I listened to Seraphina on audiobook last year and fell in love with all things dragon. Rachel Hartman won me over with her kingdom of Goredd, her spunky half-dragon protagonist, and her fabulous world building skills. Then, like the rest of the book world, I settled down for the loooonnnngg wait for Book II. When I saw that it was being released for as an ARC, I blew up Amanda's phone begging her to get it for me. Luckily, I was graced with this book and ate it up in less than five days (which is saying a lot, because it's as big as a brick).
Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Release Date: March 10th, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those life herself--for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.
As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people's minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she's held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny? (Goodreads)
My Bookish Likes:
There is so much about this sequel that I liked that it makes it really difficult to pin down to several points. you know how you find a book that you love, and then you wish and hope that the sequel will be everything you want it to be? Shadow Scale is this and more. No joke. Hartman uses the first 10-20 pages of the novel to retell the story of Seraphina, something I greatly appreciated. There is so much detail in this second book that a refresher course is definitely needed.
The same cast of lovable characters from Seraphina return to Shadow Scale. From the handsome and swoon-worthy Prince Kiggs, to the cute and precocious Abdo--everyone makes an appearance and backstories and fleshed out even more. I guess that is what I would say the theme of this book is--while Seraphina tries to help stop the war between the humans and dragons, many of the stories set up in the first novel are fleshed out and told in this sequel.
My Bookish Loves:
MY GOD! THIS WOMAN KNOWS HOW TO WORLD BUILD. Can I get an amen?! I wish Hartman would become a professor and teach a writing course simple on world building because she does it so stinking well. There are so many intricate details and touches added throughout the novel that show that she is a true craftsman of her art. While there are several languages spoken throughout the novel, some languages have various syntactical levels that left me dazzled.
I also appreciated her nod to social issues of the day. While things may be different in a world filled with dragons, they still may have some similar struggles. Some dragons are able to determine/change their outward gender and some even struggle with the choice. Others dabble in love that is forbidden. Small yet needed gestures to show that all worlds are connected, and the spirit of humanity that binds us all does not go unbroken.
The only negative thing I have to say is that this book is not an easy read. At roughly 600 pages, it tells a lengthy (but amazing) story that will require you to pace yourself. With that being said, I finished the book in about five days. This is saying a lot considering I was reading for grad school and working all that week. I was dedicated to my dragon love.
I gave this book 5 stars.