Seraphina (novel)

Seraphina is a 2012 fantasy novel by Rachel Hartman and is her debut novel.[1][2] The book was published on July 10, 2012, by Random House Publishing and was ranked at number 8 The New York Times Best Seller list in its first week of publication.[3] Seraphina was awarded the 2013 William C. Morris Award for the best young adult work by a debut author. Foreign language rights to the novel have been sold in twenty languages, including Spanish[4] and Hebrew.[citation needed] A sequel entitled Shadow Scale came out in 2015,[5][6][7] and a companion novel Tess of the Road set in the same milieu was published in 2018.

Cover of the novel Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (US edition)
Davidson cover of first edition
AuthorRachel Hartman
Cover artistAndrew Davidson
GenreYoung adult fantasy novel
PublisherRandom House
Publication date
July 10, 2012
Media typePrint (hardcover and electronic book) and audio-CD
LC ClassPZ7.H26736Se 2012


Seraphina is set in the kingdom of Goredd and follows the sixteen-year-old Seraphina, a court musician. She's drawn into a murder mystery when the Crown Prince of Goredd, Rufus, is found decapitated in a manner that insinuates that he was murdered by dragons. The murder occurs on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the signing of a treaty that ended the war between humans and dragons. Dragons can take human form but find human emotions baffling, which only lends to the continuing distrust and hatred between them and humans.


Hartman had initially written about the kingdom of Goredd in a graphic novel entitled Amy Unbounded. In an interview with Suvudu, Hartman stated that she had difficulty drawing dragons and that she had chosen to make them transform into humans as an "easier way" to illustrate them.[7]


Reception for Seraphina has been positive,[8][9][10][11] with the book gaining starred reviews from eight review sites and being listed by the Center for Children's Books.[12][13][14] Kirkus Reviews also praised the book, calling it "splendid".[15] A reviewer for The Washington Post commented that Hartman was able to "infuse [the] tired trope [of fictional dragons] with fresh blood".[6] SFX gave the novel four and half stars, citing the prose as "beautiful".[16] The Quill & Quire also remarked that the book stands out from "standard dragon fare", with the language and music themes in the book working well with Hartman's prose.[17] Publishers Weekly chose the book as one of its "Best New Books for the Week of July 9, 2012",[18] saying that "there’s a lot to enjoy in Hartman’s debut".[19] Reviewers for the School Library Journal praised Hartman's style as well as the narration for the audiobook.[20][21]


Seraphina was a finalist for the Canadian 2012 Governor General's Literary Award in the category of Children's Text.[22] On January 28, 2013, it received the 2013 William C. Morris Award, awarded to best young adult book published in the US by a debut author.[23] Seraphina has been shortlisted for in 2013 Waterstone's Children's Book Prize in the teen book category,[24] and won the 2012 Cybils Award for best young adult fantasy or science fiction novel.[25] It was runner-up for the 2013 William L. Crawford Fantasy Award.[26] In the UK Seraphina has been placed on the longlist for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2013, with the shortlist to be announced in March 2013.[27] Seraphina is also short-listed for the 2012 Kitschies Golden Tentacle Award and the Andre Norton Award.


  1. ^ Lee, Stephan. "See the trailer and an excerpt from Seraphina by Rachel Hartman -- EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  2. ^ "Rachel Hartman | San Diego Comic-Con 2012". MTV Geek. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  3. ^ "NY Times Best Sellers (Children's Chapter Books) July 29, 2012". Retrieved 2012-07-20.
  4. ^ "seraphina | Search Results | Rachel Hartman". Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  5. ^ "OMG!". Rachel Hartman (official website). Retrieved 2012-07-16.
  6. ^ a b Quattlebaum, Mary (July 3, 2012). "Rachel Hartman's 'Seraphina': Rich tale about dragons". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  7. ^ a b STAGGS, MATT. "SDCC 2012: Interview with Rachel Hartman". Suvudu. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  8. ^ "Review: Seraphina". Booklist. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  9. ^ "Review: Seraphina". Horn Book. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  10. ^ Dobbs, Michael Ann. "What if Dragons were more like Vulcans who breathe fire?". io9. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  11. ^ "Audiobook Reviews: Seraphina". AudioFile. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  12. ^ "Starred Reviews from the August 2012 Issue". School Library Journal. Retrieved 2012-08-16.
  13. ^ "BCCB – September 2012 Stars". Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. Retrieved 2012-09-01.
  14. ^ "Starred YA Book Reviews 2012". Youth Services Corner. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  15. ^ "SERAPHINA By Rachel Hartman (Author)". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  16. ^ Clark, Nic. "Seraphina by Rachel Hartman REVIEW". SFX. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  17. ^ Ellis, Sarah. "Seraphina by Rachel Hartman". Quill and Quire. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  18. ^ Habash, Gabe. "PW Picks: The Best New Books for the Week of July 9, 2012". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  19. ^ "Children's Review: Seraphina". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  20. ^ "Review: Seraphina". School Library Journal. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  21. ^ "Multimedia Reviews: October 2012". School Library Journal. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  22. ^ "GG2012". Canada Council for the Arts. Retrieved 2012-12-06.
  23. ^ "American Library Association announces 2013 youth media award winners". American Library Association. Archived from the original on 2013-01-31. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  24. ^ "Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2013 – shortlists announced". Waterstones. Archived from the original on 2009-10-15. Retrieved 2013-02-14.
  25. ^ "The 2012 Cybils Awards". The Cybils. Retrieved 2013-02-14.
  26. ^ "2013 Crawford Award". Locus Online News. Retrieved 2013-02-14.
  27. ^ "Longlists announced for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals". CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. Retrieved 2012-12-06.

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