Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Posted on

Genre: Fantasy

Young Adult Library Services Association 2013 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults pick

A 2013 ALA Notable Book for Children

A 2013 Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book

This was an excellent read – I had trouble putting it down at times!

Seraphina takes place in an imaginary land (medieval in nature) in which dragons take on human form and intermingle with humans. However, the treaty they have made with the citizens of this land to co-exist peacefully is in jeopardy. It is up to the heroine, Seraphina, and her friends to save the day when the peace of the land is threatened. However, Seraphina has secrets of her own to keep, which threatens her friendships and hinders her mission.

The story itself is nothing too remarkable – the mystery keeps you reading even if some parts of the outcome are predictable and the romance is charming if ordinary. I’m hard pressed to say just what about this book I loved so much other than that it was suspenseful, romantic and fun. I think part of it lies in the complexity of the story and the characters, which is difficult to create while maintaining readability and enjoyment.

Seraphina herself is a wonderful character – strong, interesting, likable and relatable. She has none of the annoying tics so many female characters exhibit and her behavior seems genuine and real. There’s little of the typical frustrations associated with typical romances, chick lit, fantasy, etc – nothing to make you roll your eyes and wonder why they don’t just (insert logical behavior here). I wound up really loving the characters and their story.

I also loved that Seraphina accomplished so well what the book I previously reviewed, The Diviners, failed at so miserably. When Seraphina ends, it is clear there is so much more to her story, and I’m sure at least one sequel will be forthcoming. However, the story wraps up nicely and left me feeling satisfied. It stands alone as a wonderful story, and yet still leaves you eager for more about these characters. Its cover does not proclaimed it “Book 1 of the Seraphina Series” – a practice that drives me batty when none of the other books are even on the horizon. Its just a great story that deserves a follow-up.

This book will probably only appeal to those who already enjoy fantasy, but I highly recommend it as a summer or outside read and think it would make a great addition to grades 6-10 classroom bookshelves. It covers themes of self-acceptance, courage, friendship, honesty and loyalty while thoroughly entertaining.

Teaching resources:

Author’s website: http://rachelhartmanbooks.com/

Publisher’s website: http://www.randomhouse.com/book/196826/seraphina-by-rachel-hartman

Brief Rachel Hartman interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZwSxaPIHYw

Sample essay prompts based on past MCAS Exam essay prompts:

1. Often in works of literature, a character earns the respect of his or her friends, family, or community. Select a character from Seraphina who earns the respect of his or her friends, family, or community. In a well-developed composition, identify the character; describe how the character earns the respect of his or her friends, family, or community; and explain how the character’s experience is important to the work as a whole.

2. Often in works of literature, a character encounters a situation that requires courage. Select a character from Seraphina who encounters a situation that requires courage. In a well-developed composition, identify the character, describe how the character reacts to the situation that requires courage, and explain how the character’s actions are important to the work as a whole.

3. Often in works of literature, a character stands up for something he or she believes in.  Select a character from Seraphina who stands up for something he or she believes in. In a well-developed composition, identify the character, describe how the character stands up for something he or she believes in, and explain how the character’s actions relate to the work as a whole.

Please leave questions, comments, book review requests, etc. below!

Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>