Seraphina
by Hartman, Rachel






In a world where dragons and humans coexist in an uneasy truce and dragons can assume human form, Seraphina, whose mother died giving birth to her, grapples with her own identity amid magical secrets and royal scandals, while she struggles to accept and develop her extraordinary musical talents.





As a child, RACHEL HARTMAN played cello, lip-synched Mozart operas with her sisters, and fostered the deep love of music that inspired much of her award-winning debut novel, Seraphina. Born in Kentucky, Rachel has lived in Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, England, and Japan. She now lives with her family in Vancouver, Canada.  A New York Times bestseller, Seraphina won the William C. Morris Award, received eight starred reviews and was named to multiple “best of” lists. To learn more, please visit SeraphinaBooks.com or RachelHartmanbooks.com.





*Starred Review* Hartman proves dragons are still fascinating in this impressive high fantasy. After 40 years of peace between human and dragon kingdoms, their much-maligned treaty is on the verge of collapse. Tensions are already high with an influx of dragons, reluctantly shifted to human forms, arriving for their ruler Ardmagar Comonot's anniversary. But when Prince Rufus is found murdered in the fashion of dragons-that is, his head has been bitten off-things reach a fever pitch. Seraphina, a gifted court musician, wants only to go unnoticed as the investigation draws close: she is the unthinkable, a human-dragon half-breed, and her secret must be protected. But when Prince Lucian Kiggs asks for her help with the murder investigation, she has no choice but to become involved, even if Kiggs' acute perceptiveness is a danger to her. Equal parts political thriller, murder mystery, bittersweet romance, and coming-of-age story, this is an uncommonly good fantasy centered upon an odd but lovable heroine who narrates in a well-educated diction with an understated, flippant tone. Fantasy readers young and old who appreciate immersion into a rich new culture will not mind the novel's slow build, especially as it takes wing and hurtles toward the stratosphere. This is an exciting new series to watch. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.





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. The dragons could destroy the humans, but they are too fascinated by them. As musician Seraphina describes it, attempting to educate the princess, humans are like cockroaches to dragons, but interesting. As the anniversary of the treaty approaches, things fall apart: The crown prince has been murdered, anti-dragon sentiment is rising, and in the midst of it all, an awkward, gifted, observant girl unexpectedly becomes central to everything. Hartman has remixed her not-so-uncommon story and pseudo-Renaissance setting into something unexpected, in large part through Seraphina's voice. By turns pedantic, lonely, scared, drily funny and fierce, Seraphina brings readers into her world and imparts details from the vast (a religion of saints, one of whom is heretical) to the minute (her music, in beautifully rendered detail). The wealth of detail never overwhelms, relayed as it is amid Seraphina's personal journey; half-human and half-dragon, she is anathema to all and lives in fear. But her growing friendship with the princess and the princess' betrothed, plus her unusual understanding of both humans and dragons, all lead to a poignant and powerful acceptance of herself. Dragon books are common enough, but this one is head and talons above the rest. (cast of characters, glossary) (Fantasy. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.





"He was going to kill you," I said, my chin quivering.  "I had to do something."

Damn propriety.  Forgive me, St. Clare.  

I stepped forward and took him in my arms.  He was exactly my height, which surprised me; my awe of him had made him seem taller.  He emitted a whimper of protest, or maybe surprise, but wrapped his arms around me and buried his face in my hair, half weeping, half scolding me.

"Life is so short," I said, not sure why I was saying it, not even sure if that was really true for someone like me.

We were still standing there, clinging to each other, our feet ice-cold in the snow, when Orma landed on the next hilltop, followed closely by Basind.  Kiggs lifted his head and stared at them, big-eyed.  My heart fell.

I'd told him I had no devices.  I'd lied right to the prince's face, and here was the proof: the dragon I'd called, and his dimwitted sidekick.






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