Seraphina by Rachel Hartman



Description (from Goodreads): 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.

Title: Seraphina

Author: Rachel Hartman

Page Count: 451

Series: Book #1 (I don’t know how many books it will be, but not all of the books are out yet)

How I Got This Book: Bought

My Review:

Dragons. Kick butt females. Dragons. Lots of action. Dragons. Secrets. Dragons. Romance. Dragons. Suspense. Dragons. Dragons. And DRAGONS!

Did I mention that there are dragons?

Because there are dragons.

Okay, but seriously. I was expecting to like this book. But I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. For some reason when I bought this, I wasn’t even thinking of the possibility that this could one day be one of my favorite books. But now it is.

But let me start at the beginning. Literally. From the very first page there was just something about this world that completely awed me. Completely sucked me in and utterly intrigued me. There was something that I couldn’t name that was locking me into it like a hidden force.

The first few pages, first couple of chapters actually, are pretty confusing. Things are so metaphorical that you never know if something was a metaphor or not. But once the story gets rolling, it is from event to event and not the world setup.

There are a lot of new words to learn, but thankfully, in the back of my copy, there was a dictionary of the new words and phrases. There is also a lot to learn about this world and the way it works. But again, once the story gets rolling, you feel like you are there.

But even despite the semi-confusion there is something so gripping and intriguing about this fantasy world.

AND DRAGONS!!!! So this book basically revolves around dragons that can make themselves look like humans. So there is this city that has all human people, and the saar’s. A saar, as you will learn in the book, is a dragon in human form. They are supposed to wear a silver bell so that the humans can identify them. We soon learn that the dragons are not as welcome as they appear, so that is the rising tension and conflict.

The plotting of this book was superb! I never really knew how something was going to turn out, and there were a dozen little threads of complexity streaming through the story. There was never a moment where I was bored, or where nothing was happening. Every word of this book, just a fair warning, is a hint to something. There is not one word in this book that doesn’t compel the story forward and foreshadow something else.

And the characters. The characters were probably the best part of this book. And that is saying something. I was going to have an overall “I liked all of the characters for this reason” type section for these guys, but I just can’t do it. So I have to tell you what I thought of each of the main characters separately, because they all have so many layers.

Let us start with Lucian. Oh, Lucian. I was never really sure what was going on with him, until the end of the book. I really liked the mystery that sort of clouded him from the reader’s eyes. I also really admired the way that his character developed and changed through the story. I also really enjoyed the way that he reacted to things. I can’t say too much about that for spoilery reasons, but I really, really liked it. He always seemed to know what to do. But then in certain instances you could see where his heart truly laid, because he would be caught off guard more easily and not really know what to do next.

Next is Orma. I really liked his character. For the first few chapters of the book, I didn’t really understand who he was, or what role he played in Seraphina’s life. But that became more apparent as the book went on. We also learn in the first few chapters that he is a dragon, but he doesn’t wear the bell. The reason for him not wearing the bell still has me a little puzzled. Just because there are so many elements to this fantasy world that the whole scholar system is something I couldn’t grasp very easily.

And then we also have Lars. I really can’t say much about his character without spoiling the entire thing. I am seriously writing on eggshells here. But I loved the mystery of his character, and all his different moods. He seemed so simple that he was actually complex. I also really loved his protective streaks near the end of the book. In case you can’t tell from my other reviews, I love protective characters. It is the sweetest thing in the whole book world!

This book actually has such a large cast of characters that it would take hours to tell you my thoughts on all of them. So I just talked about my favorites. Well, except for Seraphina, but she goes into this next part of the review, because she is quite different.
So the next part of this review is about the emotions in this book. The emotions played such a strong role in this book that they were almost like another character.

This is where Seraphina comes in. The emotions were the most potently present in her. We learn within the first few pages/chapters that Seraphina has some dragon blood. So she isn’t supposed to be able to feel things. And so she was always trying to hold back her emotions. And not in the way that she was hiding them from others, but she was hiding them from herself. She was trying to not let herself feel. That being said the feelings would catch up with her slowly and then drown her until she could conquer them again. Those were my favorite scenes. The scenes with such powerful waves of emotion.

She would try to tame her feelings for someone, and by making them milder for the time being, she made them stronger in the long run. Destroying herself slowly.

I also really enjoyed the way she always felt like she had to hide. She was so reserved and quiet. The way that all of these emotions were executed was just very well done.

The emotions also played a very strong role outside of Seraphina, because the dragons can’t feel emotion. They don’t believe in music or art or love. They banish all feelings for the sake of order and predictableness. (I just made that word up, can you tell? Haha)

So in short about the emotions, I really just loved the way that the emotions were restrained and then flooded the pages all of a sudden.

That is really all I have to say about Seraphina that isn’t spoilery. So if you have not yet read this book, scroll past the next section until you see a warning that the spoilers are over.


Okay, so we have all read this book. Right? If not, then why are you here non-Seraphina reader?

I loved how there was nothing dirty or smutty in this book. That made the romance richer. It was pure emotion, not really physical. That being said, I really loved the message of loving someone for who they are and not caring about their external flaws.

Seraphina and Lucian are so cute together. I love their little inside jokes. And that they are kind of awkward around each other. Because, neither of them feel like they are in the position to talk to the other the way they want to. Not to mention Seraphina’s secrets. But I loved the way they overcame it. It didn’t take some big “talk it out” session. It just took each other’s presence.

I also really loved the way the emotional aspect of the relationships were done. Like with Phina and Lucian, there was a lot of confusing emotions going on with Seraphina. She was trying to not let herself feel. To make herself think like a dragon. But then it came in waves. And she realized that she loved him. And then the emotions got stronger and the way that it was written made it so fierce and believable.

And the relationship with Lars and Abdo and the other grotesques. Like they were connected but not. It was weird all of a sudden reading about them as characters and not as props. But the way it was done was crazy good.

On the subject of grotesques, I LOVED that aspect of the book! I loved the visions and memories and the mind-garden. I loved that whole setting and the whole idea of it.
That is really all I have for this spoilery section. I have so much to say about this book, but not the words to say any of it.


I just have way too much to say about this book. I don’t really have anything to criticize, though. This book was just plain amazing. I loved every moment of it! If you have not yet read Seraphina, you should. Like, now.

For those of you who HAVE read this book: What was your favorite part? Who was your favorite character? Favorite grotesque? Did you like the music aspect of the book? What about the dragons? Did you see the reveal at the end coming? Tell me the answers, and anything else you want to say, in the comments! I would love to hear your thoughts on this book!

Add this book on Goodreads!: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Don’t miss the sequel (I can’t wait to read it!) {Click on the cover for the Goodreads link!}

Shadow Scale
My overall rating:



5 thoughts on “Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

  1. Charisma C. says:

    I read Seraphina and I completely agree with you on everything! 😉

    What was your favorite part?
    I would have to say the end where Lucian and Seraphina are talking in the tower (trying so hard not to ruin anything). That part was just amazing. 🙂

    Who was your favorite character?
    It’s a three-way tie with Lucian, Orma and Princess Glisselda. They are just great characters!

    Favorite grotesque?
    Abdo and Dame Okra! They are so awesome! 😀

    Did you like the music aspect of the book?
    That was one of the best parts about the books. Seriously. Rachel Hartman did a superb job creating the musical aspect of this book.

    What about the dragons?
    Wow. Just wow. There was so many wonderful things about the dragons that I can’t say anything about them.

    Did you see the reveal at the end coming?
    I saw it coming, I just didn’t think it would happen like that.

    Great review on Seraphina!

    I think that Shadow Scales is the final book. But I’m not positively sure, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • becomingbookish says:

      Thank you so much for your amazing comment! I agree with basically everything you said! haha. Thank you so much, and I am so glad that you liked my review!

      Yeah, I’m not sure how many books are going to be in the series…




  2. whimsicalpalateblog says:

    Excellent review Jamie!

    My favorite part?
    Definitely the relationships.

    Favorite character?
    Probably Seraphina and Lucian…can’t pick one 😉

    Favorite grotesque?
    Dame Okra

    Music aspect?
    Super cool how it was integrated into the book.


    Reveal at the end? Yes…and no…I thought it would be a little different, but yes, overall I guess I saw it coming!

    Loved this book!

    Liked by 1 person

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