by Rachel Hartman
From my review:
The writing was beautiful and the pace was relaxed but still kept my interest. The story reminded me in an odd way of Jane Austen. There was a focus on propriety, lots of personal and political intrigue, a respectful mixing of the classes not to mention lots of balls and dancing. Overall, it kept the spirit and style of traditional fantasy with just enough slight twists to keep it fresh. By far the most interesting and creative aspect of the whole book was the character Seraphina herself. It was an enjoyable read and the index in the back had my Google-loving self smiling with glee…Read more
It’s excellent fantasy – I really recommend it!
When I read this book, the music major in me GEEKED OUT because of all the medieval instruments mentioned.
It’s similar to a piano, but the strings are plucked instead of hit. Because of that, you could only play at one volume so it fell out of use when the fortepiano was invented. Some people still play them, though. Here’s a video of what one sounds like:
Similar to the harpsichord, but the strings are sideways.
Similar to a lute and is used a lot in Middle Eastern music.
Viol (aka Viola da gamba)
Similar to a string cello or bass, but it had frets.
I have never heard these pipes before and they are gorgeous.
“He had designed an impressive machine, taking up an entire chapel with its pipes and tubes and bellows. I wondered which Saint had been evicted to make room for it.” – Rachel Hartman, Seraphina.
When you Google “megaharmonium,” Google is all “Did you mean…like…anything else….because I don’t know what the heck you’re talking about.”
I imagine the megaharmonium to be a massive pipe organ. The first image that came to mind was the pipe organ I saw in 2008 in Haarlem, Amsterdam that Mozart played when he was 10.
MOZART PLAYED THAT WHEN HE WAS 10. It’s like 2 stories high. I couldn’t even play soccer when I was 10.
I didn’t get to hear someone play it when I was there, but here’s a video of someone playing this exact organ.
Plecktrum (aka guitar pick) :)
Bagpipes used in Breton music. The look like the bagpipes that I’ve usually seen.
A woodwind instrument that isn’t really played anymore.
“In fact, I remember a time before that. There was no light, but there was music: joints creaking, blood rushing, the heart’s staccato lullaby…” -Rachel Hartman, from the prologue of Seraphina.
Random Medieval Things
A cattlebeast, now extinct (source – glossary of the book).
His (Image Source)
Her (Image Source)
The characters in Seraphina wear these types of robes.
“All in ard.” Thanks for reading!