Seraphina, Ghost Story, and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

NEW: SERAPHINA, Book One in the Seraphina series by Rachel Hartman (Random House, 2012)

Rachel Hartman is setting the bar very high with her incredible New York Times Bestselling debut novel Seraphina. Starting with classic young adult Fantasy themes like dragons, coming-of-age, and romance, Hartman spins a wonderful tale of a sixteen-year-old protagonist living amongst mathematically-minded dragons.

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.

In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina’s tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they’ve turned the final page.

It’s been less than a month since its release and Seraphina has already gotten over 1000 ratings on Goodreads, averaging at a very high 4.2 stars. For a debut novel, that’s excellent. Lisa, a community reviewer on Goodreads, said, “Objectively, Seraphina meets all the requirements to become the next epic fantasy series: it has an original take on a fairly exploited theme—dragons—an amazing world-building, a well formed, strong main character, a 5-star-worthy writing style.” Another community reviewer Amanda, agreed, “Sometimes, I just need a good ol’high fantasy novel about wizards, knights and dragons. Seraphina completely filled that high fantasy void and offered something even deeper and more amazing than I had anticipated.” The only thing you should be nervous about is your sleep schedule, according to Stephanie, another community reviewer who said, “This book was absolutely breathtakingly amazing. Once I got into it, I had to finish. Who needs sleep anyways?

DON’T MISS THIS: Random House is giving away of Seraphina on Goodreads, now through August 10. Enter to win!

An excerpt of Seraphina is available on the publisher website. Order it from these popular booksellers:


SOON: GHOST STORY, Book Thirteen in the Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher (Roc, August 7 2012)

When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn’t doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin.

But being dead doesn’t stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has nobody, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own.

To save his friends-and his own soul-Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic…

Are you a fan of the Dresden series? Probably! Thirteen books and counting, plus a dozen novellas and short stories—this urban fantasy series is hugely popular and it’s easy to see why. Beyond its undeniably fantastic subject matter—magic, fairies, werewolves, spirits, vampires, demons—Butcher isn’t tired or bored with his main character, Harry Dresden, about a Chicago-based private investigator and wizard. This author knows his fans and according to community reviewer on Goodreads Whittney, “Simply and purely perfect. If you’re a fan of the Butcher series, this book is exactly what it needs to be, exactly what it should be.” Regina, another Goodreads community reviewer, agreed, “I had forgotten how much I love this series until I started to read this book. The mystery and quest were interesting and unlike much urban fantasy, it was unique – nothing I have read before.”

An excerpt of Ghost Story is available on the author’s website. Look for this book on August 7 or preorder:


CLASSIC: JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL by Susanna Clarke (Tom Doherty, 2006)

This book only came out six years ago, so it might seem strange to call it a “classic” already, but it’s just that good.

At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England’s history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England–until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight.

Soon, another practicing magician comes forth: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell’s student, and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear.

You should know that this book is over a thousand pages; we know that will scare or delight you, depending on your taste. Clarke’s style is sometimes a pastiche of and sometimes an homage to Charles Dickens—both his elaborate sentence structure and his dry wit—and it might take you a little while to get into it, but once you do, Sarah, a community reviewer on Goodreads assures us, “It never once felt like a thousand page book and I flew through it faster than many shorter books which I have read.” Apatt, another community reviewer, said, “While I was reading the second half of this book it occurred to me that I don’t actually need to read any other novel ever again, I could just read this one book over and over again for the rest of my days.”

Apatt might be a bit more devoted than the average reader, but Clarke took ten years writing this book and inventing a meticulous history of English magic—documented in 185 footnotes. That kind of dedication is so impressive it’s hard not to bite. I don’t often include my own review in our New, Soon, & Classic, but if you commit yourself to fifty pages of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, I personally guarantee you will love it until you’re done.

An excerpt of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is available from the author’s website. Order this book from these popular booksellers:

Tell us about which New, Soon, and Classic Fantastic books you’re excited about. We want to include them on FairyRoom!