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Seraphina Hardcover – Jul 10 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Canada (July 10 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385668392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385668392
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 4.1 x 21.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #27,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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.”
io9.com

“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

About the Author

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

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert A. Runte on Nov. 18 2012
Format: Hardcover
Excellent YA fantasy, more mature than a lot of it's competition --that is to say, better writing, bit more challenging vocabulary, positive themes -- it is also an excellent read for adults. (I didn't realize it was classed as YA until I'd finished and decided to pass it on to my 14 yr old daughter.) Original twist on dragon trope allows for very nice thematic development about finding right balance between heart and mind. Nicely realized world building, excellent characterization, sympathetic heroine, wonderful sub theme about importance/role of music, and just excellent writing throughout. I couldn't put it down. The plot and the romance were a bit predictable, but then i've been an SF editor for 30 years, so it's pretty hard to surprise me. For a YA reader, these are themes and ideas they need to explore, and Hartman does a first rate job of helping them work through issues of identity, accepting who we are, and building on our strengths.

I liked this cover much better than the other, which seems more pitched to the teen romance market, but the book inside is the same, so doesn't really matter.

The novel was short listed for Governor General Award for children's literature, 2012.
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Format: Hardcover
The beautiful cover art and the interesting premise persuaded me borrow this book from the library. When I read the first line, 'I remember being born' I almost decided not to read it, since I found that opening line too much to swallow for even for a fantasy book. As an aspiring writer myself I wondered how a book with a first line like that got published. Thinking like a literary agent or editor I almost sent it back to the library.

I was glad I stuck to it because it was a beautifully written and unique take on dragon lore. Although, I don't think this book should be marketed as a teen book. The reason being is that there are only two main teen characters, teens like to read about people their own age. The flowery language is a bit much, even for me, I had to flip back to the glossary or dictionary. Most readers, teen and adult alike only a sixth grade reading level, that might be why a lot of reviewers claim they stopped reading at page 100. But for me, the main reason the book shouldn't be a teen book is the romance between Seraphina and Kiggs, her engaged love interest is a little risque .I don't know what the publisher was thinking categorizing it as a teen book. This could've easily been a straight fantasy, not a teen book.

If I had a teenager I might not buy it for her, since I don't want her to think it's okay to lust after a man she can never have. Anyone over eighteen, this is a great book and a must read.
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Format: Hardcover
In "Seraphina" Rachel Hartman builds an imaginative fantasy world where dragons and humans have enjoyed four decades of peace and are gearing up to celebrate the occasion in Lavondaville, the capital of the kingdom of Goredd. Although the atmosphere is unstable with the growing prejudice and intolerance within both factions which has increased since the death of Prince Rufus, Queen Lavonda and General Ardmagar Comonot, leader of all Dragonkind hold fast to the articles of the treaty.

Seraphina Domberg, a gifted musician who assists the court's composer has reason to want harmony between both sides. As a half-dragon her birth contravenes the clause in the treaty that specifically prohibits any relationship between a saarantrai ( a dragon in human form) and a human being. But,when she's drawn into an investigation with Prince Lucian Kiggs to find Prince Rufus's killer Seraphina may have to expose her secret, if she wants to undermine the culprit who's trying to destroy the peace accord and bring war to the land.

Rachel Hartman sets the stage for this well-written and fascinating plot in the prejudice and intolerance of a society of dragon and humans that is struggling to maintain an agreement signed four decades before. The dragon culture that wants to hold on to its past and yet maintain a peaceful co-existence has no tolerance for human emotions that often accompany their changeover. They've created Censors, a dragon agency to police un-dragon -like behaviour. Even the idea of a liaison between a dragon and a saarantrai is abhorrent and any child born from such a union is put to death. Similarly there is bias among the human faction who in their arrogance see the dragons as soulless and beneath them.
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By Jessica Strider TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 10 2015
Format: Paperback
Pros: brilliant world-building, interesting characters, interesting politics, thought provoking

Cons:

For Parents: no swearing, minor suggestive content, a few kisses, some violence, nothing graphic

Seraphina has a secret to hide regarding her mother. Her distant father warns her to avoid calling attention to herself, but her love of music makes it hard for her, especially when she becomes the assistant to the court composer. It’s a mere two weeks before the Treaty Eve festivities when the Ardmagar Comonot visits to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the peace pact between the Goredd nation and dragonkind. Not everyone is happy with the peace, especially since Prince Rufus recently died in a suspiciously draconic way. The Sons of St. Ogdo are stirring up the populace against the vile scurge even as members of the royal court make snide remarks behind the backs of the draconic embassy members. The depth of Seraphina’s knowledge of dragons and her willingness to stand up for them in the face of prejudice, brings her to the attention of Prince Lucian Kiggs, Captain of the Queen’s Guard, as more and more incidents occur. As the days count down both her secret and the peace pact are in danger.

This is a brilliant novel. The writing is top notch and the world-building excellent. It’s a pseudo-European world, but one that remembers there are other nations with other peoples, many of whom travel and have political and economic ties to each other. The religion is obviously based on Catholicism, with a plethora of interesting saints (including St. Ogdo the dragon slayer). I loved that the politics around the peace weren’t simple.
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