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Seraphina (Seraphina #1)

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  31,116 ratings  ·  4,558 reviews
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 fea...more
Hardcover, 467 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2012)
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Osha Zoe Yes. It is good. Yesterday I bought it, and I've read a half of it!

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kat Kennedy
What does it take to inspire someone to read a book?

Is it enough to give a heartfelt plea to the book's worthiness?

Maybe a meme? Or jazzhands? Will jazzhands convince you?

Turtle meme doing jazzhands.  Your mind is blown.
I know, a meme about jazzhands! Admit it! This is pretty damn irresistible!

Okay, well, if you're one of those strange people who would choose a convincing, well-informed review over a meme of a tiny turtle doing jazzhands then...

More jazzhands
Are you sure I can't convince you with jazzhands? Maybe throw in a shuffle for you?

Seraphina is half...more
The Holy Terror
I'll admit it: I was incredibly worried about this one. I'm always a bit wary when an author seems nice and friendly and everybody likes them on here. I know, that seems like a stupid thing to say, but it always sits in the back of my mind that ... maybe people are giving this book five stars because they like the author. Rest assured: THIS IS NOT THE CASE. I mean, sure, people who liked the book probably like Hartman too, but it's not the only reason. This book deserves its five stars; it deser...more
Sometimes you read a book, agree with all positive reviews of it, but it just doesn't work for you. That's the case with Seraphina and me.

Whatever you've read in 5-star reviews here, on Goodreads, is all true. Seraphina is an intelligent fantasy set in a well-realized medieval land of Goredd which is celebrating 40-year anniversary of its peace treaty with the nation of dragons. The dragons are conceived with a lot of originality. They have an ability to "fold" into human bodies (weredragons any...more
Tamora Pierce
This is one of the most unique dragon books you'll ever read. (I read it twice, and it isn't even out yet!) You see, in Seraphina's world, dragons are able to take human shape--and messy, sloppy human emotions. Seraphina's father fell in love with a beautiful singer and musician, and married her, and got a surprise. Now Seraphina is the assistant to the royal music master, struggling to keep her birth a secret, and caught up in the tensions that surround the celebrations for the 40th anniversary...more
Lisa O.
I hate it when I have the impression that I am reading a different book from other readers whose opinion I value. Hate it. But it happens and unfortunately, it happened with this book. I've read some really glowing reviews but, alas, I can't just - partially - share the love.

Objectively, Seraphina meets all the requirements to become the next epic fantasy series: it has an original take on a fairly exploited theme - dragons -, an amazing world-building, a well formed, strong main character, a 5...more
Steph Sinclair

Actual rating: 4.5 stars

Oh yes, Rachel Hartman. YES!


I usually don't pick up many high fantasy novels. For example, I hate Lord of the Rings. Don't flame me! It's just that it's not usually a genre I mesh well with. In fact, I think aside from Seraphina I have read a grand total of two high fantasy books this year: Eon: Dragoneye Reborn and Eona: The Last Dragoneye. Coincidentally, all three have dragons in them. Hmm...perhaps the universe is trying to tell me something there.

May 03, 2012 Dija rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Dija by: Buddy read with Anzu. :)
How Seraphina is different from nearly all the young adult novels out there, especially of the fantasy/paranormal variety:

1. There isn't a single moment in here where you'll want to a) throttle any of the main characters, b) stab yourself in the eye, or c) smirk at the cheesy dialogue.

2. You know all those books with dragons? The ones that seem either too clichéd or too different from what you imagined dragons as? Seraphina is about as far from those books as it gets. In fact, it's in another l...more
Sep 13, 2012 Choco rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fantasy, dragons, good protagonist lovers,
Recommended to Choco by: Goodreads.

It's a good book. I liked Orma. Hartman, worldbuilding, good.

Unfortunately, because I'm a horrible person, I had problems with it. Yes, go ahead and punch me, I probably deserve it.
So. Review is going to contain spoilers. Not huge spoilers, maybe ones that most people could probably guess. Proceed with caution? Maybe? I don't know, do whatever you want.

This book was okay but it could’ve been better.

Here’s the thing. Books that are ‘okay’ but ‘could’ve been better’ are the ones that make me v...more
4.5 stars

Fantasy lovers, rejoice!

This is an amazing debut novel, and I feel confident that we have a new series to devour, covet, and hoard ARCs of in a cave somewhere. Not that I do that.

This is the story of two societies, diametrically different, but living together under a fragile peace treaty. The dragons are analytical thinkers who don’t understand emotion, art, or music. They view emotion and attachment as distasteful and are taught strict control. But the humans are interesting to them, i...more
You know, the internet is a strange place. You meet so many people, and they influence your life in so many ways, and yet you might spend an entire lifetime without ever once seeing the face of the person you count as a friend. And yet, they are friends. Maybe not the kind you can call at one in the night to cry about your cheating asshole of a boyfriend, but the kind you'd like to meet for a drink, and chill out with and have fun, stimulating conversation with.

And so, with prolonged internet i...more
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
I have so much love for Rachel Hartman and this book! My five-star ratings are few and far between, but I’d give Seraphina ten if I could. It was so easy to get lost in this world of humans, dragons and those in-between – I still haven’t found my way back.

Hartman’s dragons are magnificent creatures, full of intersting paradoxes. On a physical level, they produce fire, but on an emotional level, they’re cold and tightly controlled. They go to great lengths to remain emotionless, even though thei...more
Jillian -always aspiring-
Fantasy is my favorite genre, but oftentimes I find that fantasy tales are often too simplistic or too pretentious for my liking.Fantasy authors have the burdensome task of creating worlds and cultures that feel real and somewhat familiar but nonetheless offer a sense of danger, wonder, and excitement that few of us experience in our day-to-day lives. In the end, many fantasy novels don't sustain that balance of normalcy and humanity interwoven with the threads of fantasy...but Seraphina remarka...more
I can count on one hand the number of fantasy books I've enjoyed, but after reading Kat Kennedy's glowing review of Seraphina, I was intrigued by the promise of smart heroines, dragons, and jazz hands. Really, who can turn down jazz hands?

With that in mind, I eagerly started this book. Then I got to mentions of saarantrai, houppelande, and quigutl.

Remember, amateur fantasy reader here. I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm scared off by double letters and words that start with Q.

Another thing that'...more
Review contains the slightest of slight spoilers...

“Scattered and peculiar- some of us were sceptical and bitter- we were a people. And I was at the hub of this enormous wheel. I could bring us together. In a way, I already had.”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
I liked it better than I thought I would, which says a lot for a fantasy-phobe like me.

High Points.
Seraphina. The world- It was beautifully constructed. Dragons. ORMA. Courts. Concerts. Parades. Emotions. Scales. Dreams. “Tending the garden”...more

And then:
Alright, let's just get this out of the way: Seraphina is one of my favorite books I've read this year. Hands down, without a doubt, straight-up adored it. And I'd say it's my single most-pushed book this year; I've been pushing it on everyone. Obnoxiously. And I'm going to try to tell you why, and I'll do my best to avoid spoilers, but if you take nothing else from this review, understand that I want you to pick this up. Find out why HERE.
Rick Riordan
Think you've read everything about dragons? Think it's a worn-out concept? Seraphina will make you think again. Our heroine of the title lives in a human kingdom that is about to celebrate forty years of a peace treaty with the draconian race, but old prejudice dies hard. When the ruler of the dragons comes to the capital to commemorate the treaty, many factions on both sides wish to sabotage the fragile peace. Hartman's dragons are fascinating. They are part Vulcan from Star Trek -- logical bei...more
"He released the last chord like a boulder off a trebuchet." It always feels this way when ending a book. There's a weight to the final words, then you let them go and they're gone.

I don't think I've read a young adult book quite like Seraphina before. Rachel Hartman has built for us a world so rich and unique that it is almost dizzying to walk into. Her world is swathed in dark colours depicting a tale of menacing dragons who advocate peace, a stiff but admirably stalwart royal family of Queens...more
Maggie Stiefvater
I talked about this one on NPR ( when I was highlighting the best 2012 YA fiction I'd read IN 2012.

Here's what I said:

My relationship with high fantasy — fantasy set in another world — has always been tumultuous. Actually, I'd like to refer you to the first item on this list. Everything I said about historical fiction also applies here. Which is why, despite multiple recommendations, I let this debut novel about a half-dragon, half-human girl sit unread...more
Four and a half stars

It has been ages since I've written a review, but I really owe this book one.

Seraphina is an epic fantasy exactly how I like it. Some might find it slow, maybe even boring, but I revel in its kind of detailed world-building and character development. The story unfolds very slowly – but honestly, I couldn't care less. There are so many interesting details to find out about Seraphina's world, her past, her love for music, her relationships.
The setting is amazing, too – an in...more
Actual rating: 3.75/4 stars

Saints in Heaven, where do I start?

I was sold on this book even before reading a single word. An amazing world, an exciting story coupled with fascinating characters and dragons. What more could you ask for?

The premise of the book is superb. Seraphina lives in a world where dragons and humans try to coexist, where dragons can fold themselves into human shape at will. There has been some form of peace for some time but deep-seated mistrust still lingers in the air. And...more
Now, for serious, how am I supposed to write a review for this book? My feelings are all over the plaaaace with this one. So I shall have to divide them according to the phases of the book. Starting with...

First Quarter:

OMG. What a cool world this is! The only thought on my mind right now:

Dragons, who've had a war-ridden past with humans, but now have a treaty with them, and also can TURN into humans at their will.

Tell me that doesn't sound bloody amazing. Also: A girl who is half dragon and hal...more
There are roughly two types of fantasy books...


No. Wait. Let me try this again. Because I utterly suck at fangirling--examples on how it's done here and here--let me try something new. Try listening to the music while you read. I hope you have your headphones near.


Also do me a favour, would you, read the blurb first. In fact, let me make it easy for you:

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves in
It's a truth universally acknowledged that writing a review about a book you liked is significantly more difficult than writing one about a book you hated. It's even harder when the book is one gathering quite a lot of hype and you feel like you can't possibly say anything new or exciting about it.

Well, let me try.

Seraphina is the bestest, most amazing, elegant, beautiful and well thought of book I have read all year. There really was nothing about the story that I did not love.

Forty years have...more
Sherwood Smith
Aug 25, 2012 Sherwood Smith added it
Shelves: fantasy
I've always enjoyed stories about dragons, but that very enjoyment has caused me to find most somewhat predictable over the years--not the fault of authors, but of my age. One trope that I found difficult to buy was humans turning into dragons and vice versa, as it never seemed to be thoroughly thought out.

Rachel Hartman has thought it out in this story, offering dragons who are able to change form, but who, while in human form, encounter the full spectrum of human emotion--and the consequences....more
Experiment BL626
CAUTION: Long Review

Seraphina is about a girl struggling to protect her secret while she try to stop a war from breaking out between humans and dragons. Her secret may be the key to do so, but if she reveals it her secret may mean her death.

The story had around 115,000 words and leaned toward a slow pace. The plot did not drag but I would have prefer it to be shorter. A few things here and there could have been condensed to quicken the pace.

The Characters

+++ Seraphina, the protagonist

The story...more
Seraphina is a wonderful book that a great many people will start and not finish.

They will start it because the premise is interesting and unique: Ms. Hartman has created a medieval world where dragons can transform into human shape and co-exist, albeit precariously, with humans. The dragons find the humans interesting. The humans find the dragons, even in human-form, repulsive. At times, the interspecies struggles closely resemble mutual racial discrimination, allowing for some interesting para...more
In life we come across so many thousands of books - some of these books are ones we immediately connect with, others are ones we despise, while still others are merely enjoyable reads. Yet, the art of reading and the art of reviewing are so very different, for in life, there are only two types of reviews – those that come easily to us where the words flow seamlessly from our typing fingers to the page and those that takes days of hard thinking, hours of pondering, and more than a fair few minute...more
Veronica Morfi

That's the only thing coming out of my mouth right now, although my head is filled with thoughts. This book was! I loved it. It's like it took an empty part of me and filled it with so many emotions.

But let's stop talking nonsence and get straight into business. At the beginning I was a bit confused about what was going on, and honestly I thought it might not be as good as I hoped. See, I love dragons and desperately wanted to read a book about them. Fortunatelly I kept r...more
Originally reviewed on The Book Smugglers

From the moment that Seraphina was born and made her way, screaming, into the world, she immediately knew that she was different. Able to recall her birth and time as a baby, Seraphina grows up to a precocious young girl, infuriatingly hidden away by her overprotective father. Of all her father's rules, one rankles most of all - Seraphina is forbidden from playing music. After she discovers her mother's flute and teaches herself to play it, with the goal...more

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman is easily one of the best fantasy books I’ve read this year. It’s a captivating story, one that will keep you glued to your book/ereader until the very last page. The author’s beautifully descriptive writing makes Seraphina’s world come alive. The characters are both intriguing and intelligent. This is a world where humans live alongside with dragons that shift into human form.

The dragons of this world are fascinating. They are the higher intelligence and muc...more
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¿Por qué no una traducción al Español? 1 2 Oct 22, 2014 01:28PM  
SHIFTER LOVE: September 2014 Moon Read - Seraphina by Rachel Hartman 3 7 Sep 30, 2014 06:43PM  
What did you think of this book? 14 110 Sep 29, 2014 03:07PM  
A Novel Bunch: Chapters 32-37 1 2 Sep 26, 2014 04:20PM  
A Novel Bunch: Chapters 24-31 1 1 Sep 26, 2014 04:19PM  
A Novel Bunch: Chapters 16-23 1 2 Sep 21, 2014 02:57PM  
Wildcat Readers: Seraphina Discussion Questions (Prologue; Chapters 1-6) 2 10 Sep 17, 2014 12:36PM  
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"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."
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Rachel Hartman lives and writes in Vancouver, BC.

Her first YA fantasy novel, Seraphina, was published by Random House on July 10th, 2012. Here are some things that are already being said about Seraphina by some fabulous authors:

“A book worth hoarding, as glittering and silver-bright as dragon scales, with a heroine who insists on carving herself a place in your mind.” — Naomi Novik, New York Times...more
More about Rachel Hartman...
Seraphina: The Audition (Seraphina, #0.5) Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2) Amy Unbounded: Belondweg Blossoming A Taste of Serendib

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“We were all monsters and bastards, and we were all beautiful.” 207 likes
“Sometimes the truth has difficulty breaching the city walls of our beliefs. A lie, dressed in the correct livery, passes through more easily.” 181 likes
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