Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: March 10, 2015
Series: Seraphina, Book 2
Genre: Fiction – Young Adult, Fantasy
Synopsis: 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 like 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?
Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina was an amazing read. Hartman introduced us to a world with an expansive history and intricate architecture. She exposed us to this magical world where dragons and humans coexist in peace after many years at war. And now, Shadow Scale is the long awaited sequel to Seraphina.
Shadow Scale continues in the land of Goredd, on the brink of a civil war. With high tensions between the two races, Seraphina must search for those like herself; half human and half dragon, to band together and bring peace. With her magical abilities, she must fight the dragons at any cost.
Seraphina is a wonderful heroine. Where she was formerly invested in the dragon race, she sees the good and the bad of her own kind. The progress in which she grows as a character is exponential. She is far removed from the comforts of her past life, and has shown bravado and tenacity to accomplish her goals. I adore her for her loyalty, but also for her heart.
Within Shadow Scale, Hartman introduces us to new characters, each with their own distinct personality to add another dimension of “epic win” to the story. Seraphina is bound to these half-human/half-dragons on a very specific level, but I think I am bound to them by pure admiration and enjoyment.
Hartman also introduces us to a villain. Jannoula is a force to be reckoned with, seething with danger and complete with mind control. There’s a moment of clarity for Seraphina, allowing for her fear to turn into strength.
Hartman’s world-building is on a level of its own. Her talent shines with the details that bind together what is Shadow Scale. For each country that Seraphina visits, there is evidence of a religion, cultural customs, and taboo. Each leg of travel felt like a separate story, due to the intensity and intricate detail of each stop. Hartman’s scope of imagination has turned me into a fan forever.
To me, Shadow Scale appears to be split in two. Part one begins her journey, locating an gathering her band of merry men for the cause. The journey was entertaining, allowing my imagination run wild with each stop. The latter half, well let’s leave that as a surprise.
Hartman has written an enjoyable story with Shadow Scale, complete with plot twists and satisfaction. I really enjoyed everything about Seraphina and this world.