Seraphina (Seraphina Series #1)

Seraphina (Seraphina Series #1)

by Rachel Hartman


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Lyrical, imaginative, and wholly original, this New York Times bestseller with 8 starred reviews is not to be missed.  Rachel Hartman’s award-winning debut will have you looking at dragons as you’ve never imagined them before…

Seraphina is a half-dragon, descended from a dragon mother who took human form and a father who has no particular fondness for Seraphina’s kind.
Not that anyone else does either. Hers is a world where dragons and humans live and work side by side—but below the surface, tensions and hostilities are on the rise. Seraphina guards her true self with all of her being, but when a member of the royal family is brutally murdered, she’s suddenly thrust into the spotlight, drawn into the investigation alongside the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian.
As the two uncover a sinister plot to destroy the wavering peace of the kingdom, Seraphina’s struggle to protect her secret becomes increasingly difficult . . . and its discovery could mean her very life.
"Will appeal to both fans of Christopher Paolini’s Eragon series and Robin McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown."—Entertainment Weekly

“[A] lush, intricately plotted fantasy.”—The Washington Post

"Beautifully written. Some of the most interesting dragons I've read."—Christopher Paolini, New York Times bestselling author of Eragon

Meet Seraphina’s sister, Tess, in Rachel Hartman’s brand new fantasy adventure, Tess of the Road.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375866227
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 12/23/2014
Series: Seraphina Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 44,973
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile: 760L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

As a child, RACHEL HARTMAN played cello, lip-synched Mozart operas with her sisters, and fostered the deep love of music that inspired much of her award-winning debut novel, Seraphina. Born in Kentucky, Rachel has lived in Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, England, and Japan. She now lives with her family in Vancouver, Canada.  A New York Times bestseller, Seraphina won the William C. Morris Award, received eight starred reviews and was named to multiple “best of” lists. To learn more, please visit or

Read an Excerpt

"He was going to kill you," I said, my chin quivering.  "I had to do something."

Damn propriety.  Forgive me, St. Clare.  

I stepped forward and took him in my arms.  He was exactly my height, which surprised me; my awe of him had made him seem taller.  He emitted a whimper of protest, or maybe surprise, but wrapped his arms around me and buried his face in my hair, half weeping, half scolding me.

"Life is so short," I said, not sure why I was saying it, not even sure if that was really true for someone like me.

We were still standing there, clinging to each other, our feet ice-cold in the snow, when Orma landed on the next hilltop, followed closely by Basind.  Kiggs lifted his head and stared at them, big-eyed.  My heart fell.

I'd told him I had no devices.  I'd lied right to the prince's face, and here was the proof: the dragon I'd called, and his dimwitted sidekick.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

A New York Times Bestseller

An Indie Bestseller

An Amazon Top 20 Teen Book of the Year

A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book

A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of the Year

A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

A Library Journal Best Young Adult Literature for Adults Selection

A Booklist Editors' Choice

An ABA Top 10 Kids' Indie Next List Selection

An ABC New Voices Pick

A Publishers Weekly Flying Start Author

A Finalist for the William C. Morris Award for a YA Debut

Christopher Paolini, New York Times bestselling author of Eragon:
"Beautifully written, well-rounded characters, and some of the most interesting dragons I've read in fantasy for a long while. An impressive debut novel; I can't wait to see what Rachel Hartman writes next."

Naomi Novik, New York Times bestselling author of the Temeraire series:
"A book worth hoarding, as glittering and silver-bright as dragon scales, with a heroine who insists on carving herself a place in your mind."

Tamora Pierce, New York Times bestselling author of the Beka Cooper series:
"Seraphina is strong, complex, talented—she makes mistakes and struggles to trust, with good reason, and she fights to survive in a world that would tear her apart. I love this book!"

Alison Goodman, New York Times bestselling author of Eon and Eona:
"A wonderful mix of thrilling story, fascinating characters, and unique dragonlore. I loved being in Seraphina's world!"

Ellen Kushner, World Fantasy Award-winning author:
"Just when you thought there was nothing new to say about dragons, it turns out there is, and plenty! Rachel Hartman's rich invention never fails to impress—and to convince. It's smart and funny and original, and has characters I will follow to the ends of the earth."

The Washington Post, July 3, 2012:
“Full of grace and gravitas. Readers loath to turn the last page of this lush, intricately plotted fantasy will rejoice in the knowledge of next summer’s as-yet-untitled sequel.”

Entertainment, June 19, 2012:
"A novel that will appeal to both fans of Christopher Paolini’s Eragon series and Robin McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown.", September 21, 2012:

"Seraphina makes dragons fascinating once again.", June 19, 2012:
"A beautifully-written fantasy debut about a young girl's journey to gain acceptance of herself."

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2012:

“In Hartman’s splendid prose debut, humans and dragons—who can take human form but not human feeling—have lived in uneasy peace for 40 years.

The dragons could destroy the humans, but they are too fascinated by them. As musician Seraphina describes it, attempting to educate the princess, humans are like cockroaches to dragons, but interesting. As the anniversary of the treaty approaches, things fall apart: The crown prince has been murdered, anti-dragon sentiment is rising, and in the midst of it all, an awkward, gifted, observant girl unexpectedly becomes central to everything. Hartman has remixed her not-so-uncommon story and pseudo-Renaissance setting into something unexpected, in large part through Seraphina’s voice. By turns pedantic, lonely, scared, drily funny and fierce, Seraphina brings readers into her world and imparts details from the vast (a religion of saints, one of whom is heretical) to the minute (her music, in beautifully rendered detail). The wealth of detail never overwhelms, relayed as it is amid Seraphina’s personal journey; half-human and half-dragon, she is anathema to all and lives in fear. But her growing friendship with the princess and the princess’ betrothed, plus her unusual understanding of both humans and dragons, all lead to a poignant and powerful acceptance of herself.

Dragon books are common enough, but this one is head and talons above the rest."

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, June 6, 2012:
"In this complex, intrigue-laden fantasy, which establishes Hartman as an exciting new talent, readers are introduced to a world in which dragons and humans coexist in an uneasy truce, with dragons taking human form, dwelling among their former enemies, and abiding by a strict set of protocols. Sixteen-year-old Seraphina, assistant to the court composer, hides a secret that could have her ostracized or even killed: she’s half-dragon, against all rules and social codes. Along with the distinctive scales she keeps hidden, she has a mind filled with misshapen personalities whose nature she doesn’t quite grasp. As Seraphina navigates the complicated politics of a court where human-dragon relations are growing ever more fragile following a royal murder, she has to come to terms with her true nature and powers, the long-dormant memories her mother hid within her, and her growing affection for charming prince Lucian. There’s a lot to enjoy in Hartman’s debut, from the admirably resourceful heroine and intriguing spin on dragons to the intricately described medievalesque setting and emphasis on music and family."

Starred Review, Shelf Awareness, July 13, 2012:
"Rachel Hartman's captivating debut novel explores the pains 16-year-old Seraphina suffers as an outsider as well as the rewards of excelling in something she loves.

In medieval Lavondaville, an uneasy truce exists between dragons and humans. Narrator Seraphina is the product of a dragon mother and a human father. Dragons can disguise themselves as humans, so everyone believes Seraphina to be entirely human. Only when Seraphina's mother died in childbirth did Seraphina's father learn her true nature. Her mother left Seraphina a gift of "mind-pearls," memories triggered by specific events, and also her talent for music. Dragons are known for their technical skill, and that, together with the empathy Seraphina gained from her human father, makes her one of the finest musicians in the land. She has won a coveted position assisting the court composer.

After the death of Prince Rufus, in a manner suspiciously like a dragon's preferred means (decapitation), tensions run high between humans and dragons. Seraphina's position at court exposes her to aspects of both dragon and human societies. When she decides to trust Prince Lucian with her suspicions about Prince Rufus's killer, they embark on a journey that tests her loyalties and strength, and also awakens Seraphina's feelings for him.

In this first of two planned books, Hartman creates a world simultaneously strange and familiar. Her dragons are as magnetic as her human characters. Teens will readily identify with Seraphina's conflicting desires: to please her family or to make her own future."

Starred Review, Booklist, May 15, 2012:

"Hartman proves dragons are still fascinating in this impressive high fantasy. Equal parts political thriller, murder mystery, bittersweet romance, and coming-of-age story, this is an uncommonly good fantasy... An exciting new series to watch."

Starred Review, The Horn Book Magazine, July/August 2012:
“To the innovative concept and high action, add Seraphina’s tentative romance with Kiggs, rich language lively with humor and sprinkled with an entire psaltery of saints and an orchestra’s worth of medieval instruments, and a political conspiracy aimed at breaking the dragon-human truce, and what you have is an outstanding debut from author-to-watch Hartman.”

Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September 2012:
"The medieval-esque world, filled with saints and dragons, is as deftly crafted as the characters themselves; Goredd has a distinct history, fraught with struggle and survival, and its residents reflect the conflicting ideologies and traditions that inform their world. Seraphina’s voice—passionate, wry, and wise—easily conveys her internal battle as a half-breed: the nonchalance of her self-loathing makes her struggle for identity even more heartbreaking. Secondary characters are given just as much nuance, and the romance between Seraphina and a bastard prince proceeds with believable hesitation and wariness, given the complications it will bring to both their lives... Readers will want to plan to return to this richly developed world to see where this intricate fantasy goes next."

Starred Review, Voice of Youth Advocates:
"Reading this novel is like falling into Alice's rabbit hole and never wanting to come out. Fans of fantasy will devour this book, and with a little pushing, this novel could appeal to just about anyone who appreciates a fantastic read."

Starred Review, School Library Journal, August 1, 2012:
“Hartman creates a rich story layered with intriguing characters and descriptive settings. This unique novel will surely appeal to fans of Christopher Paolini's "Eragon" books and wherever readers enjoy fantasies.”

“[Hartman's] world-building is so detailed and well-integrated, one wonders if they truly exist somewhere. An engaging and innovative fantasy that uses the plights of dragons and humans as an allegory for the real prejudices we all must face.”

Customer Reviews

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Seraphina 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 122 reviews.
ValenSteel More than 1 year ago
Minimized for Length Requirment. Full Review @ thereadersheartstring . blogspot . com REview: Seraphina by debut author Rachel Hartman is an intricate tale filled with exquisite world-building, rich, lush characters and political drama that is a powerful match to the fantasy that readers will be expecting and will love. To be honest, the book had a rocky start for me, simply because not a lot was happening. The world was being introduced and set up as well as the many, many characters, the physical and the mentioned. It was just a lot to take it, a lot to remember and to try to understand, but once that happened and the main plot of the story was revealed, things really kicked in and I was able to enjoy the world, the characters and the writing. And did I enjoy!! This book was fantastic. It reminded of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, which I adore, in the sense that this was an alternate old timey reality that was mixed with odd technology, though the technology of Seraphina's world is a great deal simpler when compared to Lyra's world. Which brings me to our protag - Seraphina is the MC of this novel, which only makes sense since the novel is her namesake and she was, thankfully, a huge breathe of fresh air for the YA world. For those of you who are tired of love being the main point of your YA reads know this: this book is about love. It's about love for a mother, a father, a uncle, the people and one's self. Perhaps my favorite part of this novel was the writing, which did take a minute to get in to, but once I did, it just made everything richer. I loved the world and the complexities of the government, the religion and the characters. Hartman's writing style is very mature and complex for YA and based on that, I could have easily seen this book as a real treat for adults. It was just refreshing to see a really captivating and at times, challenging novel made for teens. Though I loved the writing style, things did get somewhat confusing. One moment we are in a memory that Seraphina is having and the next we are in present day . . . or so I think. Around one or two times, I was not sure if Seraphina was having a flashback or if the event that was occurring in the novel was actually happening at the present moment. I did a little rereading and was still, a tad confused, but it truly did not deter me from the story in the slightest. Like mentioned before, things did take a while to get in to and I read on due to my own stubbornness, which in the end paid off, but I'm not sure if everyone will do the same, which I hope they do, 'cus it is worth it. ~V
EverAfterEsther More than 1 year ago
Seraphina is a breathtakingly beautiful fantasy book. It simply sweeps you away into its own little world, and is a prime example of good fantasy. It's enchanting, reads like a dream, and leaves you pondering its story and characters after finishing it. I would say, however, to be cautious with what you expect with this one. It may not appeal to every reader right away, and takes some growing into. But it's well worth it for the experience, as it slowly grows on you and steals your heart. Reasons to Read: 1.A clever, intelligent heroine: One of my favourite things about Seraphina is that it features a heroine who's defining character traits include her cleverness and intelligence. There's so much more to her than just that, but it's clearly an integral part of her personality. And it completely shines through in everything she does - she's a little bit quirky, but totally brilliant. I love that we get to see a character like her, who is a bit socially awkward at times, but still fantastic in her own way. And the same thing goes for the love interest - we don't get constant descriptions of his eyes or body or overall good looks. 2.A mysterious plot, full of unexpected twists: I really thought I had figured the mystery out. I thought I had solved it not even halfway through the book and was less than enthused that the characters hadn't figured it out like I had yet. So imagine my surprise when I was wrong - totally, completely wrong. There are so many layers to the plot, it doesn't seem possible to guess it all in retrospect. And I was so caught off guard. But I LOVE it when I'm wrong and the book surprises me. 3.Bewitching secondary characters: I don't know how Rachel managed to do this, but she took cold, distant, emotionless characters (dragons) and somehow made them come to life. That's HARD to do, because of their (lack of) personality for the most part. But she succeeds. And not only that, but the rest of the cast of characters from Lars to Glisselda just lept off the pages for me. I couldn't get enough of Selda, and I was pleasantly surprised by how taken I was with her. 4.Rich details and complex storytelling: This is one area where I think some readers may have a harder time with the book and it can take a little bit of getting used to. The world Rachel created for Seraphina is vibrant, and overflowing with details. It really takes on a life of its own. I found the glossary and cast of characters in the back of the book to be indispensible while reading. But this is what made the world really come to life for me, and made me fall in love with the book. 5.Brilliant thinking: Seraphina is obviously intelligent. But I can tell that Rachel is, too. It takes a very thoughtful person to craft such a rich story, and I found myself questioning so many ideas and rethinking some standards I held to, and ultimately making comparisons to real life. I especially appreciated her twist on dragon mythology (nerd alert: I studied a little bit of this in some POLITICAL SCIENCE classes in university. I know, that sounds very odd, but it was incredible) and I could really tell that Rachel had researched this and had a solid background in it. Especially with the concept of hoarding. I LOVED that. That's not to say that I didn't have a hard time with it, because I was completely confused at certain times. The book is rather long for YA, and there are so many characters and words that I just wasn't familiar with so it took some getting used to. And there were a few instances where I found myself second-guessing my infatuation with Kiggs. He won me over, eventually, and I know it really wasn't fair of me to expect him not to struggle with a few things but I think I was really expecting better of him. And he did let me down once or twice, even though I know it's because he's flawed. Seraphina is just another reminder of why I adore fantasy - I love it to the moon and back. You have no idea what I'd do for more books like this one (good thing Rachel's working on a sequel)! E-galley received from Random House Canada for honest review; no other compensation was received.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This richly textured novel is not just for fantasy lovers and not just for teens. It is beautifully written, with a strong, intelligent, delightful heroine and a refreshing approach to dragons,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best dragon books I've ever read! Plot kept me guessing the whole time and I couldn't put it down!!!
booksatruestory More than 1 year ago
Seraphina starts of with a traditional medieval fantasy setting, including the rich backdrop of medieval music which I loved. There’s an entire mythology of Saints to this world, none of which are very saint-like and it made me laugh. The conflict was a typical one about the mistrust and prejudice between two races. But further along in the story the author developed it into something more. It became about the struggle between emotions and reason. The dragons felt like modern people sent back to the middle ages with their emphasis on science, reason, and invention. I’ve always wondered how people from the middle ages would clash with modern people and it was very interesting to read. The writing was beautiful and the pace was relaxed but still kept my interest. The story reminded me in an odd way of Jane Austen. There was a focus on propriety, lots of personal and political intrigue, a respectful mixing of the classes not to mention lots of balls and dancing. Overall, it kept the spirit and style of traditional fantasy with just enough slight twists to keep it fresh. By far the most interesting and creative aspect of the whole book was the character Seraphina herself. It was an enjoyable read and the index in the back had my Google-loving self smiling with glee.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Luv it times a million and fourty three plus one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
StephBookworm More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
you should definately read this book. i couldn't put it down. i can't wait for the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I finish a book and go right back to the begnning to re-read, it HAS to be a good book! Amazingly, I found it better the second time around.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fantastic read!
Paper_Dreams on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had not heard much about Seraphina prior to receiving an offer to review it. Before I accept or reject any review request, I do a little research on the book and/or its author. During that process I read some very good reviews, so I decided to give this a chance. I am still somewhat torn on how I feel about this book as a whole, but I do think that I enjoyed it by the end. Seraphina was a compelling character from the beginning. She¿s a gifted musician and part dragon. I enjoyed coming to know her; she is such a wonderfully complex character. At times she comes across as fragile, but then she is also so headstrong and tough. Lucian was a perfect hero. Chivalrous, entertaining, and an outsider in his own right, readers will be swooning over him in no time. Surprisingly, my favorite character was Glisselda. I admired her pluck and optimistic nature. At the onset of the story she comes across as a careless, carefree girl, but by the end she has become such a strong woman. One of the complaints against this book is that it can be confusing and lacks action. I will agree to an extent. The world-building is not as strong as it could be. The history and mythology of the dragons was probably the best example of this. It took quite a while before I felt like I actually understood the setting of the story and the dragon¿s role in it. The lacking action element is somewhat less true. Towards the start of the story, there are moments when the book starts to drag, but it definitely comes into its own about part way through. Overall, I thought this was an interesting, solid start to a fantasy series. The plot and writing have quite a bit of potential, and I will be looking forward to see what happens next. Between the wonderful romance and the potentially heart wrenching friendship between Glisselda, Lucian, and this is a book that fantasy and romance fans should both find something to enjoy. I would definitely recommend this to fans of Christopher Paolini or Kristin Cashore will probably enjoy this.
thenightbookmobile on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿I remember being born, in fact, I remember a time before that. There was no light, but there was music: joints creaking, blood rushing, the heart¿s staccato lullaby, a rich symphony of indigestion. Sound enfolded me, and I was safe. Then my world split open, and I was thrust into a cold and silent brightness. I tried to fill the emptiness with my screams, but the space was too vast. I raged, but there was no going back.¿ [ARC]Rachel Hartman has come into the fantasy genre with a beautiful debut, a book filled with lovely paragraphs such as the one above, and intricate but enjoyable world building. She takes a different approach to dragons; the dragons shift into human form but mostly remain emotionally detached and incredibly intellectual. This idea pays off and creates a very interesting dynamic between humans and dragons that I really enjoyed reading about.One of the most heartwarming relationships between dragon and someone with human emotions in the novel is between Seraphina and Orma. I really loved watching how they navigated their bond to each other, as Orma struggled with acting more like a human companion, and Seraphina attempted to learn how to accept loving someone who didn¿t know how to love her back in ways she could understand. A struggle for Seraphina was to learn to accept that she loved and was bonded to someone who could not legally show affection for her without the threat of having his memories erased.¿What if our mothers were not the fools we had taken them for? What was love really worth? A hundred thousand wars?¿ [ARC]Seraphina¿s own personal journey was an emotional one. I think most of us can relate to having a part of ourselves that we are afraid for people to see. She reminded me of one of my favorite literary characters, Fire, and her occasional hatred for the monster that she was. There is also a moment that touches on self-harm that I thought was nice to include, especially since this is being marketed as a YA novel, and I know it is a subject that a lot of teens deal with.That being said, I¿m not really sure why this is being marketed as YA. The only part of the novel that strikes me as YA at all is the romance, and that¿s not a very large part of the book. I¿m not sure how much the politics will appeal to most younger readers, or how many of them will take the time to deal with a slew of made up words, and the more advanced language used throughout the novel. I would hate to see adult readers who don¿t typically read YA but are fantasy fans miss out on the story because of how it is marketed or the smaller YA elements.I¿d be remiss if I didn¿t mention my absolute favorite part of this novel: Seraphina¿s garden of grotesques inside of her mind and the role they end up playing in the story. They gave the book something extra and completely original that I loved. I can¿t wait to meet more of the characters from the garden. Another favorite of mine in this story was Hartman¿s descriptions of Seraphina¿s music. You can tell that Hartman is a lover and player of music herself because the descriptions are incredibly intimate and lovely.Definitely a book worth checking out if you¿re a lover of fantasy.An Egalley was provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
sszkutak on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Background: In the kingdom of Goredd, humans and dragons live together, however they are not necessarily the best of friends. For 40 years, they have lived together under a treaty of no war between the races.In this tale Seraphina Dombegh is unique; she has a secret which places her in both worlds, only she cannot let on to anyone, especially her employer in the castle. Through the story Seraphina comes to learn about herself and her past, as well as her mother¿s past; all while trying to solve the mystery of who is out to murder the Dragon general and destroy the treaty and peace.Review: This was a great read. Dragons and a mystery, really could anyone go wrong? I felt that the beginning of this story moved a little slowly but the redeeming factor was that the environments are wonderful to picture. Hartman paints a beautiful picture with her writing, the characters and towns are drawn up for you in a wonderful manner. Every detail is explained and there is even a list of characters for the lost in the back of the book (there were quite a few). Also, our heroine, Seraphina is a captivating character and I loved her every step of the way. I think that Hartman did a wonderful job combining mystery and fantasy with this tale, and that Seraphina is a very strong woman that others in literature should look up to.
les121 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I adored this book! It¿s creative, intelligent, emotional, and gripping, and Phina is a wonderful heroine. Everything is beautifully done, from the writing, to the worldbuilding, to the supporting characters, and it has just the right blend of mystery, magic, politics, and romance. This is young adult fantasy done right. I highly recommend it.
titania86 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Kingdom of Goredd was once at war with dragons, but a treaty was forged between them to keep the peace. Dragons now take human form to be part of human society where they can make advances in the fields of math and science. Many humans still hate dragons and condemn the treaty as folly. Conflicts between humans and dragons are increasing and becoming more dangerous as the fortieth anniversary of the treaty nears. Seraphina Dombegh is an incredibly talented musician who works to hide the true extent of her talent. She wants attention as far away from her as possible because she is half dragon and half human. Recently hired as a court musician and apprentice to the court composer, she arrives on the scene just in time for a member of the royal family to be murdered in a suspiciously draconian manner: beheaded and the head missing. Seraphina stumbles upon the investigation when she observes suspicious behavior and wants to uncover the truth that may be tied to her own draconian family. Paired with the captain of the Queen's guard, Lucian Kiggs, she will try to solve this mystery while protecting her own secrets before the treaty is completely shattered and the humans and dragons declare war in earnest.I was interested in reading this book mostly because of the different take on dragons and the inclusion of music. I am so impressed with Seraphina. Rachel Hartman's sentient and insanely logical dragons are so intriguing and different than any portrayal I had seen before. They abhor emotion and irrationality, kind of like extreme Vulcans, but are more susceptible to both in human form. Their society even go so far as to mandate brain surgeries for those too compromised by either. These cold and intellectual creatures hold science and mathematics in the highest regard. If they attempt to play music, which is possible since it is simple mathematics at its core, they lack the emotion to give it any sort of expression. Music played a large part in the novel and I couldn't be happier about it. A lot of YA novels have music in their descriptions or a character plays an instrument, but many times, this aspect is either downplayed more than I thought it would be or completely forgotten. (I'm looking at you, Hush, Hush.) In this book, music serves as a plot device, furthering character development, and making the book simply enjoyable to read. Rachel Hartman's descriptions of music is beautiful and sensory. I wish there was a companion music album to the novel to get an idea of what the music would sound like.The world building is magnificent in this book, but the characters are what kept me reading. Seraphina is a rare female character in YA literature. It is so refreshing to see a YA heroine who is logical and not irrationally led by her feelings to do really stupid things. Her powers of perception and deduction are impressive and, paired with her good judgment and sense, they allow her to methodically find out what really happened. Unfortunately, she has to lie a lot to keep her parentage and half dragon state a secret, which gets in the way of her investigation and distances her from others. There is a small romance subplot, but it doesn't distract from the main plot and it doesn't turn Seraphina into a blithering, brainless idiot. It was also sweet and gave Seraphina a softer side without completely destroying the strong person she is. The minor characters are just as good and well written, particularly Loud Lad and Orma, her dragon uncle. Every time I picked up Seraphina, I was insanely happy being immersed into this wondrous world. I wanted to prolong the reading as much as possible because I know I'll have to wait a while for the next book. This is by far the most unique and well written fantasy book I have read all year that included discussion on philosophy, art, music, dance, emotion, logic, bigotry, and love. There aren't enough stars to show how much I love it. Highly recommended for lovers of dragon tales and epic fantasy.
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The fortieth anniversary of an uneasy peace treaty between humans and dragons is approaching, and tensions are high as the kingdom of Goredd prepares for the arrival of the dragon leader. Even in their human shape, the dragons stand out in court, and the humans find it difficult to treat them with ease and respect.In the midst of the racketed tensions, newly appointed court music master¿s assistant Seraphina Dombegh struggles to main aloof in order to hide her terrible secret: she is half dragon, and if anyone found out. But it gets harder and harder for Seraphina to stay apathetic as she gets to know the royal family and discovers a shocking personal connection to a long-brewing plot to destroy the peace treaty.High fantasy is my favorite genre, but it doesn¿t mean that I¿m an easy customer. It takes a lot for a fantasy to become a favorite of mine: in addition to nearly impeccable world-building, it also has to have empathic characters and enough action to satisfy the baser part of me. I had heard positive things about SERAPHINA before I was finally able to read it, but rave reviews often make me wary, worried that the book will never live up to the reviews¿ promises. Happily, for me and the whole world, SERAPHINA is worthy of its high praise. Rachel Hartman writes with a sureness of hand and mind that sweeps readers into Seraphina¿s complex and fascinating world.In SERAPHINA, dragons and humans have made an uneasy peace treaty, but the social tensions are still apparent and painfully recognizable in its similarities to the prejudices that minority groups in our world still suffer. I love that ¿real¿ aspect of the book, and feel that the countless instances of anti-dragon sentiment in SERAPHINA are authentic as a result.The social tensions aren¿t the only thing that make SERAPHINA¿s world-building so astounding. It¿s clear that Rachel Hartman did research on her Medieval-inspired fantasy world, from the clothing to the instruments to the layout of court (physical and human). If an aspiring cable TV channel *cough HBO and Game of Thrones crew cough* were to consider adapting this story, they would have plenty to go off of.Splendid world-building by itself isn¿t enough to get me to love a fantasy, and that¿s where SERAPHINA¿s wonderful characters come in. Seraphina, Seraphina, you amazing protagonist. You¿ve had such a rough life and it in no way is going to get easier after the events of this book, and yet you handle it with an aplomb that those twice your age cannot often claim as their own. Seraphina¿s personality is the direct product of her difficult and isolated childhood, but it does not weigh her or the story down. The girl is resilient, ethical, intelligent, and determined¿and she is not the only awesome character. Supporting characters are allowed a full range of thoughts and reactions, so that where we think we¿ll find potentially stereotypical character roles¿in the spoiled princess, or the love triangle¿we instead find refreshment.Debut authors like Rachel Hartman show me that literary talent is not in danger of being swamped by the mediocre hype-fueled masses. Hartman has the detail-oriented skills to be a fixture in the fantasy genre, and the understanding of human beings and society to make her mark in any other genre she¿s interested in dabbling in. SERAPHINA was a heck of a debut, one that I sincerely hope marks the very beginning of a long and beautiful writing career.
Kskye on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
High Fantasy! I went on this kick last year trying to find recent YA, high fantasy books, and it was much harder than I thought. Sometimes with high-fantasy I feel the book can drag on and on, but I didn¿t feel that way with this book. Also as a plus there wasn¿t an abundance of fight scenes or dream sequences that I usually associate with them. It is also neat that Seraphina is a musician and assistant to the court composer.As for the world building there are a lot of customs and philosophers that are mentioned that just add to the book. It¿s pretty cool when people ask who your psalter saint is, but what would you do if your psalter saint was a heretic? Another thing was that it would be best if you kept a dictionary near you while reading. Can you tell me what perspicacity means? I didn¿t know and had to look it up, among other words¿but that¿s good, right?If you are a fan of the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey you might like Seraphina. It mostly reminded me of the same spirit as Dragonsong and Dragonsinger though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I will begin by saying I love the concept of this story! Her portrayal of dragons was extremely interesting and different. I loved the idea of the half breed main character, but just could not get into this book. I must be a dragon, because while reading this story, I felt nothing. After reading this entire book I feel as though I do not know any of the characters. I feel there were hardly any descriptions of the characters so it was hard to envision their personality and their physical self. Yet at the same time there were many descriptions that did me no use and just bored me throughout the book. I really wish I loved this book because I am so in love with the plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a fantastic, deep, lavish dragon story. I loved every second!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Entertaining read
Samantha Meehan More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this from the first page to the last word.
Cornreviewsbooks More than 1 year ago
I love this book! I mean there’s dragons in it who doesn’t love dragons especially dragons that are this cool there needs to be more YA books about dragons. There’s also cool well developed side characters whom I ’m exited to see more of in the next book, Seraphina is a wonderful heroine, the world is classic fantasy with an extremely interesting and unique twist and my favorite thing about this book. I have a few problems mostly with the beginning it isn’t as well written or paced as the rest of the book and it does take a few chapters to get into the story its just not the best introduction to the story or the world it feels like your thrown into everything, other then the first few chapters the book is great I even liked the romance and Ive been very picky about romances lately but this one wasn’t so cliche and there was no insta love. I normally have trouble getting through high fantasy but while this took me awhile to read it wasn’t to long, and it wasn’t as slow as most high fantasy’s . This book is amazing overall the next one was set up wonderfully and should be even better.
pooled_ink More than 1 year ago
pooled ink Reviews: Finally a book with a strong female character with realistic and not blubbering or irritating self-confidence issues and who can save the kingdom without relying on a man to help her do so. Also, the kingdom is being saved not for personal safety or selfish reasons but because peace is truly desired and the will to do what is right guides these characters over all. I loved the romance element and how it was subtle but true rather than making the book some silly gushy romance and make saving the kingdom second on their list of things to do. I love how Kiggs keeps honor first and how it is this that makes him such a desirable character. I love the development of Orma and Seraphina's father. I absolutely love the dragons and humans and the realistic conflicts of their combination. Rachel Hartman displayed extensive creativity to such detail that one almost has to believe this world really existed. I'm left extremely curious to learn even more about these dragons! I appreciate how Hartman included and interwove religion throughout the book because it factually is such an important characteristic of the time period. As a musician all of the musical elements were highly appreciated and I only wish I could listen to it all in this world and not just some half melody I create in my head as I read along. Very well written and highly intriguing. I cannot wait to save up to buy the next book and find out what will happen next! Read my FULL review here:
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
Seraphina (Seraphina, #1) by Rachel Hartman (Goodreads Author) Having read the next book in the series, I felt I needed to read the first. It was well worth the wait... Seraphina is a great doorway into an exciting Young Adult reading world. Seraphina is a young girl with a secret. Her whole life has been devoted to keeping the secret. yet it is her talent, devotion and love that not only embody her but give her meaning in life. This is an amazing look at the nature of self acceptance and the prejudices of society.