SeraphinaSeraphinaSeraphina by Rachel Hartman by Rachel Hartman

I want to say that covers don’t sway me when I’m selecting books to read, but that’s not true. I can absolutely fall for a gorgeous cover (although a weak description can make me put the book aside, beautiful cover or not). Seraphina was one where the cover caught my eye and the description sounded appealing enough. Sold! Or, borrowed at least, as this was another library book for me. đŸ™‚

While the book itself doesn’t fully live up to that cover, it’s a solid-enough entry in the fantasy realm that I’ll look for the second book. I want to know what happens with Seraphina, the dragons, the princess and the prince.

What didn’t work so well for me, and kept this from being a YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW review? The pacing is a bit slow at times (or at least uneven). There is a big section early in the book where Seraphina is “tending” her “mental garden” that is so boring to read. It ends up mattering, but I mostly skimmed it – I hate reading dream sequences in novels, and this was too much like a dream sequence. Some plot points seemed too obvious. Of course this or that is going to happen, the only question was when or how. And one big inconsistency with the prince annoyed me to no end. It’d be a big spoiler to say what it is though, so if you want to know, highlight the area below:

The prince is sooooo big on full honesty from Seraphina, right? But is he being fully honest with the princess, his fiance? When is he going to mention the little thing he’s got going on with Seraphina?? I know, it’s not a love match or anything, but the princess so far seems pretty awesome and she deserves better than those two and what they’re doing behind her back.

So, to sum up: it shows a lot of promise, but it could have been much better. I’ll look for the second book in the series, but it’s not the highest priority for me. If you’re a die-hard fantasy fan, you may want to try it, but I wouldn’t suggest it for those new to the genre. This won’t convert you.

Publisher’s Description:
In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, “Some of the most interesting dragons I’ve read in fantasy.”

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.

Book Details

Title: SeraphinaSeraphina by Rachel Hartman
Author: Rachel Hartman
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
My Rating: 3 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


  1. Seems we had similar sentiments on this book. My review is at Thanks for the book suggestion. I have a fifth grade teacher friend who reads my blog for suggestions of read-aloud possibilities, so perhaps she has a classroom full of dragon lovers this year.

    • We had very similar feelings towards this book! I’m on hold now for book #2 – curious to see how it is.


  1. […] Scale concludes the story begun in Seraphina, which I enjoyed enough to look forward to reading the […]

Leave a Comment