Seraphina..... Man. What a book. How can I describe how I felt when I finished this book? It was intense. I ached for the next book to begin. I ached for the main character and where she was left. I ached and ached that there was not more yet. When I finish a series or a book I love, there is a hole inside me. This book left a hole. I will be waiting with baited breath for the next book to fill that hole. I will be terrified that it will not be as beautiful as this book. Gah. But until then, I will be thrilled with the story this book gave me.
The main character Seraphina is WONDERFUL. She isn't a Mary Sue, she doesn't fall for abuse-a-boyfriend, she isn't in insta love. She is smart, strong, and lovely. She has her own weakness that are real( not only, oh man, I'm so clumsy!) but they only make her a better character. She falls in love with a character that is ABSOLUTELY worthy of her love, and she does it in a way that makes sense. Their relationship made me happy, instead of wanting to beat my head against a wall.*SPOILER** [god it made me ache and sad too though, at the end. They are so wonderful, both of them, which is ALSO why I love this book so much, they are both so worthy]*END SPOILER**
The world building here is amazing. Hartman gives you enough to grow her world, but leave you wanting more as well. Everything is fully developed, but you know there is more she is going to unfold with her next book. The characters are so well fleshed out. I cared about them all, each one in Seraphina's head, each of her friends, her mentors, you have such an understanding of their characters.
The writing... The writing was amazing. Hartman weaves an amazing story with full characters, full worlds, full tension. I was on the edge of my seat for the entire story. I had to know what was going to happen, who was responsible for what, who was disguised as what, where things were, etc. Hartman is a pro, and the fact that this was a debut novel really surprised me. It shouldn't, obviously, as many debut authors are amazing, but this was truly a work of art in my opinion. I just loved it. I eagerly await the next in the series and anything else Hartman may write. I would kill someone for a copy of an ARC of the next book... Which I'm sure isn't done yet... But I'm just saying...