Seraphina (Seraphina, #1)

Seraphina (Seraphina, #1) - Rachel Hartman Mixed opinion on that one.

Gorgeous cover, for starters. Also, pleasant writing, more sophisticated than what is usually found in books intended for the targetted audience (while this might be a bad point for some, I had no difficulty with the vocabulary, and enjoyed the use of less common words for a change).

Rachel Hartman created a world that quickly caught my interest. Among other things: dragons who can take on a human shape in order to understand humans and uphold a decades-old peace treaty, yet are alien to "emotions", and even fearful of them; zealots on both sides of the fence, who would like nothing more than to see the treaty gone; knights who're the only ones left with the knowledge of how to fight dragons. Moreover, I was quite fond of some of the secondary characters. Orma was interesting to read about. Abdo and Lars were definitely of the nice kind. Dame Okra and her reactions often made me smile. Glisselda was a pretty positive character, with a strong streak and appropriate reactions.

Alas, I wasn't so thrilled about the main characters, who fell too flat in comparison. Seraphina could have been much more interesting if her reactions had made more sense; for instance, she spent her whole life hiding who she was, going on with a well-established daily routine, but then throws herself head first into the investigation (I wanted to tell her "Well, do you want to be noticed, yes or no? Because you can't have both."). The prince, well... Nice, but nothing to write home about.

The pacing itself was a problem. The first part of the book dragged for a little too long, before things started to pick up, and I also think that the end dragged as well, considering what it dealt with. In my opinion, it should've ended sooner, instead of on the love-relationship part. And here's another problem for me: the romance. Seriously, why, why does it always have to be about romance and love triangles nowadays? The story would've worked exactly the same way, with the same things at stake (being accepted for who one really is, fear of rejection, etc.) had Seraphina found a *friend* in Lucian, and not a *love interest* (which, by the way, came out of the blue). It doesn't help that said love triangle is a bit on the twisted side, going as it is behind Glisselda's back.

Overall, a pleasant enough read, but that would've been better for me without the romance (which felt forced) and with more punch and logics added to the main characters.