Customer Reviews


129 Reviews
5 star:
 (66)
4 star:
 (45)
3 star:
 (10)
2 star:
 (6)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hate dragons, LOVE Seraphina
I hate dragons. I can only explain why I decided to read Seraphina by pointing out a dearth in the YA fantasy genre (where fantasy does NOT mean 'drooling over the sparkling undead') and being SO DEPRIVED that I took it, dragons and all.

And what a fantastic choice that turned out to be. I love a book so rarely. I have not loved a book this much since Kristin...
Published on 6 May 2012 by Doha

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The brutal murder of the prince that looks like it was committed by a dragon sets the people ...
I just finished reading a book called ‘Seraphina’ by Rachel Hartman. It was more of a spontaneous thing, because I had never heard of this author before and it was suggested to me by my most trusted librarian. J It’s a fantasy book which is the first in a trilogy.

A kingdom where dragons and humans have lived in peace is now at the brink of...
Published 7 months ago by Olivia ~ Olivia's Catastrophe


‹ Previous | 1 213 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hate dragons, LOVE Seraphina, 6 May 2012
By 
Doha (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I hate dragons. I can only explain why I decided to read Seraphina by pointing out a dearth in the YA fantasy genre (where fantasy does NOT mean 'drooling over the sparkling undead') and being SO DEPRIVED that I took it, dragons and all.

And what a fantastic choice that turned out to be. I love a book so rarely. I have not loved a book this much since Kristin Cashore's Fire.

Seraphina is set in a world where an uneasy peace exists between humans and dragons. Forty years before, a non-aggression treaty was signed between the species, ending the war, and allowing dragons to live in human lands, folded into their 'saarantras', their human shape. The logic-driven, mathematical dragons are fascinated by humankind's peculiarities, especially art...and emotion.

The eponymous Seraphina is a gifted musician. Soon after she comes to court, the crown prince is murdered. His body is found - but his head is not. An almost trademark dragon-kill, it comes days before the fortieth anniversary of the Treaty, and the arrival of the Ardmagar, the dragons' king. Seraphina finds herself drawn into the events at court, and more dangerously, at the hub of many of them. She has a secret to hide, and never has it been more important.

The problem with giving a synopsis for Seraphina is that you can't really give one without giving away some of the fantastic and suprising plot-points, some of which unfold in the opening pages. So instead, this: why is Seraphina worth reading?

Sometimes, especially in fantasy, you have to make a choice between plot-driven vs. character-driven stories. Seraphina? BOTH, and SPECTACULARLY so. More so for having a mythology that was so thorough and compelling. Let me reiterate that I am no fan of dragons - and yet, I could not help being fascinated just by the *description* of a dragon 'folding' itself into a human shape. What fantastic imagery.

Secondly: textured characterisation and paced exposition. The central characters (Seraphina, Orma, Glisselda, and Lucian) are all introduced right at the start, but they are slowly unfolded, with their histories and character, throughout the book - almost a metaphorical opposite of the dragons, which I find absurdly pleasing and symmetrical and well-timed. The character-events are tied very organically to the plot, so neither plot nor characterisation ever gets in each other's way - in fact, the opposite. The one draws the other ahead with each taking turns. This is so pleasing I am almost bursting with the artistic mathematism of it all.

Thirdly, again, I don't want to give anything away, but I do so like romance being a back-burner topic than a headline. Angst is so overdone. We all like a pinch of romance, but when we say 'a pinch', WE MEAN 'A PINCH', not nine yards and then some, and goodbye fast-moving plot with sympathetic characters and general all-round character-assassination. Baad.

Seraphina is likeable and relatable because she's strong, tough, smart, kind, gifted, blackly funny - and uncertain. It's her uncertainty that makes her human. Her social awkwardness, her occasional insecurity and quiet humility are all a result of her uncertainty - about herself, how she fits into her world, and at its core, how what you are defines who you are. Her voice is one you wouldn't mind in your head, because it's the voice of a friend, or perhaps another self. The secondary characters have so much texture to them - again, author-thoroughness - and you really become very attached to all of them; Orma is perhaps the most fascinating. And they all change and are changed throughout the course of the book, and maybe this is a big part of why it works. I mean, just compare where you are when you start the book, to where you are at the end.

I had one small quibble with something near the end, but I can't tell you about that. You'll have to read it. And the rest of the book made up for it. I had decided by about page 30 that I loved this book, so it almost didn't matter what happened after that. The prose is so clean - elegant, thorough, and somehow musical, as if it is exactly what it means to be. This is a book that reads nothing like a debut - it is all the reasons why I will read anything Rachel Hartman writes.

I would recommend Seraphina to EVERYONE, but maybe a wee bit more so to people who enjoy books like Kristin Cashore's (Graceling, Bitterblue, but FIRE especially - there's something about Seraphina that is very evocative of Fire). I'm actually a little bit surprised that this is classed as YA - but perhaps that's the beauty of it, to have this cross-genre appeal. That can only be good.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Amazing, 26 July 2012
By 
Jade (Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire) - See all my reviews
I must admit, I read a lot of paranormal romance books but one of my true passions is a good ol' high fantasy - Princes, dragons, mystery and scholars and thankfully this book has all of that plus some. So yeah, this book was right up my street.

I really enjoyed Seraphina. I was very worried that the book wouldn't work, with dragons that can turn human there would be a lot of plot holes and I just couldn't see how such an ambitious idea could come together, thankfully it worked well and Hartman managed to create an original and beautiful novel that was an absolute pleasure to read.

For me, the highlight of this book was Seraphina herself. it's very rare that the main character of a book is the thing that I loved the most but I really liked Phina, she was spunky and brave and also capable of showing emotion, she's definitely a character that has the vulnerable/strong balance right. I also really liked Kiggs, he was a fairytale knight in shining armour, too bad Phina isn't a damsel in distress - I loved their relationship, I loved watching it grow and I loved their interactions.

At times I got a little confused by all the places and the people mentioned in the book, as with most fantasy books there are some long names and a lot of lands to introduce so I got a little mixed up at times.

Fantasy books aren't complete without a beautiful prose and Hartman's prose is just that. The words flowed so well, I felt like this book was a pleasure to read, the way the words knitted together really gave off a fairytale/fantasy vibe and the voice was very unique, I definitely loved reading this book and cannot wait to read more from this author.

I will be impatiently waiting for the sequel!

Overall Rating: A
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book!!!, 19 July 2012
By 
Kate Phillips "Kate" (Southampton, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Seraphina (Hardcover)
Sometimes being fan of YA fiction is not easy. There are a lot of love triangles, bad writing, weak female characters and just bad storylines to sort through before you get to the good stuff. Then every now and then a book like Seraphina comes along and it makes all the effort worth it.

Seraphina is not just an amazing YA book; it is an amazing book period. Everything about it is just glorious from its title and cover (which is utterly beautiful) to the pages of writing hidden within. Seraphina is a work of art.

This book is so different from most Young Adult books. There is none of the predictably, no annoying characters and no clichés at all. It was so refreshing and such a relief. Seraphina is proof that there is still some originality out there.
From the writing to the plot there is a lot to admire here. Rachel Hartman has created a world so real and vibrant that I could almost smell the bustling city, could almost feel the dragon scales beneath my fingertips. The writing is brilliantly descriptive and it is easy to get lost within the pages.

The actual story line is marvellous. It was interesting from beginning to end and imaginative without being overdone. I found it touching and at times funny, it could make me giggle in one moment then reduce me to tears the next. It had a little bit of everything and I wanted nothing more. The plot flowed along nicely, I was never bored and the action never felt rushed.

The most important thing in all fiction is characters and it is the characters in Seraphina that take it from a good book to an outstanding one.

Seraphina is a great lead character I literally cannot think of a time where she irritated me or I thought she was being an idiot (such a rarity in YA.) She is smart, loyal, funny and brave. She is also extremely realistic. She loves openly, not just romantic love but love for her family and friends. She truly cares and is willing to give everyone an equal chance no matter whom or what they are. Despite this she is still tough. She does not have an easy life and things do not always go her way but she shows courage not only when facing danger but when facing a society that she knows will shun her if they knew what she was. She is also far from perfect. She lies, she cheats and occasionally she sulks and you love her anyway. She gets under your skin and is impossible to dislike.

Next is Kiggs. He is dashing, charming, smart and loyal. He was never dominating, never brooding and not once possessive or irritating. He is a great love interest because he is not overpowering. You do not need to hear him wax lyrical about his feels every five pages to know how he feels. He shows it in the way he is, in the things he does. He does represent the touch of romance that is present in this book but he is much more than that and the romance is not overplayed at all.
Then there is Orma. He is the second YA secondary character I have utterly and obsessively fallen in love with this year. First it was Kanin in The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa now it is Orma in Serephina. I do not know where these characters are coming from but I hope authors continue writing them. I loved Kiggs, he was totally worthy of falling in love with but he was no Orma. Orma is a little standoffish, exceedingly smart and beautifully brave. He is a bit of a nerd, wears a fake beard and is a dragon still I was not perturbed. I adored him...probably too much.

I don't know what else to say, I could go on and on and on about how marvellous this book is but this review is already 700 words long. So I will just say that I LOVED this book and that you should not walk but run to get it when it comes out. I am pretty sure you will love it to.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seraphina, 1 Aug. 2012
Seraphina is a YA fantasy book about a girl who is caught in the middle of an uneasy peace between the dragons and her kingdom Goredd after the murder of one of the princes, which gets worse with the dragons general about to arrive. Also in the mist of all this Seraphina has a secret which she has to hide or it could be deadly to her.

Seraphina is a really interesting book by Rachel Hartman which combines mystery, romance and action and also involves dragons which I love to read about although these dragons did have a bit of a twist as these dragons remind me of Vulcans from Star Trek.

I really like the action and mystery of this book as we the reader try to figure out who might have killed Prince Rufus and if there is an assassination attempt on Ardmagar Comonot, the dragons leader and general. However the romance in this book did not have the chemistry that makes a relationship believable but hopefully it will be better in the next book.

I really like Seraphina as she is a really likable character who acts in an understandable and relatable way. I also like the relationship between her, Lucian Kiggs and princess Glisselda and how it developed throughout the book.

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend this book to people who like reading YA fantasy book about dragons.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute pleasure to read, 17 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Seraphina (Paperback)
Caroline for [...]

Seraphina first captured my attention over a year ago while I was exploring Goodreads and compiling a list for our 2012 debut reading challenge. The unique woodcarving aesthetic of the cover hinted at the medieval world hidden within and the idea of dragons taking human form and living among us was immediately intriguing.

While I didn't manage to include Seraphina in my 2012 reads, I was still curious enough to add Seraphina to my personal wish list. Recent award wins; increased media attention and the paperback publication pushed the book in to the forefront of my mind. So that when fellow UK blogger Raimy ([...]) was reorganizing her bookcase, I jumped at the opportunity to rehome her hardback copy and endeavored to make it my next read.

Having been attracted to this book by the promise of the world building, I was delighted to discover a comprehensively constructed world. Without resorting to "information dumping", pages of descriptions and explanations, Hartman was able to bestow The Kingdom of Gorred with it's own monarchy, history, art, vernacular, belief systems and political and religious tensions.

The world building was so encompassing and felt so authentic, that in no time I was fully immersed in the story and had no difficulty suspending my disbelief and accepting that not only did huge fire breathing, head eating dragons exist, but that they are able to fold themselves in to human form, albeit uncomfortably, and walk around Hartman's pseudo medieval world.

All of the characters, even seemingly minor ones were well thought out and three dimensional and I loved how Hartman challenged my expectations. A character I quickly and harshly labeled in my mind as vacuous and shallow, turned out to be a loyal friend with backbone of steel and innate poise.

I adored Seraphina. Although at times she is crippled by self-doubt and self-disgust, I admired her strength of character, intelligence and determination. Whatever muddle she finds herself in, by design or accident, whether she is filling in last minute at a concert or interrogating knights, she throws herself in to the task and gives 100%. It was a joy to follow her developing from socially awkward, self-loathing keeper of secrets to a confident and hopeful young woman.

The romantic element of Seraphina was beautifully done. While there is no doubting the connection between the characters there was no sign of the dreaded "insta love", but rather a foundation of mutual respect and team work from which their relationship was allowed develop organically. Not that they don't suffer from their own brand of angst. For one thing, Lucian is promised to someone else. For another, how do you reconcile a relationship between a girl whose very existence is protected by a veil of lies, and a boy who has pledged his life to the pursuit of truth.

I was completely enamored by the experience of reading Seraphina. I found myself in that wonderfully joyful situation of total absorption and enjoyment of a book while realising that I had over fifty percent to go. All too soon though, I'd raced through the pages and found myself staring at the final chapter. Sentimental fool that I am, I delayed reading the last few pages because I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Gorred and it's inhabitants.

Verdict: Reading Seraphina was an absolute pleasure. The countdown for the July release of Dracomachia begins.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seraphina, 22 Aug. 2012
By 
S. Wilson (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I don't think I will be able to describe this book better than some of the previous reviews but I can add my twopence worth and hopefully I might tell something different. I will definitely say that I did enjoy this book and the slightly different twist on the dragon idea, it did take me a couple of chapters to 'get in to' but once I was, I was hooked.
Seraphina is a young talented musician who is also what many would consider an abomination if they knew what she was as she is half human and half dragon. Her mother (a dragon) fell in love with her father but never told him that she was a dragon and he didn't find out until Seraphina's birth, during which her mother died. How could someone not notice a great big dragon? well the dragon's in this story can change into human bodies called saarantras so her father had no idea until Seraphina's birth. Seraphina, although half dragon has got off lightly in that she only has some scales on parts of her body such as her left arm and around her middle which she ensures are kept covered at all times so as not to reveal what she is. It's a lonely life not being able to reveal what she is and knowing that she is more than likely the only one of her kind and unlikely to find love because of what she is but she has her Uncle Orma who watches over her in his saarantras form.
The main story line is that there has been a truce between dragons and humans for forty years and the dragon leader (Ardmagar Comonot) is coming to celebrate this with Queen Lavonda but recently her son has been murdered and it appears to have been a dragon who did it as Prince Rufus' body was found minus his head. Is someone trying to sabotage the treaty and if so whom? Seraphina of course ends up taking a main part in trying to find Prince Rufus' killer and finding out if and who is trying to ruin the treaty.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb debut, ace dragons, subtle romance, 8 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Rachel Hartman has created a rock solid world here, full of interesting nooks and crannies, as well as an endearingly crabby heroine and a plot which moves along at a 'must turn the next page' pace. There seems to be a great new crop of YA fantasy writers coming along - writing well-crafted prose and weaving excellent storytelling into plots which stand up to close scrutiny - RH is most certainly one of the best, along with Sarah J Mass's Throne of Glass and Leigh Bardugo's The Gathering Dark: The Grisha 1. I rarely write reviews - only for books I really like - and I'll be making this one of my books of 2012 on my Scribble City Central blog. I bought it because it was in the 'recommended for you' box on my Kindle, but I'll be buying it in hardback, because it's one I want to share with others. (That's what's REALLY annoying about the Kindle - not being able to share books with my daughter, but that's another story....).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The brutal murder of the prince that looks like it was committed by a dragon sets the people ..., 18 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Seraphina (Paperback)
I just finished reading a book called ‘Seraphina’ by Rachel Hartman. It was more of a spontaneous thing, because I had never heard of this author before and it was suggested to me by my most trusted librarian. J It’s a fantasy book which is the first in a trilogy.

A kingdom where dragons and humans have lived in peace is now at the brink of war. The brutal murder of the prince that looks like it was committed by a dragon sets the people on edge and the kingdom into chaos. Seraphina, a musician who has learnt to manage both humans and dragons equally well without favor to one or the other, soon finds her life in terrible danger as she is caught up in the middle of the turmoil. Her secret gift may be able to aid her in these difficult times. Can one girl unite two opposing races?

This book took me a while to get into. I think the first few pages were a bit slow… I didn’t quite understand what was happening exactly and the way the book jumps from present day, to flashback, and then to her dreams was kind of unexpected, so I wasn’t sure what was reality or not for a while. After the first 25 pages though, I got into the rhythm of it and sort of understood things better. On top of that, the love interest became clear there, and I mean – who doesn’t love a bit of romance?

I really loved Prince Kigg’s character the most, although Seraphina follows closely behind. Prince Kigg’s is a reflective, observant and good-natured person. He’s someone who is likely to fight for peace, isn’t afraid of what is different and notices everything around him. I’d see him as a wise person, and if he wasn’t a fictional character definitely someone I would love to know ^^

My favourite chapter has to be the last one. It had me on the edge of my seat, squealing in delight! I would rate this novel three out of five. It has the capability to be a four but the beginning brought it down a bit in that standard. Rachel Hartman definitely has a unique style to her writing, and I think that took a while for me to latch on to as well, which made the beginning even harder. But you get used to it, and I definitely want to read the sequel.

http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2014/06/seraphina-book-review.html
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Carrying the reader away, 31 Dec. 2013
By 
Alan McCluskey (Saint-Blaise, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Seraphina (Paperback)
Reading Rachel Hartman's Seraphina had me thinking about those ingredients of a story that appeal to me most, probably because her book pleased me so much. I really enjoy stories where people discover they have hidden talents or are finally able to reveal gifts that have long been kept secret, just like Seraphina, Hartman's main character. And in so doing we share her joys and pleasures as well as her difficulties if not nightmares at having such gifts.

Another facet of Hartman's book that pleased me is her exploration of the strange and how she weaves it into the story. Not a contrived strangeness trumped up for effect, but rather an unexpected shift in perspective similar to that born of creativity or humour. Who would think of wondering how a dragon would feel if trapped in a human body and the impact that could have on the uneasy cohabitation between humans and dragons?

Like many stories that feed on suspense, Hartman's book is driven forward by the constant threats that hang over Seraphina, but not to the extent that she wallows in unending pain and misery dragging down the reader with her. The author avoids having the reader cringe about what horrible plight will befall Seraphina next. Yet at the same time, the story is far from tame, which is often the fate of those that spare their main character the pain and suffering.

Perhaps the ingredient that delights me most in such a story is being privy to the blossoming love between two powerful but apparently unreconcilable characters, long before they are aware of the forces at play and then the delight when that love is finally perceived and shared by the two concerned. Succeeding such a progressive flourishing of love requires deft craftsmanship.

All in all, I immensely enjoyed this book and, although there were a few moments when my attention flagged, generally when the author grappled with introducing complex story elements, I can warmly recommend it.

Review first published on Secret Paths.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An uneasy truce, laced with suspicion between Shape-shifting Dragons and Humans, 25 July 2012
By 
Susman "Sussman" (London Mills IL) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
For a number of decades there has been an uneasy peace and a degree of wariness between human beings and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. The dragons have the ability to fold themselves into human shape. Some of these dragons attend the court as ambassadors, they use their intellect, and logical scientific minds at universities in the form of scholars and teachers.

In the book we are introduced to our main lead character Seraphina Dombegh she is an unusually gifted musician, who joins the Royal court. Her timing coincides just as a member of the royal family is murdered-- the murder appears to be have been caused by a dragon. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation. Her partner, in the investigation, is a captain of the Queen's Guard, Lucian Kiggs, and a very perceptive investigator. They begin to uncover hints of a conspiracy to destroy the now fragile peace; Seraphina also has problems of her own as she struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so dreadful that its discovery could mean her very life.

Rachel Hartman, the author, has written a very good fantasy novel she creates a rich fabric, and complex tapestry of the world of Goredd. This is a very original, intricately detailed world. Some detractors have said that too much time and explanation was given over to creating the world, although I disagree. The strong female lead in the form of Seraphina, the way which her painfully journey to self-acceptance is portrayed is done exceedingly well. A very good read and strongly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 213 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Seraphina
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (Paperback - 3 Jan. 2013)
£7.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews