Lately winter has been exceptionally windy and cold, perfect weather for squirreling away with a few books and a cup of tea.
Today I am reporting on my first book for our Reading Challenge. I have completed Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. I told you there were dragons and so there were. Dragons as dragons in all their winged glory, and also dragons who can shrink themselves into human form. Seraphina is the daughter of a human male and a female dragon who lived much of her life as human. However, Seraphina believed that she was the only one and hid the scales that went around her waist and down one arm. She was afraid of what might happen if anyone knew. She was an amazing musician and could enthrall her audiences when she performed. But there another part of her that she didn’t know how to live with. She was haunted by visions of other people, and memories from her mother who had died when she was very young. In her visions she saw people similar to herself. Were they real? Did she want these visions breaking into her daily world? Could she stop them? Did she want to? Her world is on the brink of a war between human and dragon. She has been engaged by the royal family to help find information about others like herself. Maybe they could be of help in stopping a war.
Seraphina’s experiences can provide a glimpse into someone’s world when they different from everyone else. She experiences both prejudice and acceptance. She needs to find a way to view herself as a whole instead of 2 different selves. Her adventures are heroic, and she grows into new courage and confidence. She is required to accept and believe new ideas and concepts which will open her mind allow her to use her full capabilities.
It is a great adventure story, and some of my preconceived notions of dragons were turned on end in a most imaginative way. I thoroughly enjoyed Seraphina so much, that I have just finished reading the second book that completes the story – Shadow Scale. I highly recommend both books.
I decided I'd tackle the reading challenge too, and I chose to start with YA as well, though it's not much of a deviation for me. I enjoy the dystopian genre so I picked up The Selection by Kiera Cass and somehow lost a day of my life. I read it within 24 hours, which means if nothing else it was highly entertaining. The book follows a girl chosen to participate in "the selection", a process where the prince tries to find his princess through the romantic magic of reality TV. It had all the cheesy YA dystopian tropes I know and love (but done well), plus the additional bonus of the reality TV angle (though they clearly don't take their reality TV as seriously in this dystopian world, the cameras managed to miss all the juicy stuff). It was enjoyable, but the story felt shallow. I got to the end and it didn't feel like an ending at all. So many things were just hinted at, they weren't even explored enough to be called a sub plot, and the end was anti-climatic. I know elements will be expanded on in the next books, I just didn't feel like enough of the ground work was laid in this first book. I'll pick up the next book (or as I will call it, the rest of the first book) because I'm a sucker for these things, and I want to see how this pans out.
Reading YA wasn't outside of my comfort zone, so it was nice to start of easy. Some of the other categories will expand my horizons differently.