Author: Rachel Hartman
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Length: 608 pages
Seraphina took the literary world by storm with 8 starred reviews and numerous “Best of” lists. At last, her eagerly awaited sequel has arrived—and with it comes an epic battle between humans and dragons.
The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.
As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?
Protagonist: Seraphina no longer had to hide her half-dragon self from the world. While there are still those who will hate her for simply being who and what she is, she no longer feels the need to hide herself away. In this installment most if not all of Seraphina's development is her own mental abilities, as well as trying to figure out the best way to broker peace between the vastly growing fronts. Once again I was swept up by Seraphina's narration and sense of character, as well as her growth and development over this massive beast of a book.
Romance: There is once again very little to no romance in this book. In fact Kiggs, Seraphina's love interest plays an even smaller part than he did in the first installment. This left a whole lot of room left to expand and really elevate the story to a whole new level. There is some romance in the beginning, middle, and end of this book however, and I have to say that the end is where things get bizarre. So I obviously won't say how it ends, but I will say that in all the ways I saw this book ending romantically, even with the few new ways I thought of as the story unfolded, I never expected it to end the way it did, I'm not too sure how I feel about it other than I'm okay with it.
World-Building: There is a lot expanded on in this sequel. This world that the author has created is so vast and intricate that the little bit seen in the first installment is merely the tip of the iceberg. In this second (and final?) installment there is so much more to discover. Seraphina will travel across the Southlands and it's very apparent that each country she visits has a certain set of customs, religious beliefs, manners, and language. It was spectacular how detailed and unique each part of this world was. Then there were the characters, certain characters that had only been hinted at, seen in Seraphina's garden, or only played a small role in the first story come back to play a much larger, and in some cases, more devious role. I was really surprised with all the reveals and how certain characters played into the story.
Predictability: So for the most part I knew where this book was going, however it wasn't abundantly predictable. It was more like I knew, in a vague way, which way the story would flow. It was easy to see what would happen, but the why and how were, most of the time, very surprising and shocking. Most of the twists I could guess right before they were revealed, though there were a few that came, seemingly, out of nowhere.
Ending: So I had heard that this might be a duology, and for the most part the end of this book supports that. For the most part everything is wrapped up and all of the little strings left hanging were tied up beautifully. However, it wasn't until the epilogue that I had a feeling that there may have been some doubt as to whether there is more to this story or not. While the story ends on a hopeful note for one character, without that certainty I'm kind of going crazy. While I don't see much left to make an entire sequel out of, I do hope that the author will at the very least write a novella that neatly ties up that dangling thread, or at the very least don't leave the future so vague and hazy.
This was really no surprise to me. I was happy that I reread Seraphina (review coming Wed.) before starting this book as there's a lot that I forgot or mis-remembered and while this book does a sufficient job of summing up the first installment, there's nothing like experiencing the real this first hand.