Book - 2012
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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.
Publisher: Toronto : Doubleday Canada, c2012
ISBN: 9780385668392
Branch Call Number: Y HAR
Characteristics: 465 p. ; 22 cm


From the critics

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Aug 26, 2020

Well written with beautiful language, and a creative and unique take on dragons. It was enjoyable, but very slow moving for the first 120 pages or so. Even so, I was glad I finished it. It might not make my list of all time favorites, but I do like the world Hartman has created, and will look forward to reading the subsequent installments. I think there's potential for future installments to improve on what's here already, interested to see how that pans out.

ChristchurchTeens Aug 06, 2020

A new take on the relationship between dragons and humans. Royal secrets, uneasy truces, magic, scandals and one girl called Seraphina who could change it all.

Jan 23, 2020

Looking for a good dragon book with some unique twists? Here you go.

Seraphina is set in a pre-industrial world 45 years after dragons and humans agreed to a treaty and all the dragonslaying knights were exiled.

I strongly recommend reading the appendix first, because there are many terms that confused me while reading that are defined there.

It’s written in first person from the title character’s POV, a 16-year-old girl with musical talent and a mysterious past. She and most of the other characters are likable. (I was particularly fond of Orma.) There’s a lot of mystery surrounding who’s on whose side, who’s secretly all or part dragon, and what everyone’s motivations are. There aren't many action scenes, but I liked the few there are. The humor is charming, if understated.

The world-building is intriguing. The dragons can pass on memories to their unborn children with the accuracy of a Hogwarts pensieve, for example. They can also shapeshift into human guises, although it takes quite a bit of practice to pass convincingly, and they can’t fly for a few minutes after shifting back, which can be mighty inconvenient in dangerous situations. And, contrary to so many other fictional universes, here the dragons are the ones with the more advanced technology! They have the equivalent of radio receivers and clockwork devices, although they only seem to use them in human form.

Intermarriage is forbidden but half-dragon/half-human children still pop up once in awhile, with unpredictable powers and such a huge social stigma that both sides pretty much consider them “kill on sight,” and their parents’ names stricken from family trees and history.

There are a fair amount of loose ends at the end of the book, but I assume they are addressed in the sequel, which I haven't read yet. Overall, I recommend Seraphina to anyone who likes dragons.

Feb 27, 2019

This book was a bit hard to follow because so many of the names were made up. It did have a map of the kingdom yet it was still confusing when the author would throw in a made-up name as if it was a typical word that didn't need explaining. The vocabulary was very advanced which made it challenging to understand what was happening too. I was having trouble following everything so I stopped both times I tried reading this book. So I might try again when I'm older. Besides the two factors, the story was intriguing and very original.

liljables Jan 21, 2019

I was lucky enough to meet Rachel Hartman and scored a copy of her most recent novel, Tess of the Road, at last year's BC Library Association conference. I gobbled up Tess of the Road - it was my favourite YA read of last year - despite the fact that it was technically a sequel to her earlier novels, Seraphina and Shadow Scale. (In case you're wondering, Tess worked wonderfully as a standalone, and quickly caught me up on the world-building done in the first two novels). I finally picked up Seraphina last week, and felt warmly welcomed back into this world. Hartman's dragons are unlike any I've ever met, and Seraphina, much like Tess, is a flawed but utterly relatable heroine, grappling with her identity and society's expectations. Hartman's fantasy writing relies more on character development than action, which certainly won't work for everyone, but I can't get enough - onto Shadow Scale tonight!

Jan 16, 2019

Seraphina tells the story of a young women with a terrible secret that keeps her secluded and withdrawn. But despite the warnings, Seraphina's exceptional musical talent can't help but be noticed by many. She finds herself soon amid a troubled political climate as humans and dragons struggle over their alliance.
The narrative moves at a luxurious pace compared to other books of a similar genre, drawing focus on the internal exposition of Seraphina. Descriptions of character and culture and particularly well-thought out and each character feels distinct and believable in their world.
That being said, for me this book moved too slowly, and felt a chore to read for the majority of it. My biggest gripe is the type of dragon the author has imagined. Methodical, calculating and utterly devoid of emotion, these dragons are more akin to automatons than the typical brash, fire-breathing monsters (that arguably make them fun and exciting). This is a personal preference, of course. I like stories where dragons can be friendly, but I also like them loud and proud.

Oct 30, 2018

Honestly, I thought that this was odd. It was really confusing.

Jul 31, 2018

Well written and compelling, "Seraphina" is an excellent book without the usual Young Adult fluffiness. If you're into dragons you'll definitely enjoy this book; I found Seraphina's world very intriguing and cannot wait to read the two sequels, which are "Shadow Scale" and "Tess of the Road". If you like listening to audiobooks, definitely check out the audiobook of this story, which is read by Mandy Williams; it was absolutely perfect for the story!

Apr 08, 2018

Really enjoyed this book - thought the main character was well-developed and likable, plot kept my interest - good read not just for young adults.

LPL_KateG Mar 05, 2018

I listened to the audiobook version of Seraphina for the Book Squad Goals challenge - "Read a book about a mythical creature." This was such a sweet book with interesting characters and an imaginative story-line.

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Jul 31, 2018

readingfairy thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Oct 26, 2017

blue_dog_8329 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

May 25, 2014

omdarbandi thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

Aug 16, 2013

azzuen thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Melena_1 Jul 01, 2013

Melena_1 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Jun 03, 2013

CraneWife thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

May 10, 2013

julia_sedai thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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May 31, 2016

The music flew from me like a dove released into the vastness of the nave; the cathedral itself lent it new richness and gave something back, as if this glorious edifice, too, were my instrument.

KaiaWillow Jul 27, 2014

The future would come, full of war and uncertainty, but I would not be facing it alone.

May 25, 2014

“Sometimes the truth has difficulty breaching the city walls of our beliefs. A lie, dressed in the correct livery, passes through more easily.”

May 25, 2014

“We were all monsters and bastards, and we were all beautiful.”


Add a Summary
May 25, 2014

In a world where dragons roam and walk amongst humans, in human form called saarantras. In such a world where dragons can go unnoticed, and still harbor such awesome powers, tensions between dragons and humans rise as the fortieth anniversary of their great treaty approaches.

Oct 11, 2012



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