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review 2018-09-07 15:48
"Seraphina - Seraphina #1" by Rachel Hartman for the Cryptozoology square
Seraphina - Rachel Hartman

Seraphina lives in a world where, for the past forty years, dragons and humans have lived in an uneasy truce, facilitated by the dragons' ability to take on human form.


Now that truce is under threat by an older generation of dragons that cannot set past wars and enmities aside and are willing to to stir inter-species fear into hatred in order to return to open conflict (Is it just me, or would this cast as dragons Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson and the other right-wing English nationalists who want to reject forty years of peace and prosperity in the EU to pursue dreams of Empire and reestablish a feudal England with themselves at the head of the patriarchy? Yeah, that probably is just me).



Seraphina, in her first few months at the human court, finds herself positioned to influence the outcome of this plotting if she places her own future at risk.


This is a light, fast, fun read that satisfies as long as you accept a Young Adult Fiction paradigm. There is a pervasive innocence in worldview across all of the main characters, all of whom are young and none of whom have experienced or cannot really imagine the mundane evil of hate-driven violence and cruelty.


The main players are young enough to be on the edge of creating their own identities. They are all special in their own way. Shame-based secrecy turns Seraphina into a liar, which frustrates her desire to be herself and limits her ability to see who she really is.


The book tackles some interesting themes: the role of emotions (human) and rationality (dragons), the fear of the other, the slowness of change, the apparently transcendental power of love, the role of music in bringing together rational structures to express emotions. Perhaps more daringly, it tackles Seraphina's own dysmorphia and her acts of self-harm, the potential that comes from mixed races, provided that the mixing isn't hampered by prejudice and shame and the isolation of being a bastard in a world of inherited power. 


It has some interesting ideas about the impact on dragons of having to live in human form, about knowledge as a hoard of treasure that dragons would lust after, maternal transmission of memories and the practice of memory excision to maintain an ordered dragon mind. I loved the sub-species of dragon techno-geeks who make devices for the fun of it.


It does not examine or challenge the society's use of royalty, rank and privilege but does substitute a matriarchy for patriarchy although it's really just women behaving like men.  

If you accept what the novel sets out to do and put your mind into wishing our heroine well, then this is a fast, fun novel with good plot twists, strong world-building and some original ideas.


I had fun because I was mostly able to do this. My enjoyment was limited by the fact that the naive romance dragged a little for me and asked me to spend attention on it when I'd rather have known more about the effect of music on dragons but that's a minor niggle.


cryptozoologists Mike Finn Halloween Bingo Card-018I read this for the Cryptozoology Square in Halloween Bingo

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text 2018-09-04 14:15
Reading progress update: I've read 24%.
Seraphina - Rachel Hartman

This is original enough to be interesting, YA enough to be driven as much by emotion and the need to do right rather than a more jaded view of politics and makes a tantalizing use of music as a potential bridge between mathematical rationality and an emotional truth that reaches past words.

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text 2018-09-04 08:18
Reading progress update: I've read 10%. Here be dragons
Seraphina - Rachel Hartman

I've changed my mind and am reading this for the Cryptozoology square rather than the 2nd Incryptid book. It's a little long but it's a fast read and what's not to love about math-obsessed dragons who can take on human shape, even if they don't get the whole emotions-are-good-for-you thing?

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-10-23 19:40
Serafina // Seraphina!!!
Serafina: Das Königreich der Drachen - Rachel Hartman,Petra Koob-Pawis

German and english review


Ich habe es tatsächlich noch geschafft, diesen Monat ein Buch fertig zu lesen. Ich habe das Stricken für wieder entdeckt, was im Moment sehr viel Freizeit in Anspruch nimmt. Dafür wird mir im Winter der Hals nicht kalt, das ist ja schließlich auch etwas.


Das Buch habe ich von einer ganz lieben Person ausgeliehen bekommen und hab es dann doch noch auf meine Bücherliste geschrieben, ich muss das Buch unbedingt selbst haben, genauso wie die Fortsetzung, die ich unbedingt bald lesen will.


Aber genug davon, jetzt geht es ums Buch.


Kann EIN Mädchen ZWEI Welten vereinen?

Die Drachen könnten die Menschen vernichten. Doch sie sind zu fasziniert von ihnen. Dies ist die Basis des fragilen Friedens zwischen beiden Völkern, die jäh brüchig wird, als der Thronanwärter ihres gemeinsamen Königreichs brutal ermordet wird – auf Drachenart. Die junge Serafina hat guten Grund, beide Parteien zu fürchten. Hütet doch das erst seit kurzem am Hofe lebende Mädchen selbst ein Geheimnis. Als sie in die Mordermittlungen verwickelt wird, kommt der scharfsinnige junge Hauptmann der Garde, Lucian Kiggs, ihm gefährlich nahe und droht, ihre Verstrickung mit der Welt der Drachen zu enthüllen und ihr ganzes Leben auf immer zu zerstören.




Ich liebe alles an dem Buch.

Die Charaktere waren einfach klasse, richtig viele unterschiedliche Beziehungen, die einfach nur wunderschön waren. Ich fand die Welt in der die Story handelt, einfach richtig schön und auch wunderbar erklärt, dass man wirklich schnell reingefunden hat. Und die Geschichte ansich, war auch wirklich richtig schön. Klasse Schreibstil.


Serafina ist der Hauptcharakter in dem Buch und ich fand sie von Anfang an, einfach total besonders und sie ist mir wirklich schnell ans Herz gewachsen und war/ist mir wirklich total wichtig. Aber auch Charaktere wie Kiggs, Glisselda, Orma, Viridus und die Charaktere aus Serafina's Garten, von denen wir ein bisschen mehr bekommen haben.


Ich fand die Beziehung zwischen Serafina und Orma wirklich total interessant. Genauso wie die Momente mit ihr und Viridus (der Moment als er ihr sagte, dass er weiß, wer sie ist, wer ihre Mutter war. AAAAAAAH!!!!). Und dann natürlich alles was mit Serafina und Glisselda und Kiggs zu tun hatte. Ah, ich mag die Drei total als Team zusammen, deswegen fühle ich mich echt schon ein bisschen schuldig, dass ich Serafina und Kiggs zusammen so toll finden würde, obwohl er ja mit Glisselda verlobt ist. SCHWIERIG.

Und dann natürlich alle Garten Bewohner, die Serafina dann auch in Wirklichkeit getroffen hat. Ich hoffe wirklich, dass man in dem anderen Buch, dann auch die anderen besser kennenlernt. Was ich auch unbedingt mehr haben möchte, sind Momente zwischen Serafina und ihrer Familie.


Von der Story her, war es wirklich sehr spannend gemacht und das hat sich auch bis zum Ende hin wirklich so gehalten. Da gab es doch die ein oder andere Wendung, die mich einen Moment die Luft anhalten ließ. So liebe ich das.


Alles in allem kann ich das Buch wirklich nur empfehlen.

Wo wir beim Thema Drachen sind, jeder sollte unbedingt Eon/Eona lesen.




I actually did it, I finished a book this month. I rediscovered the joys of knitting and well, that's taking up most of my free time at the moment. At least my neck won't be cold this winter, and that's important too.


A very lovely person borrowed this book to me, and of course, I already put it on my list of books I need to own, together with the second book, that I wanna read very soon.


But enough of all that, let's talk about the book.


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.




I love everything about this book.

The characters are awesome, all the different kinds of relationships, wonderful. I loved the world the story was set in, amazing and wonderfully written, so I got into the story very fast and easy. And the story itself, amazing.


Seraphina is the maincharacter in the book and right from the beginning, she was just very special to me and now she's super close to my heart and very important to me. But I also really loved characters like Kiggs, Glisselda, Orma, Viridus and all the characters from Seraphina's garden, especially those we got a bit more from.


I loved the relationship between Seraphina and Orma. So interesting. And the moments between her and Viridus (seriously, the moment he told her he knew who she was and who her mother was, AAAAAH!!!!!.) And of course everything that had to do with Seraphina, Glisselda and Kiggs. Ah, I love these three together as a team, makes me feel really guilty about really liking Seraphina and Kiggs together, because he is engaged to Glisselda. DIFFICULT.

And then of course all the people from the garden, that Seraphina got to meet in reality. I really hope, that in the second book, we will get to meet the others as well and get to know them more. I would also love more moments between Seraphine and her family.


The story itself was very good and really intriguing, from beginning to the end. There were some twists, that really took my breath away for a second there.That's how I like it.


Overall, I really recommend this book to everyone.

And speaking of dragons, I need everyone to read Eon/Eona.

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review 2016-10-21 00:00
Songs of Seraphina
Songs of Seraphina - Jude Houghton Songs of Seraphina - Jude Houghton Here we have three sisters, Charlemagne (Charlie), Cairo and Pendragon (Penny) Agonistes who have just arrived in England from America. Their father has sent them there to stay with their eccentric grandparents after the disappearance of their mother. Their poor father needs some time alone to deal with their mother’s disappearance without having to take care of three teenage girls but I do suspect that there is more to his story than he has led the girls to believe.

The girls do not like being in England without their father and having to stay with a couple of people they don’t know or remember but they do happen to have a few adventures while they are there. They discover other worlds that they embark on without understanding or knowledge of what is happening to them.

While traveling to these other worlds the girls meet some great and mysterious people some they trust and some they don’t. But mean while back on their own turf they need to be very careful because they have a couple of demigods on their trail. What adventures are the girls going on and why are they traveling to other worlds? Why are demigods looking for them? What has happened to mother? Where is she? Who took her and why? To find out all the answers pick up your copy of Songs of Seraphina.

I have enjoyed following along with Charlie, Cairo and Penny on their journeys to the other worlds. Songs of Seraphina is filled with lots of mysterious roads that will take you on the adventure of a lifetime. I would recommend Songs of Seraphina to anyone who loves a good mystery with a little fantasy on the side.
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