Thursday, March 26, 2015

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman is the long-awaited sequel to Seraphina. This review may contain some minor spoilers for Seraphina, so if my earlier review didn't drive you to pick that book up right away, you may want to skip reading this review until you do!

War is coming, and Seraphina and her fellow half-dragons may be the key to Goredd's survival. Seraphina, with her mental connection to the others, is the obvious person to draw them all together, but to do so she will have to travel through Nimys, Samsam, and Porphyry -- and she will face unique dangers in each location. Even more dangerous, however, is the one half-dragon Seraphina is not willing to face: devious Jannoula, who once betrayed Seraphina within the bounds of her own mind. If Jannoula finds out what Seraphina is doing, there's no doubt that she will try to cause trouble, but Jannoula is safely imprisoned . . . or is she?

I love this series so very much. Seraphina is a strong heroine, but her strength is primarily mental, and it's extraordinarily valuable as such. In this book, we see a great deal of character development for Seraphina as she faces her own biases and motivations for gathering her fellow half-dragons, and as she faces her history with and fears of Jannoula. And let me just say, Jannoula is one of the most chilling villains I've ever run across! The slow-burning romance that began in the last book continues to build, coming to a satisfying and surprising conclusion by the end of the book. That conclusion does tie up most of the loose ends, leaving just a few tantalizing details that may be explored in future books (the author has stated that she will write more books in that world, but they will focus on different main characters). So, if you were waiting to start this series, now is a good time to do so, as these two books make for a rich and satisfying read.
(Reviewed from an advance copy, courtesy of the publisher.)

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