Saturday, July 28, 2012

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

First published by Random House, 2012

Seraphina is a gorgeous book. It has great complexity and luscious detail. The emotion is genuine and the characters are at the same time wonderfully eccentric and empathetic.  The world of Goredd is creative and interesting, and best of all, there are so many places it can be taken with future books.
In the realm of Goredd, a fragile peace has been achieved between humans and dragons. But the truce is shattered when a royal prince is brutally murdered. Our heroine, Seraphina, is drawn into the investigation and as she begins to uncover the dark comings and goings of the royal court, so too are her own secrets put at great peril. Seraphina does have a lot in common with other dragon-fantasy epics such as Eragon or an Anne McCaffrey or Robin Hobb. But the voice is wonderfully youthful and fresh and the dragon mythology completely original.
Rachel Hartman’s world is complex and I found early on I did have to persist. But, as is the way with most fantasy epics, all the different plot points and parts come together and the story starts picking up pace once the world has been adequately set up. Best of all, you become emotionally invested in the characters and want to see them through to the end.
Hartman has created some wonderful characters in Seraphina. Our heroine, Seraphina, is just the right mix of snarky, brave and vulnerable. She is smart, she takes action, nothing about her feels forced or put upon. The ‘love interest’ Kiggs also has many admirable qualities (and a dash of winning humour) that make him worthy of Seraphina. Secondary characters, such as Glisselda, Orma and Comonot, are the exact opposite of one-dimensional – there is so much going on with them and they support Seraphina wonderfully as characters.
The detail that Hartman puts into describing the court, the city, the mythology, and even the music, is opulent, and although there is a lot of it, it is the kind of intelligent detail that makes a book a classic. I really hope this series picks up as new books are released, because it really is wonderful writing and a rewarding, immersive world.
I thought Seraphina was absolutely fantastic. I loved everything about it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

What the Raven Saw cover

I apologise for my slackness in posting. I have just spent a very busy month doing writing and theatre-ish things and also moving house and now, at the moment, doing the final edits for my own children's novel What the Raven Saw.

I will be writing a lot more about What the Raven Saw soon, as it gets closer to publication on February next year.

But in the meantime just now I came across these lovely and exciting posts from Tony Flowers, who is doing the illustrations for the cover of my book. He has been making paper bird models which will then be integrated into the cover. I feel so honoured when I see all the work that has been going just into the cover of my book, and it makes me very excited for it to finally be out. I can't wait to have What the Raven Saw out into the world.

Here are links to the posts of his work so far - he is such a lovely and talented guy and I hope you enjoy.

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