was that all about?! Pretty weak plot. And as if that is not enough, we get inconsistent and conflicting scenes/behaviour. The people just seems rude! And they are suppose to be victorian-like. Polite and civilized society?? For somebody to call someone else something like an "ugly demon" in front of a lot of people is to me, the height of impoliteness. Even I know that, socially inept as I am. But these people do it all the time. And they pride themselves to be a civilized and polite society.... right!!! Maybe it could be presented in such a way that some authors could pull it off and come off convincing. This author, however, did not. Another thing which drops the believability factor is that this is suppose to be a royal court right? So where is the court intrigue? Greedy manipulations? Political power play? There is a distinct lack of realism in the story. It drops the suspension of disbelief a couple of notches down. I think that is one of the reason why it took me so long to get into the story. The lack of realism. So much so that even with the convenience of the audiobook, it still took me something like two months to read the book. Another contributing factor to the book not being a fast-paced read is that I had to have breaks from the "stupids" and the inconsistent behaviour. It just annoys me. So you couldn't call the story telling quality very compelling. But in the end it is a dragon book and I like dragons but I don't think I would be buying anything from this author again.

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 2.5
Character development = 3
Story itself = 2.5
Ending = 4
World building = 3.5
Cover art = 3
Pace = 1
Plot = 1
Narration = 3

Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5 cherries

Books In The Seraphina Series: