Seraphina Rachel Hartman Book Review

I shall start this review by shouting DRAGONS! You see, the cover and the promise of dragons is what initially attracted me to Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. Y’all, Seraphina has dragons in spades. For real, if you are craving female centered, medieval-esque setting fantasy, Seraphina is your ticket.

Seraphina Rachel Hartman Book Cover

Goredd is a medieval kingdom where there is a treaty of peace between humans and dragons. Yet, the treaty is hardly indicative of human dragon relations – you see, humans are quite mistrustful of dragons. The dragons have this ability where they can take on human form to study and such. A murder of a prince causes people to look upon the dragons with suspicion.

Seraphina, star of the story, is beyond talented musically. She is the assistant to the court musician — she is in charge of the concert for  the treaty anniversary celebration. However, Seraphina is then sucked into the murder investigation, assisting Lucian Kiggs, a prince who is ENGAGED to someone that is NOT Seraphina.

Cue a dramatic OH NO right here! And friends, Seraphina has a secret — she is half dragon, which FYI is FORBIDDEN! I KNOW! Christ on a cracker, did I love Seraphina’s character arc. She’s very much an other trying to hide her outsider status and pass for 100% human. We see her struggle with who she is. Yet, Rachel Hartman does a great job of painting the path to self-acceptance as being a slow, arduous journey and not something that happens over night.

Another thing I loved about Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina is the fact that the world Hartman builds HAS RULES. Like no one is in a perfect situation. The dragons are not fans of having emotion and think love is a sign of weakness. Humans are physically weak compared to dragons, yet have the ability to be creative beyond perfect technique. Then there are the halflings – half human and half dragon like Seraphina who have to hide what they are because the idea of their existence is reprehensible to both sides. So, it seems nobody has it perfectly and the societies within Seraphina have rather rigid structures — which is something that enhances my personal sense of story and place.

Rachel Hartman’s debut is rather impressive and never takes the easy route for the characters involved. Seraphina is filled with multidimensional characters, surprises, lovely prose and a fantastical murder mystery. As I reader I was unable to immediately finger the killer, which rocks. Straight up, if you like dragons and kissing and well-built worlds, I absolutely recommend Seraphina to you.

Disclosure: Received for review via Netgalley.

Other reviews of Seraphina by Rachel Hartman:

Life After Jane – “when what you feel is just a big ball of love and light with no words

Young Adult Anonymous – “part game of spies, part comedy of manners, and part Law & Order: Dragon Investigations Unit

Bibliophilic Monologues – “The magic of Seraphina is in its approach to the story

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Exactly!

  2. Yeah, dragons was the number one thing that called to me when I was looking at this book but then there was SO MUCH MORE! One of my favorite reads and I’m eagerly anticipating more!

  3. Dragons? (Half-Dragon??) Court Musician? Sign me up! This sounds absolutely fantastic, and I am realizing I don’t read near enough of this type of book!

    The world building sounds great too, which is something really important to me lately!

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  4. I’ve only read one dragon book but this one sounds so interesting! Thanks for the review 🙂

    Steph: Short and Sweet

  5. Thanks for the review! I’ve read a couple of reviews of this book, now, and no one has anything bad to say about it! Like you, I’m totally into dragons, kissing, AND murder mysteries, so this book is quite high on my list! 😀

  6. I have this on my ‘read really soon’ pile and I’m soooo excited about it! I love dragons, kissing, and awesome worlds! I can’t wait to get started on it.

  7. Yay! I thought you’d love this one, because, well, all of those things you said! This one was so awesome. I loved how well-built her world was too. Like she told you how that society worked, and you knew. Very structured and planned.

  8. Dragons!!! I have had this one for a while now (thanks NetGalley) but haven’t finished it. What is wrong with me?! I need to get on it stat!

  9. I debated putting this book on hold when I saw my library had ordered it. I will now for sure. Thanks for the review!

  10. I’ve heard SUCH good things about this one! I have it on hold at the library and am anxiously awaiting for them to get it in. I like that this world has rules too because it makes everything more interesting. So excited for this one!

  11. I’ve got grabby fingers over Seraphina! DRAGONS. I need this in my life.

  12. Fun Cat Fact: I spent an agonizing 25 minutes trying to decide which edition of this book to buy on Book Depository the other night. I flipped between the US and the UK ones over and over and over. I was going to ask my husband which he thought I should get, but then I would have given away the fact that I was buying books — a day after I had just bought an insane amount of books and promised it would be the last splurge in a while. So that idea was nixed. In the end, I bought the UK edition because it was paperback and not hardback, but I am still drawn to the US cover. I might end up with both editions… oh dear.

    The end.

  13. Saw this one at the book store today, with my arms already full. Glad I didn’t read this review BEFORE I went, or I would have had to add it to the pile. Oh well, one for the next trip. Loved your review.

  14. I am so excited for Seraphina for the same reason you liked it – DRAGONS! I can’t wait to read this.

  15. So I got this to review through the Ambuzzador program on Randombuzzers, but high fantasy totally isn’t my thing. However, I AM a fan of well-built worlds, kissing, and murder mysteries, so you’ve made me a little more condifent about reading this one :]

  16. All right, it’s official – I need to read this one. I think this is the millionth positive review I’ve read so I need to get with the times 🙂

  17. As someone who is just starting this epic Seraphina journey, I confirm that I am LOVING all of the things.


  18. oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh!
    why haven’t i read this?
    i can’t even give caps to the correct letters.
    i’m having book-need issues right now.
    this is an asheley-book.
    aaahhhh asldkflaksjdf.


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  3. […] “Seraphina is filled with multidimensional characters, surprises, lovely prose and a fantastical murder mystery.” – April @ Good Books and Good Wine […]