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Young Adult Fiction General


by (author) Rachel Hartman

Tundra Book Group
Initial publish date
Dec 2014
General, Medieval, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2014
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 18
  • Grade: 7 to 12


Shortlisted for the 2012 Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Text, Seraphina is now available in paperback!
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 dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs, the captain of the Queen's Guard. While they begin to uncover a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect the secret behind her musical gift--a secret so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

About the author


  • Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Award - Children (English)

Contributor Notes

Seraphina is RACHEL HARTMAN's debut novel. Rachel earned a degree in comparative literature but eschewed graduate school in favour of bookselling and drawing comics. Born in Kentucky, she has lived in Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, England, and Japan. She now lives with her family in Vancouver.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Seraphina:
"An impressive debut novel; I can't wait to see what Rachel Hartman writes next." --Christopher Paolini, author of Eragon
"Seraphina is strong, complex, talented. . . . I love this book!" --Tamora Pierce, author of the Beka Cooper series

Librarian Reviews


In the kingdom of Goredd, a terrible event has occurred. Prince Rufus has been brutally murdered and there are reasons to suspect a dragon is the killer. Meanwhile, Seraphina Dombegh has just begun her position as assistant to the court composer and had been preparing for an important anniversary celebration. This is the fortieth year of the treaty between the humans and the dragons that has resulted in an uneasy alliance. During this time, the dragons have used their ability to assume human shape to enable them to work alongside the humans, teaching at their universities and assuming positions at court. Yet many humans continue to fear and despise the dragons and there are numerous individuals, on both sides, who oppose the treaty. Seraphina, who harbours a grave secret of her own, is in a unique position to offer insight into the investigations. She soon finds herself working closely with Prince Lucian Kiggs to solve the murder and to avert an even greater political disaster.

First-time author Rachel Hartman has gifted readers with an intricately woven tale that features riveting political intrigue, a fully realized and enthralling medieval world, a cast of diverse and fascinating characters and a touch of romance. Seraphina is a vulnerable and relatable protagonist who puts peace, justice and the good of the kingdom ahead of her own personal well-being, even as she tries to find her place in the world. The secondary characters are vividly rendered, and the story itself is complex and compelling. The dragon lore that Hartman has created is unique and engaging, offering an original depiction of a dragon society and their interactions with humankind. This is a magnificent and multi-layered book that fantasy fans will cherish.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2012. Volume 35 No. 3.

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