Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Lytherus book club: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, part 2

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First, let’s get all the feels on the table: I love this book so much. I think SERAPHINA is brilliantly written and the characters are wonderful. If you haven’t read it, and you love dragon-y things, don’t miss out, it’s wonderful.

Now, onto the second half! I’m going to just jump right into my summary. There was lots of crucial info that was dumped, so I tried the collect the most important points below:

  • on their way out to search, Kiggs and Seraphina find a dress hidden in a cave; speculate it’s a maid’s from meeting her lover.
  • they discover proof of a dragon via its toilet, and the dead uncle’s horse in there.
  • they visit the banished knights, who confirm the dragon was indeed Seraphina’s grandfather, and they show off their lost martial art of dragon-fighting.
  • on their way home the dragon in question reveals himself. She bluffs their way out of it (awesomely!), talking to him and making him think she was a full dragon.
  • She had called her uncle to come and help, which she denied, and Kiggs suspected her of lying to him. In all this madness they hug, and she realizes that she loves him.
  • The dragon leader learns of Seraphina’s existence and demands Orma return home and have his memories erased, or be killed. He says he’ll run before he’s to forget his sister and Seraphina.
  • Seraphina’s blasted into a memory of her mother’s where she overheard dragons talking treason, saying they were going to overthrow the dragon leader and break the peace treaty. One of them was Seraphina’s grandfather. We also learn these rogue dragons infiltrated the knights and caused their banishment.
  • Her boss, the music master, reveals that he knew who her mother was, that he invited her to study with him once he heard her play.
  • She’s tricked into the laundry where the older princess and Selda’s guardian cut her wrist to prove she’s a dragon. But her blood is red not silver, and she’s saved by dame okra.
  • The princess helps her change out of her bloody dress and sees the scales on her waist, but thinks its a chastity belt.
  • She meets with Orma to tell him about her new vision of treason from her mother’s memory, and they speculate that part of the plan was to eliminate the knights all together. They also speculate that it’s going to come to older generation of dragons against younger generations, wanters of war vs those raised with peace as the ideal.
  • They are busted by Basind, the dragon Orma was helping adjust to human life. He’s actually there to inspect Orma, to see if he’s been corrupted by emotions. He wants to take Orma away to have his memory cleaned, but Seraphina helps Orma escape before that happens.
  • While hiding in a church, she bumps into the Comonot, the leader of the dragons. While they talk someone tries to kill her, stabbing her in the back. Thankfully the dagger hits her scales. The Comonot interjects, killing the would-be assassin.
  • When Kiggs questions her later she confesses she knew the assassin. He threatened her previously when he saw her give to a poor quigutl (other dragon species) and get a talking quig toy in return, saying she was a sympathizer.
  • She talks to Comonot about her vision, trying to convince him. He doesn’t buy it. He also wants her to help him understand human emotions.
  • She then tries her luck with Kiggs and Selda. They don’t fully believe her theory that the evil dragon is hiding in plain sight as an Earl, but they agree to up his security at the ball. Seraphina also lines up the other half-dragons (there are three around besides her) to be on the watch.
  • She meets Abdo in person, finally. Yay!
  • The Comonot comments at the end of the evening, when it looks like they’re all in the clear, that Kiggs isn’t watching their royalty as closely as they are watching him. They get to his aunt, and she’s been poisoned.
  • Seraphina contacts the other half-dragons, and with the help of Dame Okra’s intuitive gut they find the queen and Selda in the tower. Everyone suspects it’s the Earl, but on impulse Kiggs sets off the quig toy, and the princess’s teacher, Lady Corongi, is the only one who stands, listening. This reveals her to be the hidden evil dragon, Seraphina’s grandfather. He escapes with Glisselda over his shoulder.
  • They follow, and Seraphina reveals her secret in front of her grandfather and friends to stall him till help comes, from both the half-dragons and her uncle, who she called with a secret device. But not before she kisses Kiggs impuslively, of course. They free the princess with the help of Abdo and Lars, and as Imlann turns to breathe fire at them Orma appears in dragon form and battles him in the skies.
  • There’s a dragon battle in the sky. Eventually others come to help and kill Imlann, but not before he hurts uncle Omar pretty severely. Abdo made it though, jumping to Omar from Imlann.
  • Seraphina, with the help of Lars, confirms her words as truth to Kiggs and Selda. She shows them her scales.
  • Days later there’s a meeting. The queen is dying from the poison, so Selda takes over. She also reveals a letter sent that confirms there are dragons who are starting a war to break up the peace. They all decide to go to war against these dragons to preserve the peace, ironically. They also decide that Seraphina will find the other half-dragons, because together she thinks they could be something formidable.
  • At the end she talks to Kiggs, and he confesses that he loves her too. But they decide to put it on the back burner till the war is over, and hope that Selda will release him from his obligation to marry her.

Man, those are a lot of points! But this part of the book was so rich with details that there was a lot I wanted to include. There are all the twists with the villain, the love story, the half-dragons, the uncle, the dragons, all of it. And even as I read it again I’m reminded about why I love this book so much. It’s complex, detailed, with a rich world around interesting characters. That’s sometimes a hard balance to find, and SERAPHINA definitely handles it well.

Now, on to the love story! I love that Kiggs loves her mind. That’s really prevelant throughout the story. He says at the end that, even through her lies he could see her heart and the truth of who she was in her soul. Vary rarely these days in YA are there romances that don’t focus on the hotness of the other person first. Theirs has always been a meeting of the minds, and it’s just perfect. And the connection they have with both being outsiders in their own way, it was inevitable that they’d find a connection with that. It seems like such a specific, unique sort of exclusion they both have experienced, and the struggles they have both had with it connected them together as friends. It’s pretty much perfection.

So. Going into SHADOW SCALE, we have a brewing dragon civil war. Selda is acting as queen. Orma is on the run from the censors trying to clear his memories. and Seraphina is going to find the others of her kind. I cannot wait to see what they are like, and how the beings in her mind connect with the real people.

Stay tuned for our coverage of SHADOW SCALE this week. And don’t forget, we’re interviewing Rachel super soon, so don’t forget to submit some questions! Is there anything you’ve ever wanted to ask a New York Times bestselling author about? Now’s your chance, don’t miss it!

 

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