FICTION

Shadow Scale

608p. (Seraphina: Bk. 2). ebook available. Random. Mar. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780375866579. LC 2014017953.
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Gr 7 Up—This sequel to the award-winning Seraphina (Random, 2012) takes the half-human, half-dragon girl on a search for others like herself. The revelation of Seraphina's true heritage has placed her in a position of power with Queen Glisselda who sends her on a mission to find other half-human/half-dragon beings. With her loyal friend, Abdo, she searches the lands for the creatures she has only met previously in dreams, in the hopes that they may trip the balance of power toward the kingdom of Goredd. Though the halflings were feared and reviled by the human population historically, some of them managed to hide in plain sight and were elevated to sainthood. With the insane Jannoula as their leader, these long-lived beings have emerged from hiding and are bent on taking control of Goredd and its human population. And, the love she and the Queen's intended, Kiggs, have for each other may ultimately destroy any chance Seraphina has for personal happiness. This is not a stand-alone story, and those who haven't read the first novel in the series will spend the first third of the novel getting caught up. By then, it may be too late for some, as the lengthy work suffered from an over-abundance of explanation of who the dragons were without really giving readers a sense of the main characters' ideals and motivations. Still, for lovers of Christopher Paolini's and Anne McCaffrey's dragon stories, this is an adequate addition to dragonlore.—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK
With the dragon civil war closing in, Seraphina and fellow half-dragon Abdo set out to recruit other ityasaari like themselves, hoping to create a telepathic defense. The two are horrified to learn that half-dragon Jannoula already controls the other ityasaari. From graceful language to high stakes to daring intrigue, this sequel to Seraphina shines with the same captivating originality and engagement of feeling.
With the dragon civil war closing in on Goredd, Seraphina (Seraphina, rev. 7/12) begins an uncertain mission: she and Abdo, a fellow half-dragon, embark on a journey to recruit other ityasaari like themselves, hoping that if they can learn to thread their minds together, they will be able to defend Goredd by forming a trap to stop a dragon in flight. Seraphina has misgivings -- what if the attempt leads to another ityasaari taking over her mind? Jannoula, a half-dragon whom Seraphina contacted telepathically in a time before she knew there were others like her, once usurped Seraphina's consciousness, and it was only by great effort and luck that Seraphina managed to fight her off. However, as Seraphina and Abdo travel through the neighboring lands, they are horrified to learn that Jannoula already controls the other ityasaari. The author's generous and self-assured world-building effortlessly branches out to the different cultures the pilgrims encounter, unveiling fresh customs and new folklore with consummate ease. A subplot involving Seraphina's hopeless romance with Kiggs, the man affianced to her friend and monarch, Queen Glisselda, takes on a love-triangle twist that most won't see coming. From graceful language to high stakes to daring intrigue, this sequel shines with the same originality, invention, and engagement of feeling that captivated readers in Hartman's debut. anita l. burkam

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