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5 of 5
1 rating
list price: $21
also available: Paperback
published: Jul 2012


by Rachel Hartman

reviews: 1
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5 of 5
1 rating
list price: $21
also available: Paperback
published: Jul 2012

A new vision of knights, dragons, and the fair maiden caught in between . . .
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 has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered. While a sinister plot to destroy the peace is uncovered, Seraphina struggles to protect the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance will make a magical, indelible impression on its readers.

Contributor Notes

Seraphina is RACHEL HARTMAN's debut. She lives in Vancouver.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
12 to 18
7 to 12
  • Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Award - Children (English)
Editorial Review

Shortlist - Governor General's Award - Children's Literature (2012)

“Full of grace and gravitas, Seraphina’s first-person voice is a welcome change from today’s snark-infested YA novels. Readers loath to turn the last page of this lush, intricately plotted fantasy will rejoice in the knowledge of next summer’s as-yet-untitled sequel.”
The Washington Post
“In Hartman’s splendid prose debut, humans and dragons—who can take human form but not human feeling—have lived in uneasy peace for 40 years. . . . Dragon books are common enough, but this one is head and talons above the rest.”
Kirkus Reviews, Starred review
“Hartman proves dragons are still fascinating in this impressive high fantasy. Equal parts political thriller, murder mystery, bittersweet romance, and coming-of-age story, this is an uncommonly good fantasy. . . . An exciting new series to watch.”
Booklist, Starred review
“Establishes Hartman as an exciting new talent. . . . There’s a lot to enjoy in Hartman’s debut, from the admirably resourceful heroine and intriguing spin on dragons to the intricately described medievalesque setting and emphasis on music and family.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred review

Seraphina makes dragons fascinating once again. . . . While the book is full of court intrigue and (sometimes literal) backstabbing, the prose itself is an absolute joy. It's thick and rich without being difficult to read . . . . Everything about the book feels really well-crafted… Not one sentence seems slapdash.”
“Passion and musicality—those are the qualities prized by Seraphina, the fiercely intelligent, headstrong half-human/half-dragon heroine in Rachel Hartman’s debut novel of the same name. They also emanate from every element—from prose to plot—in this beguiling YA fantasy.”
National Post
“Beautifully written, well-rounded characters, and some of the most interesting dragons I’ve read in fantasy for a long while. An impressive debut novel; I can't wait to see what Rachel Hartman writes next.”
—Christopher Paolini, New York Times bestselling author of Eragon

"A book worth hoarding."
—Naomi Novik, New York Times bestselling author of the Temeraire series
"I love this book!"
—Tamora Pierce, New York Times bestselling author
"A wonderful mix of thrilling story, fascinating characters, and unique dragonlore."
—Alison Goodman, NYT bestselling author of Eon
"Characters I will follow to the ends of the earth."
—Ellen Kushner

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Reader Reviews

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review


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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