Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman + Giveaway

Filed in 5 Stars , featured , Giveaways , Rachel Hartman , Review , The Winged Lover Posted on June 12, 2013 @ 7:00 am 31 comments

Format read: paperback
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 2 July 2012
Length: 359
Publisher: Random House
Formats available: Hardcover, audio book paperback, ebook
Purchasing Info: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Book Depository US | Book Depository (UK)

Book Blurb:

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 captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In her exquisite debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina’s tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they’ve turned the final page.

My Thoughts:
Seraphina is the beginning of what promises to be an incredible series.

Seraphina is coming up in the world, recently appointed assistant music master of the royal court Seraphina is living her dream of working with music, but unfortunately her talent is getting her noticed around court, something her father has urged her not to do because getting noticed, could lead to being found out. Seraphina has a secret, she is part dragon.

On top of trying to keep her lineage under wraps, Seraphina is also playing the role of detective. Her friends within the royal family have recently lost their beloved uncle, his death being blamed on a dragon attack something that if proven true, could start a war between dragon and human kind crumbling the fragile peace their species have held for the last forty years.

Seraphina was an amazing character, not only in her uniqueness but also in her personality. Being part dragon, an abomination in the eyes of both dragons and humans, she has a few special quirks that if not kept under control could destroy her ruse. Intelligent, witty, loyal but very dishonest she was willing to risk her comfortable life to uncover the truth about the death of the Prince all to save her city from a false sense of security. The murder was being covered up, passed off as bandits in the woods, but Seraphina investigates the truth to find out if it was really a rogue dragon.

I loved Hartman’s take on dragons, their lack of emotions and pursuit only of knowledge, power and intellect. Their transformations between saarantras – human like form – and their dragon forms, the way they were completely beaten down in the city of Goredd, forced to wear bells that Identify them as a dragons and pushed into certain parts of the city. Such powerful creatures being rendered so helpless, it was amazing to find out their reasons for putting up with the humans scorn and disdain in the ways that they did.

I think what I loved most about Seraphina, was not the individual characters themselves, but the entire world Hartman created, the political aspect of the royal court and what the royal family had to go through to keep the peace in their city and with the dragons no matter their own personal feelings on the subject. Dragons are hated by most of the citizens of Goredd, who are not only scared of them, but also repulsed and that didn’t exclude certain members of the royal family.

That Hartman also broke with every other fantasy book I’ve read and set the treaty that governed the lives of her world’s inhabitants to only forty years prior instead of the standard hundreds of years created a whole new dynamic. Instead of the standard, this is the ways it’s always been done mentality people are still settling into the treaty, not many are happy with it and still some want to see it abolished. That discord within the ranks that the citizens still feel made Goredd as a place, that much more interesting.

Seraphina is a fantastic read, the whodunit mystery that wasn’t all that obvious, the political turmoil, the slight hint of romance between Seraphina and her forbidden crush, the dynamic between the two species trying to live as one people and Seraphina’s overall character had me engrossed from the start.

5-Stars-300x60

I give Seraphina 5 Stars

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~*~*Giveaway*~*~

We have a paperback copy of Seraphina to give away to one lucky international commenter! (Please ensure that Book Depository ships to your country)

All you have to do is leave a meaningful comment about the post. (There will be additional chances to win throughout Dragon Day! Stay Tuned.)

(You can read our full giveaway policy here)

Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment) AND tell is if you are international or US/Canadian!

Giveaway ends on Saturday, June 29th, 2013; we will announce the winner on Sunday.

Good luck!!!!

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***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

About Amanda


Amanda-Lee is a proudly addicted reader and writer from Sydney. She lives with her wonderful husband and their more like a baby than a kitten Hamish. Amanda-Lee has been blogging for 4 years now and is a lover of all genres, though she does have a tendancy to stray towards the weird and wonderful concotions in the paranormal and fantasy genres. In addition to being the Winged Lover on BLI she also runs the book blog StoryWings.

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31 Comments

Join the Discussion
  • Lori H June 12, 2013 at 7:31 am

    This sounds like a great summer read. Ive been looking for another read for the beach. I love books like this with dragons and mystery too. Thanks for the great review 🙂
    lorih824 at yahoo dot com

  • miki June 12, 2013 at 7:37 am

    i’m looking for some books with dragons for the challenge i’ve entered and to expend my horizon, Seraphina has caught my interest and i’m so glad to see the excellent review that really confirm my decision to add it on my wishlist
    thank you also for the giveaway
    I’m International ( belgium)

  • Diane June 12, 2013 at 8:48 am

    I’ve read a few dragon shifter books but not with the female main character as one…should be interesting!

  • Diane June 12, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Sorry, too fast on the post button, I didn’t include my email!!!
    I’ve read a few dragon shifter books but not with the female main character as one…should be interesting!

    diane dot sadler at gmail dot com
    And I’m Canadian.

  • fifi June 12, 2013 at 10:08 am

    wow, dragons :3 such a new thing for me since the only dragon I know is the one from Merlin lol

  • Viki S. June 12, 2013 at 10:41 am

    This sounds really good. I’ll be interested in checking it out. I’m having a “thing” for dragons right now too.
    I wonder about her musical talent — hmm 🙂

    vsloboda(at)gmail(dot)com

  • JenM June 12, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I read a short prequel to this book awhile back. It blew me away with how good it was. It’s been on my wishlist ever since, even though I don’t usually read YA or straight fantasy. Every review I’ve read has been pretty glowing. I would love to win a copy. US reader.

  • erinf1 June 12, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    This sounds fantastic! I’ve always liked dragons so finding a new book always makes me happy 🙂

  • JackieW June 12, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Haven’t read too many books where dragons were a part of the story but this one sounds interesting.

  • Caro The HEA Lover June 12, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    I can’t agree more Amanda. It took me forever to read it because it was so good I decided to listen to the audiobook WHILE reading it. Best 20 something hours ever!
    *g*
    Now let’s hope the sequel will live up to the 1st book.

    • draconismoi June 12, 2013 at 9:43 pm

      Hmm. I normally despise audiobooks. They take SO long.

      But the lyrical nature of the writing could (possibly) make this one a worthwhile experiment. Who was the narrator?

    • Amanda June 24, 2013 at 4:09 am

      I’m scared lol because the first book was just so good. Could the second possibly live up to it?

  • Readsalot81 June 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    I’ve heard lots of wonderful things about Seraphina, but the bit about their lack of emotions and pursuing things of intellect and power leave me very intrigued 😀 Can’t wait to check the book out!

  • Joy F June 12, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    I love reading supernatural and I really like the cover.

    • draconismoi June 12, 2013 at 9:44 pm

      The hardcover cover was also awesome. I wish they had kept it for the paperback. (insert dejected sad face).

      • Amanda June 24, 2013 at 4:08 am

        Really? I loved my cover. I don’t think I would have bought it if it had been the same as the hardcover

  • Arely Z. June 12, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    I love dragon stories, and paired with your review, I can’t wait to read this!! 🙂

  • Susan June 12, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    This is another book that’s been on my wish list for awhile (while I wait for RH to drop the price a bit). It sounds like it has all the elements for a great read, and I’m glad Amanda agrees with that assessment.

    I’ve never listened to an audio book, but I think you all will eventually get me there since you often mention how good they are. (Thanks, Caro!)

    (US)

    • Amanda June 24, 2013 at 4:10 am

      RH? Who’s that? I have always found book depo to have the cheapest prices 🙂 and no shipping unlike Amazon

  • Mary Preston June 13, 2013 at 3:17 am

    I do love dragons. The whodunit aspect is a bonus I must say.

  • JessS June 13, 2013 at 3:42 am

    Oh this sounds so good! I love the idea of dragons, the court intrigue and Seraphina sounds really awesome, especially because she’s got such a big secret. And I’ve been wanting to read more fantasy books.

    • JessS June 13, 2013 at 3:42 am

      And I’m international 🙂

  • Len D. June 13, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Been wanting to read Seraphina! I rarely want to read a story involving dragons. And I’m a fan of high fantasy books.

  • Len D. June 13, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Btw, US entry. 🙂

  • Jess1 June 14, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Sounds so complex of a story. Liked that she has an interesting profession of being a musician. US reader.

  • Chelsea B. June 14, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Oh, wow. This novel sounds stunning. Haven’t had a book that made me want to run out and buy it immediately like this one did in a long time!

  • Lily B June 15, 2013 at 11:21 am

    i don’t think I have ever read a book about dragons like that so thats pretty exciting. I have heard a lot of good enough Seraphina thought, so I have been interested. Wonderful review!

  • Aranza R June 20, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    It seems that this book takes a big theme as main plot (maybe i’m wrong, I haven´t read the book). The theme of accepting yourself the way you are, with your flaws and your oddities, and I think that´s an amazing theme to be in a book that will be read by hundreds of teens who probably trying to accept themselves and finding their place among the crowd, like Seraphina. And it´s interesting the part of dragons being all lacking emotions and more brain that anything, compared with humans that are more heart that brain. Another insteresting theme here, because I would love to read something like dragons transforming into humans and dealing with all the emotions. Maybe a message could be, that sometimes is good to feel even if those emotions hurt. And, finally, oh, it looks like Seraphina is not the damsel in distress but the hero, funny thing that Seraphina means “fiery one”, fiery is a word that makes me think of dragons. probably the name was chosen on purpose. Castles, a prince, a royal murder, a murdered, this book has it all. I´d like to read it soon. I´ve never read something by Rachel Hartman.

    I´m from US

    aranza.sept5(at)hotmail(dot)com

  • Roxana Z. June 24, 2013 at 10:30 am

    This sounds amazing! I love the fact that Seraphina it’s not the ordinary type of dragons book. A brave girl who has a secret, she is part dragon and the romance, as well as the court image makes me want to read this book. Thank you for the giveaway!
    I’m international 🙂

  • karin June 25, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    I am intersted,I am international
    cookiesmasher5@yahoo.com

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