Seraphina

by Rachel Hartman

Doubleday Canada | July 10, 2012 | Kobo Edition (eBook)

Seraphina is rated 4.4615 out of 5 by 13.
A new vision of knights, dragons, and the fair maiden caught in between . . .
 
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.
 
Seraphina has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered. While a sinister plot to destroy the peace is uncovered, Seraphina struggles to protect the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance will make a magical, indelible impression on its readers.

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: July 10, 2012

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385668406

ISBN - 13: 9780385668408

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful debut read Seraphina is a half human, half dragon sixteen year old who lived in Goreddia. Humans must show their dragon counterparts that they’re superior so they tend to dominate over their scaley friends. The war has ceased, brought on by the Queen with a treaty. The Ardmagar makes the decisions for these dragons, and is basically in charge. Seraphina has these grotesque visions that haunt her, which she aptly give nicknames to. (I had an affinity to Fruit Bat!) As for the wonderful secondary characters I liked Glisselda immensely. Kind and friendly she always defended Seraphina and was loyal to her as any sister. Lucian Kiggs, Captain of the guard was just as wonderful. Good through and through, he did the moral thing in a world where deception was the norm. His friendship with Phina was cute and sweet, and you can tell why she likes him so much. In a novel, where world building is done well, and there are so many characters to keep track of, a list of character’s and who they are is extremly helpful. I took lots of time trying to memorize some characters names so I didn’t have to check it. Do I think dragons can be the next trend? Well maybe. It’s been trending for a long time and Seraphina’s dragons are the ferocious and vicious ones nightmares are made of. And I for one can’t wait until book two comes out so I can join her on her adventure. Beautifully written, Seraphina will whisk you away to a world where dragons are as ferocious as anyone thought they could be.
Date published: 2014-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Words cannot begin to explain such a splendid book When I first started reading this book, I was quite sceptical. I've always admired dragons and fantasies involving dragons, so starting off with this book I was confused. If you have a similar reaction, honestly, don't give up- keep reading. Rachel Hartman uses complex words(that if you don't understand, like myself, have a dictionary ready) and her own language describing dragons and the world around them. I was extremely confused for awhile, but after getting used to the language and words being used, I was wrapped around this book all day every day. I had to know what would happen next. I had to know how Seraphina's life would twist and turn and how it would eventually turn out. I'm hoping what I say next isn't a spoiler, so I will pre-warn just in case you do consider it a spoiler(my apologies!)... We learn from the beginning of the book that Seraphina is not normal. She had to keep this side a secret since she would be looked at as monstrous and probably put into jail for. Throughout the book, Seraphina slowly opens up and makes friends and eventually finds a lover through her adventure of self-discovery and acceptance. Seraphina struggles a battle against her own mind- a garden of grotesques- that end up meaning something more to her than just imaginary things. They enter her life and change it in such a positive and influential way. My words cannot put justice into such an intelligent and intriguing novel, honestly. If you're on the fence about reading this, please take my word for it(and everyone else's!!!). I'm stubborn and don't like trying new things, but I'm so glad that I delved into Seraphina's world and her mindset. I cannot wait to read the sequel!
Date published: 2014-10-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Complex and interesting fantasy (Actual rating: 3.5/5) Seraphina was one of those books that I had a lot of difficulty deciphering my feelings after reading. On the one hand, it was gorgeously written, featuring flawed but strong and willful characters, and had an interesting plot. It was driven for its 450 pages, interesting, but strange. I think that’s what put me off it when reading. It was just a little strange. There were so many different elements in it that my mind was whirling, and they were all very strange elements too. There were these weird smallish dragon creatures that made figurines out of metal with their mouths, but they were stinky. Then there was Seraphina’s memory garden where she tended her “grotesques” that she’d inherited from memories. There was this gargantuan bag-pipe-like instrument, strange dragon tendencies that seemed both logical (like they were supposed to be) and bestial at the same time, something I had a hard time grasping. There were crazy church people in this Catholic-like religion with very unfortunate saints, and then there were dragons that shape-shifted into humans thrown into all of this. As you can see, this book has a lot of interesting features, but they all didn’t work together for me. I kept getting distracted by these side elements, questioning if they were necessary. Maybe it was just the mood I was in, or maybe other people have picked up on this as well. Aside from that, I was in love with the characters (as usual). Seraphina has a very compelling voice, and while she was sometimes a one woman pity party, she went through a lot of inner turmoil and came through better for it (as usual), but in interesting ways. It wasn’t this SUDDEN realization like in most stories that they have to change, right at the climax, and be the super brave badass heroine. Seraphina slowly worked her way up to that point, which I thought was exquisitely done. I also loved Princess Glisselda as well. She was an upstart, a little too energetic and willful for her own good, but a perfect secondary character that complemented Seraphina’s own quiet and thoughtful nature. The romance elements was perfect. I don’t usually say that about romances in most books. Either they’re too thrown together or just this slow burn of staring at each other and dreaming about each other insta-lovey-dovey-ness. Ugh, it was just so good. I kept waiting, and there was the perfect amount of build-up, and then bad stuff happened, and then good stuff, and then bad-stuff. It was so great. The plot was a little shaky at times. I felt at some points information was being thrust at me, like “Hey you, reader, figure this out really quickly and then store that in the back of your memory until it’s brought up again 200 pages later!” Otherwise, it was pretty good! In the end, I really enjoyed Seraphina’s narrative, the romance, but sometimes there were so many different things going on that I couldn’t keep up. The writing was amazing, but the dragons were very strange…
Date published: 2013-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worth re-reading! The story world has a mediaeval European or British feel, with kingdoms, castles and knights. And dragons who can look like humans. The dragon/human war ended in a truce almost 40 years ago, but there’s still deep distrust between the two sides. As the anniversary celebrations approach, hostilities are increasing. Seraphina herself is a half-dragon, and that’s the source of her (and her father’s) shame. She looks human, except for a few scaly spots that she keeps hidden. She’s a biological impossibility, and an offense against both laws and morals. But the very things she thinks disqualify her from belonging may be the gifts she brings to keep the peace. This is one of those rare books that I wanted to read slowly to make the story last. The characters, setting and plot weave a rich and enjoyable tapestry. They feel real, despite being so clearly not of our world. This is a novel I will read again. Rachel Hartman has done a beautiful job of letting the characters struggle with issues many of us know intimately: belonging and truth. There’s no sense of a forced agenda or message-driven plot. The characters, especially Seraphina and Kiggs, live their questions in front of us, and we can relate.
Date published: 2013-06-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good read A different take on the dragon genre, I look forward to reading more in this series.
Date published: 2012-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from High fantasy at its finest If a book has dragons, it is pretty much a guarantee that I will be interested in it. Seraphina proved no exception. Not only is it a novel filled with dragons, it provides a whole new take on the fantastic creatures, ensuring that this is unlike any fantasy novel I've read before. Imagine a world where dragons can take the form of humans. Where they interact with us on a daily basis and are involved in all levels of society. Where they are no longer mysterious creatures that live far away in mountains and caves. Picture all that and you have an idea of what Rachel Hartman's debut fantasy novel is like. It's a fascinating look at these creatures from a whole new, uqniue and exciting angle. I really enjoyed learning more about the history of these particular dragons and watching them interact with humans and adapt to life within city walls. In addition to taking an old and established mythos and turning it on it's head, Rachel Hartman also gets an A+ for world building. An entire new world springs up within the pages of Seraphina. Not letting anything fall pray to unoriginality, Hartman creates an intricate religious system, a complex class hierarchy and a totally unique langauge. She then places a wealth of interesting characters in this setting and expertly guides them through a thrilling adventure. It is a recipe for a fantastic story and I am amazed at how well she pulls it off. Seraphina is an intelligent novel. It challenges idea about how society should function, ideas of class and power and how religion can be corrupted or used an excuse for unsavoury behaviour. If that wasn't enough the character of Seraphina is intelligent, resourceful and a quick thinker. She's often the one that saves the day or at the very least does what needs to be done. She's a fantastic female heroine and I can't wait to read more about her in the next book. Rachel Hartman is an unbelieavably talented writer. It's hard to believe Seraphina is her debut novel! I can't wait to read more from this fabulous new voice in the fantasy world. Final recommendation: A beautifully written fantasy novel that can easily be enjoyed by teen and adult readers. This and other reviews at Hooked on Books (http://christashookedonbooks.blogspot.com)
Date published: 2012-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Book to Treasure This is a book that should creak when it opens, because it exhales on every page and you find yourself sitting by a hearth fire as a fine old gentleman rubs his spectacles before he begins reading to you in the old way. And then his voice turns young again, like Wesley from Princess Bride and you are carried off to a place of adventure, your heart slowly stolen by character after character and your life a little bereft after you're done because this book has become a friend.
Date published: 2012-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Review of "Seraphina" “Looking into Kiggs eyes, though I felt a little reckless. No: a little breathless” Review originally posted in litupmyworld.wordpress.com "Save me a pavano." Seraphina by Rachel Hartman lives up to its hype and that’s an understatement. In fact, there will be no words to truly describe how beautiful ‘Seraphina’ is. As a teenager who aspires to become a successful and published author, I envy and idolize Rachel Hartman’s complex writing that immediately immerses the readers into the original world that she has created. The way Hartman’s passion for music played in the novel added a beautiful touch to the novel. Seraphina is half dragon and the plot revolves around attempting to unite two worlds: humans and dragons but at its heart, Seraphina is about a young girl who travels the path to acceptance and finding her strength within. Maybe that’s one of the major factors which makes Seraphina such a smashin’ success. The easy connection of readers to the protagonist, Seraphina: her struggles and her pathway to self-acceptance. “And that is when I know I will kiss him, and the very thought of it fills me with… well, it’s as if I have just solved Skivver’s predictive equations or, even better, as if I have intuited the One Equation, seen the numbers behind the moon and stars, behind mountains and history, art and death and yearning, as if my comprehension is large enough that it can encompass universes, from the beginning to the end of time." (My goodness, the beauty of that quotation) One of my favorite things about Seraphina is that it is not over-loaded with romantic notions. Don’t go me wrong; Seraphina’s tale will get you butterflies in the stomach! It’s just not centralized on the romance in contrast to other young adult novels. I found their romance level appropriate because the novel is still about accepting herself, not having a partner. "Sometimes the truth has difficulty breaching the city walls of our beliefs. A lie, dressed in the correct livery, passes through more easily." Hartman has such beautiful, lyrical writing that it literally leaves me wanting to cry– especially her beautiful poems for Seraphina’s songs! I felt Seraphina’s pain and it jabbed at my heart, especially at moments where she encounters her mother’s passed down memories—moreover, the memories that show how much her mother loved her father. Moments where Seraphina realizes that she is in love with Kiggs—to be completely honest, Seraphina is one of the only character who think to herself and I don’t find myself annoyed, in fact, I feel even more captivated. When she thinks about her mom, about being accepted for who she is, those moments where her heart flutters for Kiggs but Hartman composes that passage in such a vivid, heart-gripping way that I just feel my heart fluttering too! Especially when she realized she was in love with Kiggs. Oh my goodness. I could go on forever expressing the utmost beauty of this debut novel. "I became the very air; I was full of stars. I was the soaring spaces between the spires of the cathedral, the solemn breath of chimneys, a whispered prayer upon the winter wind. I was silence,and I was music, one clear transcendent chord rising toward Heaven. I believed, then, that I would have risen bodily into the sky but for the anchor of his hand in my hair and his round soft perfect mouth." In general, Rachel Hartman’s complex, lyrical and absolutely stunning debut novel will definitely take her places! Count me in in all Hartman’s future books! P.S. I’ve found reading the novel, in fact, difficult in the first two chapters because I was unaware with the Glossary and Cast of Characters at the back of the book because Seraphina immerses the readers right into the world. So make sure you check that out! My other favorite quotations: That’s the secret to performance: conviction. The right note played tentatively still misses its mark, but play boldly and no one will question you. If one believes there is truth in art – and I do – then it’s troubling how similar the skill of performing is to lying. Maybe lying is itself a kind of art. I think about that more than I should. He was adorable and he made me smile, but I couldn’t let him see. (*Seraphina, honey, I feel your pain!) What comes, comes. I have made my peace with the past and with the future. Do what you feel you must, and do not be afraid. Emotions are addictive! They have no meaning: they are antithetical to reason. They fly toward illogical, non-draconian moralities. Happy Reading Everyone! Much love, Michelle Twitter: @MichelleMags
Date published: 2012-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Review from Esther's Ever After 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.
Date published: 2012-08-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great debut! I've heard a lot of great things about Seraphina, so I decided that I needed to give it a try. Am I ever glad I did! I haven't really had much of a chance lately to read some regular old fantasy, but after reading Seraphina, I've realized how much I've missed it. Seraphina revolves around the upcoming anniversary of the treaty of peace between humans and dragons. All of a sudden the Prince has been murdered and it looks suspiciously like a dragon is the culprit. The protagonist of the story is Seraphina, a musician who works at court. She has a secret, she's half dragon, half human and nobody knows it, and she intends to keep it that way. She tries to blend in and be a nobody, but she still gains the friendship of the youngest Princess and her fiance, Prince Lucian Kiggs. Seraphina has so many secrets and is finding it hard to keep them all contained. She hides her scaly arm and waist beneath clothing, but how can she hide it forever. How can she keep lying to someone she loves. Seraphina is a very strong character, she has to be. If she lets anything slip, she could be killed for the abomination she is. She is adjusting to life at court and just trying to blend in, but her extraordinary musical gifts won't allow her to. She struggles to stay in the shadows, but when she uncovers a plot through her maternal memories, she has to help. The peace needs to be maintained and she might be the only one who can help figure out who is behind it. She struggles with her own emotions, knowing she's a monster and that no one will ever be with her. I felt so bad for her, always hiding herself and not letting herself feel any emotion. She is a great heroine and is incredibly brave. She puts everyone else before herself and I admire her for it. I really enjoyed reading Rachel Hartman's debut into YA. She has done a wonderful job creating a world of fantasy that the reader only wants more of. I know I will be eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. There was only one thing that bothered me, which is why I'm giving this one 4 owls. I know there are a lot of books that just throw you into the story, but for this one I found the beginning just a bit confusing and it took me a little bit to figure out what was going on. That might be my fault though for not reading the synopsis very well. I sort of just glanced at it. Once I managed to figure everything out, I couldn't put the book down and lost myself in the wonderful writing. This is definitely a debut you should read if you enjoy fantasy, or are even looking to try the genre. Rachel Hartman will be an author to watch out for in the future!
Date published: 2012-08-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great For Fantasy Readers ( The publisher provided a copy for review) (Originally posted in email for review) Seraphina is a story about a girl so full of conflict and confusion, she lives in a world where Dragons walk among humans and humans have distrust for the dragons. The best way to keep things in line is to have a treaty with the dragons and everything has gone relatively well except for some prejudice, until someone from the royal family is murdered and a dragon is the suspect of the deed. It's up to Seaphina to bring two worlds together to stop more murders from happening and to deal with her own dragon heritage along the way. I have to start off by saying that this was not a bad book but for the most part it's not the book for me because I am a total romance junky and I have not tapped in to high fantasy. But again this does not mean this book was bad, considering my likes and dislikes I did enjoy some aspects of this book, I have not read any books with dragons in them and thought the dragon lore was interesting and different. I thought the plot was very steady paced but a bit dry in parts, and the writing was very good, my only complaint for the writing is that at times it seemed a bit jumpy and I got lost. I thought Seraphina as our main character was great, she was very easy to connect to and her growth through the book was great, I think by the end of the story she really grew in to her own person. Orma to me was a very interesting character, he had this childlike quality to him one moment than the professor next. Prince Lucien took some time to warm up to but I enjoyed the relationship between him and Seraphina and how it developed throughout the story. I liked a lot of the other side characters as well, Rachel Hartman is very good at giving all of her characters different and distinct personalities. I have to say I am still very much on the fence about this book because again it wasn't a bad book and I think that for someone who reads high fantasy they would love it but for a person that reads more romance it's tough to really get in to the story. Overall I thought the book was good not great, I'm not sure if I would would read the sequel or not but i am happy that I gave the book a try, I would highly recommend this book to fantasy readers.
Date published: 2012-07-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from EXCELLENT! I'm going to start off my short and spoiler-free review on Seraphina with a very straight forward remark that I certainly hope you'll take to heart - If you don't buy this book and read it...you'll certainly grow to regret it! This gorgeously decorated recent release by Rachel Hartman is one novel that packs a punch in the most unexpected of ways. It was suspenseful, mysterious, intriguing, incredibly enticing, AND emotionally uplifting. Can you imagine that? All of that in ONE BOOK! Rachel Hartman is, without a doubt, an incredible talent. Kudos to the gal for writing this novel! Dragons - I flipping love them! With that, it's no secret or doubt that this particular number would wind up on my to read pile very quickly. Diving into Seraphina I was quickly introduced to exceptional writing and a character that I will without a doubt love for the rest of my life (maybe even beyond?) The world building in Seraphina was exquisitely unique, as were it's characters, who even at times left me puzzled but completely intrigued. Completely slow building, Seraphina, and it's protagonist of the same name, slowly pulled me in deeper into a world completely different than our own, one filled with magic, fantasy, dragons, and so much more. In addition, what guy or gal wouldn't love to read a novel with all of the above in addition to action, romance, and the darkest of secrets?! Seraphina was a wonderfully written and joyous ride, one that I highly recommend to lovers of dragons, fantasy, magic, and completely pulling stories. Part of a book club? Be sure to suggest Seraphina as your next read. It's guaranteed to enlighten the most stubborn and iffy of readers; the Cupcake Queen promises ;)
Date published: 2012-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from More Dragons! I have been reading dragon books for the better part of two decades now, and I thought I had seen it all. I had not. In SERAPHINA, Rachel Hartman went places with dragons that I never even imagined, and her human characters were just as wonderfully developed. I also very much enjoyed the roles that music, religion and love played in the story. Seraphina (the person) was an absolutely stunning heroine, Kiggs was a wonderful romantic foil, and Selda, well...you'll have to read about her for yourself! Suffice to say, very intelligent people working together will win me as a fan every time! I'm very excited that this is a series, and I can't wait to see what comes next!
Date published: 2012-07-11

– More About This Product –

Seraphina

by Rachel Hartman

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: July 10, 2012

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385668406

ISBN - 13: 9780385668408

From the Publisher

A new vision of knights, dragons, and the fair maiden caught in between . . .
 
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.
 
Seraphina has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered. While a sinister plot to destroy the peace is uncovered, Seraphina struggles to protect the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance will make a magical, indelible impression on its readers.
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