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Seraphina

by Rachel Hartman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Goredd (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,8812173,309 (4.11)192
In a world where dragons and humans coexist in an uneasy truce and dragons can assume human form, Seraphina, whose mother died giving birth to her, grapples with her own identity amid magical secrets and royal scandals, while she struggles to accept and develop her extraordinary musical talents.
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    tim_halpin: Teenage angst mixed with angst about demon souls. Similar strong female teenage protagonists.
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    sboyte: Strong female lead with unique abilities. Fantasy realm. Well-developed love story. Unputdownable.
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    A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan (g33kgrrl)
    g33kgrrl: Draaaagons. Plus the pursuit of knowledge, the non-traditional (although in different ways) main character, and more.
  7. 00
    Fairest by Gail Carson Levine (Heather39)
    Heather39: In both books, a musically talented young woman begins work at the palace, where she befriends a prince and ends up in unexpected trouble.
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    The Shape-Changer's Wife by Sharon Shinn (beyondthefourthwall)
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» See also 192 mentions

English (215)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (216)
Showing 1-5 of 215 (next | show all)
I always have a hard time reviewing rereads, so this will be pretty short.

This is something of a favourite, and it was really nice to reread it. I understood a lot of things now, after having read the sequel, that I didn't necessarily pick up on the first time.

I listened to the audiobook, and it was amazing! I don't think I noticed the first time how beautiful the writing was, but the audiobook really enhanced it, and I found myself marvelling at the writing.

This book is amazing, SO worth reading! ( )
  irisssssssss | Jun 17, 2020 |
It is hard to judge the book based off the excerpt. I found the writing style hard to follow and the plot a little confusing. It was intriguing but not a book I'd be interested in pursuing. ( )
  JulianaMD | Jun 1, 2020 |
Seraphina lives in a world where, for the past forty years, dragons and humans have lived in an uneasy truce, facilitated by the dragons' ability to take on human form.

Now that truce is under threat by an older generation of dragons that cannot set past wars and enmities aside and are willing to to stir inter-species fear into hatred in order to return to open conflict (Is it just me, or would this cast as dragons Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson and the other right-wing English nationalists who want to reject forty years of peace and prosperity in the EU to pursue dreams of Empire and reestablish a feudal England with themselves at the head of the patriarchy? Yeah, that probably is just me).

Seraphina, in her first few months at the human court, finds herself positioned to influence the outcome of this plotting if she places her own future at risk.

This is a light, fast, fun read that satisfies as long as you accept a Young Adult Fiction paradigm. There is a pervasive innocence in worldview across all of the main characters, all of whom are young and none of whom have experienced or cannot really imagine the mundane evil of hate-driven violence and cruelty.

The main players are young enough to be on the edge of creating their own identities. They are all special in their own way. Shame-based secrecy turns Seraphina into a liar, which frustrates her desire to be herself and limits her ability to see who she really is.

The book tackles some interesting themes: the role of emotions (human) and rationality (dragons), the fear of the other, the slowness of change, the apparently transcendental power of love, the role of music in bringing together rational structures to express emotions. Perhaps more daringly, it tackles Seraphina's own dysmorphia and her acts of self-harm, the potential that comes from mixed races, provided that the mixing isn't hampered by prejudice and shame and the isolation of being a bastard in a world of inherited power.

It has some interesting ideas about the impact on dragons of having to live in human form, about knowledge as a hoard of treasure that dragons would lust after, maternal transmission of memories and the practice of memory excision to maintain an ordered dragon mind. I loved the sub-species of dragon techno-geeks who make devices for the fun of it.

It does not examine or challenge the society's use of royalty, rank and privilege but does substitute a matriarchy for patriarchy although it's really just women behaving like men.

If you accept what the novel sets out to do and put your mind into wishing our heroine well, then this is a fast, fun novel with good plot twists, strong world-building and some original ideas.

I had fun because I was mostly able to do this. My enjoyment was limited by the fact that the naive romance dragged a little for me and asked me to spend attention on it when I'd rather have known more about the effect of music on dragons but that's a minor niggle. ( )
  MikeFinnFiction | May 16, 2020 |
Beautiful. After that, what else is there to say? By now, I think pretty much everyone has waxed eloquent on the topic of this marvelous literary morsel, so I'll steer clear in this review. It definitely deserves the high praise, though.

This book connected with me on a much more personal level than most fantasies have. Not to claim any brilliance, or anything near literary competency, part of the reason I love Seraphina so much is because it is exactly the type of book I would write, if I could ever pull it off. The characters are relatable, young but not impetuous, playful but able to pin down some dribs and drabs of philosophy.

Beyond this, it was the musical aspect which stole my heart. Yes, I'm a band geek, and I own it proudly like the rest of our kind, but the incorporation of different musical instruments added another level of beauty to the piece. It is as if, when reading a work of art, one is immersed in yet another form at the same time.

On the whole, it all comes together to form an engaging piece of true literature. Double thumbs up. ( )
  Pascale1812 | Apr 16, 2020 |
4.5 stars ( )
  the_lirazel | Apr 6, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 215 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rachel Hartmanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Davidson, AndrewCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kolesova, JulianaIllustrator (Title Page)secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palisi, HeatherCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Williams, MandyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Series

Goredd (1)
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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
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Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
In memoriam: Michael McMechan.
Dragon, teacher, friend.
First words
I remember being born.
Quotations
I usually practiced smiling while I slathered my scales with goo, figuring that if I could smile through that, I could smile through anything. Today I really didn't have the time.
We were all monsters and bastards. And we were all beautiful.
(page 90)

"My faith should not come easily;
There is no Heaven without pain.
My days should never flutter past
Unnoted, nor my past remain
Beyond its span of usefulness;
Le me not hold to grief.
My hope, my light, my Saint is love;
In love my one belief."
(page 142-143)

The vagabond sun winks down through the trees,
While lilacs, like memories, waft on the breeze,
My friend, I was born for soft days such as these,
To inhale perfume,
And cut through the gloom,
And feast like a king upon peaches and cheese!
I'll travel this wide world and go where I please,
Can't stop my wandering, it's like a disease.
My only regret as I cross the high seas;
what I leave behind,
Though I hope to find,
My own golden city of peaches and cheese!
(page 144)

I'll ask my true love, and I'll hope she agrees,
How could she not, when I'm down on my knees?
My Jill, say you will, and don't be such a tease.
When it's time to eat,
I say sweets to the sweet,
My love, let your answer be peaches and cheese!
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

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