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Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
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Seraphina (edition 2012)

by Rachel Hartman

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1,4881604,992 (4.17)137
Member:tortoise
Title:Seraphina
Authors:Rachel Hartman
Info:Random House Books for Young Readers (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 480 pages
Collections:Read in 2013 (Micah)
Rating:****1/2
Tags:fiction, fantasy

Work details

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

  1. 31
    Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (tim_halpin)
    tim_halpin: Teenage angst mixed with angst about demon souls. Similar strong female teenage protagonists.
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» See also 137 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 159 (next | show all)
I found this novel to be utterly breathtaking. It's clear that Hartman has a real talent for world building - Goredd was described in such detail that I felt as though I was actually there. I also loved her take on dragon lore. Although her dragons did remind me of Vulcans, they were a breath of fresh air to the high fantasy genre and fantastically memorable.

The characters were also brilliant. Phina was a fantastically strong character - making up for her lack of physical strength with intelligence and wit. The secondary cast was also well fleshed out. My personal favourites were Princess Glisselda and Orma as they seemed to get the most development as the story progressed. I was only really disappointed by the lack of Phina's father - he only appeared a few times and seemed to go through an entire story arc off page.

So, why the missing star?

Well, Seraphina was an very dense novel and sometimes the heavy world building seemed to get in the way of the plot. The first half of the story dragged a bit for me as the murder mystery did not really pick up until halfway through the book. Also, some aspects of the story took too long to be explained. I was really confused by the mind garden at first as it seemed to spring from nowhere and did not get a rational explanation for quite a long time.

Secondly, I did not buy into the romance between Phina and Kiggs. Although there were vague hints that Phina had a crush on him, his reciprocation came out of nowhere, mere pages from the end of the novel, and really did not have any impact on the novel at all. I felt that this could have been left out and the story would have lost nothing.

But, gripes aside, I really did like this novel and would recommend it to any fantasy fans. ( )
  ArkhamReviews | Feb 25, 2015 |
I didn't realize this was a new book. it's been on my list to read for months so I must have seen when it was still just being advertised. However it happened, I got my hands on it and decided to give it a try since it contained dragons and I've always been a big fan of dragons. In this case the dragons have a peace treaty with the humans and part of that treaty is that they must be in human shape when around humans. That comes with it's peril of developing human emotions, etc. That aspect of the book was very interesting, but only a backdrop to Seraphina herself and her story. I liked her and the bastard princes' interaction and reactions. The story started out a little slow but that was to allow the reader to really understand Seraphina. It was a very lyrical kind of book, language-wise and charming. The book don't blow my mind away but it was a good read. Recommended if you enjoy fantasy. ( )
  Kassilem | Feb 5, 2015 |
It's slow, but beautiful. I love world building, and Seraphina is amazing for that. I read it a while ago, and honestly can't remember that much about it, except for that I loved the simple, gentle, style. Hartman lovingly constructed a world and then took us on a stroll through it, letting us stop and start as we saw fit so that we could see what she'd created. Like a stroll through Seraphina's dream world, I want to know more about the world and the story, but it felt in some spots a little too slow. ( )
  ibugg | Jan 25, 2015 |
Hartman's got it all. Music, dragons, strong women, romance, etc. But I just ... don't connect with Seraphina. The first 100 pages or so were a bit confusing for me as well, and the romance just didn't feel ... right.

Take Penryn and Raffe. It's been two books, and they haven't even KISSED yet. They haven't even admitted that they love each other, and Raffe was GONE for most of World After! *breathes deeply* Anyway. At the end, Seraphina and Lucian were just like "I love you, let's kiss"--kiss--"Okay, that was great, but we can't kiss anymore, okay? Luv you, bye-bye!" I just wasn't getting it.

After all this semi-ranting, though, I think I will recommend it, because I think my friends would enjoy it more than me. ( )
  IsaboeOfLumatere | Jan 14, 2015 |
Fantastic world, wonderful engaging voice, and characters that really made me feel for them.

Not necessarily a page-turner at first, but by the end I couldn't put it down. I'm very much looking forward to the sequel, though the ending here was satisfying on many levels. ( )
  devafagan | Jan 2, 2015 |
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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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In memoriam: Michael McMechan. Dragon, teacher, friend.
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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.
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:33 -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)

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