Friday, January 9, 2015

Shadow Scale

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Disclaimer: I read the advanced reader's copy of this book; it won't be released until March 10, 2015 for the general public. Undoubtedly, there will be minor differences between the version I read and the published version. That being said, I totally have it on pre-order. Like what.

This is the second book in a series(?), duo-logy (?), something? It's the second book. I read the first book, Seraphina, and reviewed it HERE. This post will undoubtedly reveal spoilers about the first book, Seraphina. If you wish for Seraphina to remain unspoiled, read no further. For serious., if you read my post on Seraphina, you know that I'm mildly obsessed with this book.

...I might have 'secretly' reread Seraphina every few months (especially after a few particularly awful books, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE).

As with the last book, this story is incredibly complicated and many elements are very interwoven with each other. I'll do my best to catch it all (without spoilers), but here's the amazon summary with all the bits of how awesome Serphina is removed to save some space, "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?" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

So the thing that annoys me about the amazon summary, is that there is a GIANT war going on. HUGE.

The dragons are locked in a civil war, some dragons want peace with humans while others want to destroy all the humans. The humans are in the same boat except without a civil war. The Queen of Goredd, Glisselda, is trying to coordinate efforts to end the war before massive casualties happen.

Enter Seraphina. Seraphina is a half dragon who has started to band together the other half dragons who live in her 'mind's garden'. She found out that two half dragons together can create an invisible barrier that can stop a dragon in the sky or protect a city. Queen Glisselda is like YES, YES WE NEED ALL OF THAT and sends Seraphina with Abdo (another half dragon who cannot speak because of the dragon scales coating his mouth in general, he does a telepathic communication to people instead) off to find the other half dragons to make barriers and save Goredd or assist the war or whatever.

OFF THEY GO. Seraphina and Abdo start traveling across the land and happen across half human half dragons like themselves and start recruiting.

However, Jannoula is a half human half dragon and has plans of her own. Jannoula has the ability to take control and manipulate other half human/dragons. She's started to manipulate the half dragon/humans for her own means. Seraphina races to find a way to stop her while also getting more half human/half dragons together in Goredd.

On her quest to find others like her, Seraphina finds a group of beings who have all been dragon touched in different ways. They all come with their quirks, abilities, and personalities; they're very distinctive and it's fascinating to keep meeting more of them.

While also on Seraphina's quest, we get to see more and more of the land. We get to meet different cultures, see more of the quigtul's influence in the world, and watch the curious relationship between Glisselda, Lucian, and Seraphina. Due to events of Seraphina, Lucian and Glisselda have a closer bond as their marriage draws closer since the Queen fell into ill health in the last book.

Now, dragons are present all throughout the book and there is also the mystery of what happened to Seraphina's uncle Orma. The dragons continue to have some cultural/societal hiccups that are hilarious while also showing logic can coexist with compassion.

As they came across so many different cultures, it was funny to see the language barriers that cropped up, the customs of different cultures, and the tourist 'stories' (you'll understand when you read the book). It was also simply fascinating to see how different cultures interacted with the dragons and how they reacted to the presence of half dragon half humans. So intense.

There was also a lot to deal with religion, spirituality, and the 'soul-fire'. Soul-fire is how they referred to a person's soul presence (kind of), like the half human half dragons extra energy that they could channel to do things. Pure blooded dragons and humans were not depicted to have it. It was interesting to watch it unfold, but at the same time there were times that I kind of felt like a small child stumbling to grasp the larger concept. Seraphina and several other characters were faithful to their saints/patrons, but I think my haste to get to the politics/interpersonal struggles left me rushing through the parts where it explained it. But I have time to reread it. MWAHAHAHAHA. I imagine the content is there, I'm just a derp.

BOOK LOVERS. IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL. There were a few times where I had to stop reading to dance/walk a lap around my house to get some eager enthusiastic energy out. Like what.

HOWEVER. SPOILER ALERT. The end of the book ended with an epilogue. I don't know if it's the end signaling that this is a duo-logy, or if it's just something stuck at the end of the book and the series will go on. As much as a I love the story, everything wraps up pretty well in the end. On the one hand, I'd be super upset if the Rachel Hartman wrote more because the story is wrapped up, but I still crave more about Seraphina's world, adventures, etc. I am a book brat.

Happy reading!

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