Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

UK cover of Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, UK edition cover.

Title: Seraphina (Seraphina #1)
Author: Rachel Hartman
Genre: Sword and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Doubleday (19th July 2012)

A fragile peace has been achieved in the realm of Goredd, and dragons and humans live together in harmony.

But the truce is shattered when a royal prince is brutally murdered – could dragons be to blame?

Seraphina, a talented court musician harbouring secrets of her own, is drawn into the investigation and uncovers a darker plot, one that threatens the very existence of the kingdom. And soon her own life is in terrible danger as she fights to hide the secret behind her amazing gift . . .

Rating: *** (3 stars)

I am a fan of a good sword and sorcery fantasy with a strong female lead. The fact that Seraphina also has dragons, and is recommended by several of my favourite writers, sold this book to me. I had to give it a try, even if I wasn’t a fan of the UK cover.

This book has some really neat ideas in it, and I think Hartman does a brilliant job of making the world believable. The dragons in this book were really interesting not just because they could take a human form, but also because Hartman remembered to make them not human – they didn’t really understand human emotions, and were quite logical and therefore removed  from the world.

Seraphina makes an interesting narrator and protagonist. I did find her difficult to relate to, but I think this really worked for several reasons – it tied in with the idea that she was hiding herself, even as she was narrating her own story, and it also linked with the idea that there were parts of her own character that Seraphina hid from.

The pacing of the story was a little slow, and I didn’t really feel like there was much tension in the plot either from Seraphina’s secrets or the conspiracy. However, despite this I really enjoyed reading it and finding out how things would be resolved. I loved the world Hartman created, and I look forward to re-visiting it in future books.

5 thoughts on “Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

  1. I think it’s interesting Publishers Weekly and the NYT called Seraphina one of the best books of 2012, yet most book bloggers give it 3-4 starts reviews. I’ll have to give it a try (although I agree, this UK cover is not great). Great review!


  2. To be honest I’ve seen a lot more 5 star reviews than anything else among reviewers. Take a peek at the ratings on for example.


    • I think it has recieved a lot of mixed reviews – though I honestly haven’t seen one below 3 stars. It’s got a rating of 4.12 on Goodreads – I can’t comment about as I don’t use the site, though it seems to be about a 4.5 on It just didn’t have that spark for me to make it a 4 or 5 star. I wanted it to as I think it has an interesting concept, that being said I am looking forward to reading the next book.


  3. Pingback: Looking Back at 2013 on The Flutterby Room | The Flutterby Room

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