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Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
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Seraphina (edition 2012)

by Rachel Hartman

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2,0081873,341 (4.13)173
Member:Areopagite
Title:Seraphina
Authors:Rachel Hartman
Info:Random House Books for Young Readers (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 480 pages
Collections:E-Books, Fantasy, Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

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Showing 1-5 of 187 (next | show all)
What an incredibly stunning and vivid world Hartman has created! Often, with books I wasn't awaiting or that I didn't buy for myself, reality keeps me from getting fully engaged for a hundred pages or so. This absorbed me from the first sentence. ( )
  benuathanasia | Sep 27, 2016 |
n the kingdom of Goredd, dragons have learned to take on human form and live among the humans in a tenuous peace. Weeks before the forty-year celebration of the peace treaty between dragonkind and humans, tensions between the races escalate when Prince Rufus is murdered in a manner suggesting a dragon is responsible. In the court, Seraphina has earned the position of assistant to the court composer. But Seraphina has a secret, one that gives her insights into the murder and political intrigues which could throw the kingdom back into war with dragonkind; but helping the observant and curious Prince Kiggs with the investigation puts her secret at risk.

Rich world building and a full cast of fleshed out characters draw the reader into Seraphina’s story. Vivid language and descriptions bring the court and dragons to life and the passages describing Seraphina’s experience performing music are particularly compelling. Dragons are given a unique treatment in the tale, eschewing emotion and attachments and embracing strict logic and stoicism.

Exploring weighty issues such as racism, prejudice, otherness, self-harm, and mental health, Hartman does not condescendingly water these issues down for the intended younger audience, but manages to tackle them head-on without turning the story into something bleak and overbearing.

Seraphina is a highly entertaining and satisfying novel about love, friendship, and self-acceptance.

( )
  aclaybasket13 | Jul 29, 2016 |
I thought the book was good overall, but found the beginning too slow for my liking. I'm not one who likes lots of psychology and hearing people in their heads and all the narratives relating to calming her garden were just too much for me. I understand why these narratives needed to be there, it was just a bit much for me.

That was my on,y real complaint. The rest of the book I enjoyed including the ending. ( )
  L.R.W.Lee | Jul 26, 2016 |
This was a pleasant surprise. It was a book club read and I am very glad we chose it. I read the summary and thought hmmm that sounds interesting. I read the prologue and thought wth is this?! It was definitely very confusing at first. Hartman just throws you right into the middle of the story with no explanation at all. As I pieced things together I just fell in love with the book and its world. Its a very unique world and its full of interesting characters that I can't wait to get to know better. ( )
  LenaR0307 | May 30, 2016 |
We were all monsters and bastards, and we were all beautiful.

Rachel Hartman has crafted an incredibly vibrant fantasy world in Seraphina. If you love some really good world building in your high fantasy, then you'll love this book. However, I think the intricate setting comes at the expense of the characters, who seem a little bland and boring in comparison. I prefer really interesting characters over world building, so that was a little disappointing for me, but your mileage may vary.

I found the romance aspect of the novel to be a little disappointing as well. Kiggs is all right, I guess, but I feel like Seraphina fell in love with him so quickly after not having any chemistry with him whatsoever. It would have been so much more compelling for Seraphina to have feelings for Glisselda, or even both Kiggs and Glisselda. The queer/poly possibilities are endless, but no one ever seems to want to write them. :(

Some things I loved: the religious imagery of Saint Yirtrudis, seen only as an outline through the glued-together pages of the psalter; Lars the gentle giant and his relationship with Viridius; Seraphina's mind garden; and most of all, her relationship with her uncle Orma. ( )
  captainmander | May 11, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rachel Hartmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davidson, AndrewCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kolesova, JulianaIllustrator (Title Page)secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palisi, HeatherCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375866566, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Teen Book of the Month, July 2012: In Seraphina, dragons and humans maintain an uneasy peace and for a woman who is both there is nowhere to turn for acceptance--not even within herself. Seraphina has spent her young life concealing the truth of her parentage and authentic nature, a task that proves ever more difficult when she is thrust into the spotlight of the royal court. Author Rachel Hartman’s dragons take human form but shun the messiness of human emotion by remaining “in ard” (a highly rational state of mind), while their counterparts cling to a dangerous assumption of species superiority. As the anniversary of the treaty between the two sides approaches, court intrigue reaches a fever pitch and hard-won truths, betrayals, and intricacies of the heart are laid bare. Seraphina is a beautifully complex fantasy that delves into the most basic of desires—to be loved, to belong, and to find peace in self-acceptance. --Seira Wilson

Guest Review by Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce is a best-selling author of fantasy books for teenagers. Her books, known for their teenaged girl warriors and wizards, have received critical acclaim and a strong fanbase. Her newest book, Mastiff, is the third book in The Legend of Beka Cooper series.

In Seraphina's world, coldly intellectual dragons can take on the shapes--and feelings--of human beings. Sometimes this results in a surprise. Seraphina's father married a beautiful musician, and discovered too late that she was a dragon. She died, leaving him with a daughter who confuses him and his new wife and children.

Now the half-dragon Seraphina is the assistant to the cranky royal music master. She is in charge of Princess Glisselda's music lessons; she books performers for the 40-year celebration of the peace treaty between dragons and humans, and she rehearses the rowdy court musicians. She has to hide the scales on her arm and around her waist, and she can never let anyone find out that Orma, her music teacher, is actually a dragon.

When she plays the solo for the funeral of the realm's murdered prince, Seraphina is suddenly raised into entirely new, visible levels of peril. People she always avoided are noticing her. She has to attend social functions, where she is caught up in court politics, between those who support the treaty and those who want to destroy it. She runs afoul of conspirators who want to start the war again--one of them may be her own grandfather. She even discovers that Prince Lucian, who is betrothed to Princess Glisselda, is not only very sharp-eyed but also very agreeable to be around. He appreciates her insights on intrigue at court and in the city and uses her as an unofficial investigator into the ongoing unrest.

The plot thickens. A new religious order plots riots and revolution. Exiled knights return to report an unregulated dragon flying near where the old prince was murdered. The dragons are trying to send Orma for corrective surgery--they think he's gotten too human and they want to cut those parts out of his brain. Seraphina fears that if she tells the prince and the princess what she is, they'll hate her forever, but their work to preserve the treaty celebrations is bringing them closer together. And all of them are terrified that the dragons will decide that humans are not worth the trouble, and will destroy them at last.

I loved this book even more the second time I read it than I did the first. The characters are interesting and engaging, and I love the new look at dragons. For all that she's half-dragon, Seraphina is a very believable human being, caught between different loyalties and just trying to keep everyone she loves alive. But don't take my word for it--read it yourself!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:48 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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