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My initial reaction to this novel (a week or so after I finished listening to it) is to reflect on my connection with Seraphina. A girl with an amazing talent who actively seeks to hide her talent in order to not draw attention to herself because of a difference that could get her killed. I am surprised that in a world so fantastical it requires a great deal of careful sculpting and building that my first thoughts are of this character. Seraphina's struggle helps ground the world. Seraphina, at the beginning of the novel, has defined and viewed herself based off of an identity that she didn't choose but was born with. She is caught between two races with each not even wanting to acknowledge her existence. She has grown up with shame and without a true connection with anyone just because she is alive. In our world people often treated differently based on factors they were born with --- I'm sure I don't need to tell you--- the reality of these situations just really hit me on an emotional level.
The world building: the religion, languages, differences between cultures--are very well done. I thought it was beautifully written and well thought out.
I don't want to comment too much on the romance--but it is a slow build and felt natural. I--I read another review that said she could not remember was Lucian looked like...and neither can I. Their relationship is built on similarities and understanding--and not without it's issues---really refreshing.
And intrigue--can this fragile balance between the dragons and the humans be sustained? Who is plotting the downfall of the peace and why? Can Seraphina help the Prince with his investigations without giving up her secret?
If you like fantasy---I can't imagine a reason why you wouldn't enjoy this read.
26 of 26 people found this review helpful
Where does Seraphina rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
The best and I have listened to a ton of audiobooks!
What was one of the most memorable moments of Seraphina?
When Seraphina confronted her grandfather and told him that she was his grandaughter
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Any additional comments?
The narrator was awesome! Perfect for this book! I am forty years old and this book had me crying in places. Truly a beautiful wonderous Fairy Tale!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
After first few chapters into this book, I was unsure whether to proceed to the end. It was slow, with very little description of the world in which the heroine lives. It didn't help either that the narrator's voice seemed so bland. However, I am glad that I decided to stick with it!! I soon learnt the reasons for the narrator's often seemingly bland, slow voice - there are numerous characters (dragons in human forms and, beings half human and half dragon) who by their nature, we are made to understand, neither understand, possess nor express human emotions in the way humans do - hence the bland tone attributed to their conversation. With regard to the humans voices, the narrator picks up quite well on the appropriate tone and speed. She narrates in such a way as to help readers distinguish between our heroine's mother's memories, passed onto and beheld by our heroine, and the heroine's own thoughts and speech.
The story does seem to start to come together and get more intricate and gripping midway through the book and really builds up from there; and the sci-fi reader begins to truly appreciate the book in its last 10 or so chapters . This said, I can totally appreciate why other readers have posited the book as one written with confusion or disorganisation, and therefore hard to follow.
Most sci-fi readers look to be transported and escape to a different world when reading a sci-fi book; and this relies on the author delivering an enargia, enabling the reader to mentally visualise and emotionally connect to the world and the characters. I do not think Hartman achieved this convincingly in this book. I do however think that for her first book, 'Seraphina' is enjoyable and shows a promising potential in Rachel Hartman as a sci-fi author.
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
I think I would have enjoyed this a great deal more if the narrator had more dramatic range in her voice. Each sentence seemed to end on a (literal) upbeat - spoiling dramatic tension. I hate to criticise but the girlish breathiness just didn't do the story justice. The dragon conceit was interesting and world-building probably better than average.....but Seraphina's voice needs an impassioned dramatic resonance. Let's it down, sorry to say.