by Rachel Hartman


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Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

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: 9780375866562
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 07/10/2012
Series: Seraphina Series , #1
Pages: 512
Product dimensions: 5.84(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.54(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.


Excerpted from "Seraphina"
by .
Copyright © 2012 Rachel Hartman.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Children's Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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.”

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Seraphina 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 113 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 10 months 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.
vampiregrl123 More than 1 year ago
I was required to read this class for a young adult literature class I took this semester. When I first picked up Seraphina I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it. I had seen it on bookshelves at different stores and would pick it up and look at it, but I always put it back and went for a different choice. I’m really glad Seraphina was a book choice for my class. I have found myself reading quite a few fantasy books lately. What drew me into Seraphina, besides the fact I had to read it for class, were Dragons. I have always had a fascination with these mythical (?) creatures. I like Seraphina’s character, particularly the idea of her being a half breed (half human-half dragon). As far as the storyline goes, I enjoyed everything except or the sort-of love story blooming between Seraphina and Kiggs. I felt like it was rushed and came out of nowhere. It needed more time to develop. They went from just being friends one second to saying “I love you” without any real clues in the story that this was going to happen. I am hoping that this aspect of the story is developed better in the second book. Overall, I enjoyed the story. If you are a fan of the fantasy genre or dragons I highly recommend this book.
debwill74 More than 1 year ago
Judging by the chapter sample of Seraphina by Rachel Hartman this is a beautifully crafted book. Serafina is hiding a deep secret, she is a dragon hiding in the human world. I received this from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
SecondRunReviews More than 1 year ago
I have been mesmerized by Seraphina since I first read it in 2013. It was one of my favorite books that year. The next book in the series, Shadow Scale released this year and I was lucky enough to get approved (just days before the released date) on NetGalley. I was concerned, after slogging through Clariel, that my memory had faded and I wanted to re-read Seraphina before tackling Shadow Scale. But that’s a tough battle for many readers…why re-read when there are so many other unread books begging to be read? Amazingly enough, my library just happened to have an audiobook copy of Seraphina and I took advantage of my new found love for re-reading via audiobooks. The audiobook sucked me into the Seraphina’s world once again. I was dazzled by the uniqueness of Goredd and all its inhabitants—humans and dragons alike. Seraphina’s world of music seemed more alive to me this time because the narrator actually sang the songs! I love music. I collect movie soundtracks and cast recordings. So to actually HEAR “Peaches and Cheese” and Lin and Claude’s love long made my heart soar. For those that have read the book, Seraphina is gifted with maternal memories—visions of her mother’s life. In the physical book, the maternal memories are denoted by a break and the text is italicized. In the book, another narrator fills in for Lin. A sterner, more mature, less emotional voice that is full of longing and regret. While these memories seemed to pop up a the most importune times for Seraphina, as a reader, I looked forward to them as I picked up on subtle hints regarding Lin’s life and the political intrigue that I had missed when I raced through the book a couple years ago. I think I identified more with Seraphina’s dual life on my first read through; ignoring Lin’s struggle, Claude’s fears and Kiggs’s devotion. On this second read through, I saw how Seraphina’s life paralleled her mother’s and father’s and how it diverged because of her courage. And as seems to happen every time I pick up an audiobook of a physical book I have already read, my physical copy is now dotted with post-it note flags marking my favorite passages and quotes. I can’t decide if this is happening because my ear picks up on words/phrases that are emphasized by the narrator or if I’m more willing to “mark-up” my books now that I’m actively sharing my thoughts about them online. I am certainly looking forward to reading Shadow Scale soon. Now that I have familiarized myself with Seraphina’s world again, I look forward to her adventures as she searches for others like her and fights to save her country from war. I’m happy that Seraphina maintained its status as one of the most unique fantasy novels that I have read and listened to.
CJListro More than 1 year ago
Read more: 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 Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life. In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page. the basics When I say that I rank Seraphina among Howl's Moving Castle and Tamora Pierce's Tortall books, I don't say it lightly. It's a rare fantasy these days that can capture the innocence and wonder of those books. Not to say that Seraphina is naive. Far from it. Rather, it shares the timeless quality of those books, an atmosphere of old world fairy tales. Seraphina herself is a strong-willed, clever heroine who seeks her own destiny but is also acutely aware of her impact on others. Her adventure winds through relationships with other complex, fascinating characters, as well as intrigue, scheming, and outright battle. There's never a dull moment, whether you're swooning over her banter with Kiggs or cheering her on as she investigates the threat to her people. Beyond the base plot, there is the deeply enchanting fantasy world, vivid with dragons and Saints, philosophers and politics. Hartman has envisioned each facet of her world so deeply that, as a reader, you can't help but find yourself living in it, if only for a moment. Seraphina is a tale that I'll return to again and again, each time finding something new to cherish.
MEHorton More than 1 year ago
Do not be put off by the thought that this is a young adult book. While the main character, Seraphina, is a very young woman who is still learning how to navigate the adult world, the book doesn't stop there but has an interesting plot. Yes, there is a romantic element, but the book isn't just about that. This is a fully-realized world with a number of elements I don't recall having run across in my 50+ years of reading fantasy and science fiction, and there's some lovely writing here. The sequel is just as good, and I'm definitely looking out for more.
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