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Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina (edition 2012)

by Rachel Hartman

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1,3691505,600 (4.21)117
Authors:Rachel Hartman
Info:Random House Books for Young Readers (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 512 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:music, dragons, fantasy

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Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

  1. 31
    Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (tim_halpin)
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highly recommended! Seraphina is a young musician in her first real position of responsibility at court. Unfortunately, she also has a terrible secret: she’s a half-breed between human and dragon (dragons can take human form), and as such would be considered a monstrosity if she were discovered. And she seems to have monsters living in her head—monsters that might hurt her if she doesn’t tend carefully to them. She gets sucked into palace intrigue, including threats to the fragile dragon-human peace. There’s some romantic misunderstanding and longing, but it fit well into the plot and I loved that duty was more important to the characters than their own feelings. ( )
  rivkat | Aug 31, 2014 |
  BRCSBooks | Aug 15, 2014 |
That was a satisfying read, to say the least. ( )
  JennyJen | Aug 14, 2014 |
Dragons, Dragons, Dragons! Need I say more? Fine, okay – let me explain the wondrous thing that is Seraphina. Humans and Dragons were at war 40 years ago until the human Queen and the Dragon General signed a peace treaty between the two races. Since then that peace has been a very delicate thing indeed. Dragons can take human form allowing the races to better communicate and learn from one another. But dragons value logic, reason and science and they shun emotions, while of course we humans are a very emotional bunch. The dragons are capable of locking their emotions away with mental techniques thus denying themselves that particular part of the human experience. But 16 years ago a dragon fell in love with a human and from that union was born Seraphina, half human, half dragon.

Seraphina has lived her life in fear and loathing of what she is, but despite that she has carried on with life and has even landed herself a job in the palace as a music mistress. She heads the court’s musicians as well as gives the princess her music lessons. But troubles are brewing as one of the princes has been murdered in a very suspiciously dragon like manner. Somehow Seraphina constantly gets mixed up in situations that draw attention to herself and even some dangerous circumstances. She’s spent her whole life trying not to draw notice but now she seems to the center of attention much too often..

I thoroughly enjoyed the amount of character development that I witnessed take place with Seraphina. You really see her mature while still maintaining her stubborn prickly personality. She has a real habit of sticking her foot in her mouth and getting into trouble. You’d think with how much she needs to keep her secret that she wouldn’t be as bull headed as she is. Though, I have to say I really liked that about her.

With a good bit of political intrigue and mystery surrounding the late princes death, Seraphina gets to be quite involved with investigations that Prince Lucian and Princess Glisselda are doing. The closer she gets to both of them the more she discovers she wants all those things she never thought she could.

Looking at the cover it definitely isn’t your typical “pretty girl in a dazzling dress” YA cover. Which I was so thankful for. I believe this one has some great potential to appeal to adult Fantasy readers because of that but also due to the strong world building and mature personalities of the characters. In this world Seraphina is an adult, with a job, living on her own. So I think this has a good deal of crossover potential that it need not necessarily only be considered a YA book.

Melancholy, humorous and at times heartbreaking – Seraphina was a wonderful fantasy book that would be a shame to miss. ( )
1 vote Pabkins | Jun 24, 2014 |
Full review: http://tenaciousreader.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/seraphina-by-rachel-hartman/

I have to admit that Seraphina by Rachel Hartman was quite an enjoyable read. There are dragons, there is murder, there is intrigue and there are secrets. And our protagonist, Seraphina, finds herself in the middle of it all while trying her hardest to not be noticed. Why does she not want to be noticed? Because Seraphina has a dangerous secret that makes her feel an outsider within her world, a secret that could bring her world crumbling down.

To be honest, I am not always a fan of YA, but because of this, I am actually quite happy when I read one that works for me (I hate to say I NEVER like something, so evidence to the contrary is always welcome. I don’t want to become closed to any category or genre). This was absolutely an exception. Hartman’s writing is wonderful. Her world is interesting and Seraphina’s character was just fun to read. Figuring out her secret and her motivations as well as puzzling out how and why she is different was enjoyable. ( )
  tenaciousreader | May 24, 2014 |
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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.
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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