Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Book Review: Shadow Scale

Premise: Seraphina's secret half-dragon parentage is out and now the kingdom of Goredd has found itself in the middle of a dragon civil war. She must travel to neighboring kingdoms in search of the other half-dragons, for they share a connection that might be used to fight the dragons more successfully.

Title: Shadow Scale
Author: Rachel Hartman
Length: 608 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Series or Stand Alone: Book 2 following Seraphina
Content appropriate for: Grades 9-12
Format: Digital ARC provided by Random House Children's via NetGalley

Three adjectives that describe this book: complex, gripping, twisty

Oh man! So much goodness here. This sequel is certainly worthy of its predecessor. Rachel Hartman had her own big shoes to fill, and she filled them marvelously. Where Seraphina was largely character-driven, Shadow Scale is largely plot-driven. And that plot? It was deliciously complex, with the reader never really sure who could be trusted.
Book 1: Seraphina

As a huge fan of world-building, I love how Rachel Hartman showed us more of Seraphina's world. We travel to all the different kingdoms, meeting people of various cultures. Each culture has a slightly different take on both dragons and religion, so it was really interesting to experience that spectrum. Rachel Hartman has clearly invested a lot of creative energy in developing this world, its foods, customs, clothing, geography, politics, and religion.

Another really cool element is that we spend a lot more time with dragons in this book. The first book really focused on Seraphina, so we didn't get to know many dragons. In this one, though, not only do we spend more time with dragons, but we also get to experience a Quigutl society. It was absolutely fascinating. Plus, we learn a lot more about the powers of half-dragons. It turns out, that they all have some sort of ability and Seraphina's mind garden is key to the whole thing.

This book totally met my needs for political intrigue. The characters are constantly scheming and plotting. The humans and dragons are split into several camps, some working together, some fighting one another, and others manipulating each other. I loved how Seraphina was constantly circling her nemesis in this one, they were like wrestlers at the start of a match, sizing each other up.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to fans of Seraphina. And if you haven't read book 1 - do it now!
4.5 stars

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