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 her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.
In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one listeners will remember long after the narrative ends.
©2012 Rachel Hartman (P)2012 Listening Library
"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 best-selling author of Eragon)
"A book worth hoarding, as glittering and silver-bright as dragon scales, with a heroine who insists on carving herself a place in your mind." (Naomi Novik, New York Times best-selling author of the Temeraire series)
"Seraphina is strong, complex, talented - she makes mistakes and struggles to trust, with good reason, and she fights to survive in a world that would tear her apart. I love this book!" (Tamora Pierce, New York Times best-selling author of the Beka Cooper series)
I am an adult who loves a good YA read---but really I just love an engrossing story. If it pulls me in and I can't stop reading-I'm happy!
My initial reaction to this novel (a week or so after I finished listening to it) is to reflect on my connection with Seraphina. A girl with an amazing talent who actively seeks to hide her talent in order to not draw attention to herself because of a difference that could get her killed. I am surprised that in a world so fantastical it requires a great deal of careful sculpting and building that my first thoughts are of this character. Seraphina's struggle helps ground the world. Seraphina, at the beginning of the novel, has defined and viewed herself based off of an identity that she didn't choose but was born with. She is caught between two races with each not even wanting to acknowledge her existence. She has grown up with shame and without a true connection with anyone just because she is alive. In our world people often treated differently based on factors they were born with --- I'm sure I don't need to tell you--- the reality of these situations just really hit me on an emotional level.
The world building: the religion, languages, differences between cultures--are very well done. I thought it was beautifully written and well thought out.
I don't want to comment too much on the romance--but it is a slow build and felt natural. I--I read another review that said she could not remember was Lucian looked like...and neither can I. Their relationship is built on similarities and understanding--and not without it's issues---really refreshing.
And intrigue--can this fragile balance between the dragons and the humans be sustained? Who is plotting the downfall of the peace and why? Can Seraphina help the Prince with his investigations without giving up her secret?
If you like fantasy---I can't imagine a reason why you wouldn't enjoy this read.
Fantasy, adventure, sci-fi, mysteries, and poetry- just a few of my favorite genres.
I began listening to this book and I must say that I like the story very much: the mythology, the backstories, the characters, the emotions- Rachel Hartman is an excellent storyteller, hence the 4 stars. However, for me, this is not a book one just LISTENS to. I found myself having to rewind the book a couple times because I did not understand something, but I decided to give up and carry on with listening to it. I am a college student and often like listening to something while taking the bus to and from school, but this just did not do it for me.
For me, this is a book that must be read and if it is to be narrated, the narrators must do it justice and for me the narrators did not. So a word of advice- buy the book itself because it is a great investment, the audiobook is not.
The best and I have listened to a ton of audiobooks!
When Seraphina confronted her grandfather and told him that she was his grandaughter
The narrator was awesome! Perfect for this book! I am forty years old and this book had me crying in places. Truly a beautiful wonderous Fairy Tale!
Say something about yourself!
Most definitely. Hartman has a complete world here. The history and culture are complete, not created as she goes along. The characters are engaging, the relationships complex and real. I like the steam punk feel. I look forward to spending time with these characters, again.
I think I liked Seraphina's relationship with her uncle, Orma, the most.
I have not, but I did enjoy this one.
Not exactly. I didn't want to rush through so that it was over too quickly. But it was hard to stop.
deep and emotionally moving.
well, I certainly enjoyed the musical parts.
I'd have to say where she digs her own scales trying to get them off.
It was wonderful for me to have the main character be a gifted Psalmist!
This book is deep and mature. Exquisite writing. In fact, some of the best recent fantasy writing I've encountered. The author's voice reminds me of Gail Carson Levine.
Wisely, the author assumes you will catch on to her world and doesn't bother trying to explain everything. You just gradually catch on.
It was very interesting for me that at the beginning, the church music that made Seraphina overflow with joy she described as "masculine". I think that is what good church music is -- masculine in a way that is healing and transforming.
Having said that, I find this book to be very feminine. There were some good action sequences, but much of the book, seen through the eyes of Seraphina, deals with the type of negotiations and intense murder attempts found in Royal courts.
The romantic parts of this book were extremely well done and did not degrade into becoming overly bawdy.
The gut wrenching painful things Seraphina feels (both emotionally and physically) from not wanting to have Dragon blood in her veins were very moving. It was something we could all relate to and having parts of ourselves that we wish we could get rid of. But then, God ends up using those parts in our lives.
Overall, as a guy, this book increased my sensitivity to many female issues. I tried to figure out the worldview of the author, but I honestly say that having gotten to the end of the book, that still remains a mystery. Which is a good thing.
Intriguing enough to read twice.
The writing was so tight. Ms. Hartman has a good editor. Only the words that were needed were there. It was so intricately written.
Seraphina. Because she was smart and brave.
Scenes with alma and criggs
Listen to it. It is lovely and captivating.
Beautiful narration and a wonderful story. Enjoyed by our whole family, including our children. The story was first rate and I look forward Rachel Hartman's next!
I was mesmerized by this story! Hartman has created a fantastical world of humans and dragons that would do very well in a HISTORY classroom. Seriously! The trials and tribulations that groups such as Native Americans, African-Americans, and Hispanic Americans have faced - such as racism, segregation, and forced removal - blossom in this story. It was so touching yet so very relevant to what young people need to understand about what our country (US) has done to those who are "different" from the people in power. Beyond the social aspects, it was an intriguing story in itself. Highly recommended to readers of all ages.
I listen to Audible books in the car on my commute. This is one of the books I couldn't stop listening too. The story starts out a little vague and confusing but comes into focus over the first few hours.
Seraphina's character came to life so vividly that I felt the strong emotions as if they were the result of something happening in my own life. The story is excellent, and the narrator is one of the best I've listened too.
I will definitely be looking for more Rachel Hartman books.
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