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  • A Phenomenal Breathe of Fresh Air

    I was drawn to this book by the promise of an original take on Dragon lore and I was not disappointed! I can't say enough how breathtaking it was to read a new perspective on dragons. Hartman brings you into a world you've never dared to imagine and that's saying something in this day and age. Searching is a beautiful blend of a historical medieval setting and the unique fantasy of the world of dragons. Every character we were presented with was original, memorable, and unforgettable as we followed the most unique leading character of all through finding and accepting herself, the seething beginnings of war and love. Although I will say that Orma did steal my heart. I think you will agree that Seraphina shows everyone that life is lighter when we learn to accept ourselves, scales and all. if you're looking for a book that takes you in, intrigues you and holds you to the very last word, look no further.

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    3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Brilliantly written

    A much hyped novel that I finally decided to read, Seraphina came across as a little underwhelming. Not that I had much expectations before - prior to starting I only had a vague idea that it is an epic fantasy with dragons, and seemed much older in publication (that cover tricked me!) than it is. Seraphina’s story takes place in the kingdom of Goredd, where she is a human-dragon hybrid in a society that has had just 40 years of peace with dragons. If you are thinking about the mechanics of such a conception, worry not - the dragons can shift to human forms called saarantrai when they want to enter human society. The two species are vastly different - humans are, well, temperamental, prone to making decisions on emotions rather than logic and quite judgemental. Dragons, for their part, are an advanced species, logical to a fault, and uncaring of emotions, and utterly disrespectful when it comes to human customs. In the past, they waged a war with the humans for the hunting grounds that became human kingdoms, but in this relatively newer peace of four decades, tensions are rising again now that the leader of the dragons is about to sit the kingdom that forged the truce. The major arc of the novel is very political - there are forces, internal and external that don’t see a point to the peace. Seraphina, for her part, has stayed out of court politics, but now that she has been made assistant to the court musician (and the unfortunate one who has to arrange ALL the entertainment at the palace) and teacher to the younger princess, she is unwillingly drawn into it. Also, there is the bastard prince (who is also fiance to the young princess) who is continuously amazed by her bravery and keeps thinking she is doing it out of civic duty or something. So, she is trying to hide her dragon part, while also helping out her dragon uncle find the perpetrator to the crime of killing the older prince, and trying to also defy her father who always forbade her from pursuing her musical talents. She embodies some aspects of a biracial identity in that she passes for human, and yet because of her status as belonging to both humans and dragons, understands and bridges the gap between them. The novel is not all court intrigue and seriousness, though. It also has lighter moments like the running gag of everyone identifying her as ‘that Maid Dombegh who played so wonderfully at the funeral’, the dragons being confounded by any and all human emotions (especially the leader of the dragons who becomes convinced he is in love), her fellow musicians at court who are a little in love with her and tease her for trying to be as strict as the old court musician. She is adored by most of the people, yet she feels a bit alone - she feels insecure because of her dragon heritage and thinks that no one will accept her if they knew (which is partly right, because most of them are dragon-haters). There is the heartwarming friendship trio that forms between her, Glisselda (the princess) and Kiggs (the prince), which, while not exactly a love triangle, presents a similar obstacle for the slow burn romance between Seraphina and Kiggs to proceed. There are also some awesome half-dragon characters who save the day, and which I hope to see more of in the sequel.

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    2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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