Review – Shadow Scale
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  • Posted:
  • March 17, 2015

adow Scale

Seraphina was one of my favourite books of 2012. This magical book, Shadow Scale, is the sequel to that smashing book written by Rachel Hartman. I was hesitant to read this book, so much so that I shirked an ARC of it for some time. I didn’t want to ruin my initial read of the first book as I feared that this might not live up to my lofty expectations.

I am pleased to admit that this fear was complete folly. This book is everything that I wanted and more. 

Seraphina Dombegh has risked much in her time in Goredd. As an ityasaari, she is the result of a pairing between a dragon and a human. For much of her life she has kept this a secret but now, with war on the horizon, she has decided to reveal herself to the world. Setting off through dangerous lands, she searches for other ityasaaris, those that have appeared to her for years in the garden of her mind. Trecherous and unpredictable, the quest is perilous indeed…but if anyone is up to the task it is Seraphina, the erstwhile musical tutor to Queen Glisselda of Goredd.

Seraphina travels into the surrounding lands of Goredd, to Samsam and Ninys before ending in Porphyry, a golden port city to the north. Porphyry is open and accepting of their dragon kind and Seraphina thrives there. When Lucian Kiggs, the Goreddi Prince and fiancee of Queen Glisselda, shows up Seraphina has a new challenge before her – to remain faithful to her Queen or to her own heart.

Shadow Scale is a perfect example of a quest book. It does everything right. We follow Seraphina through several new places all culturally nuanced and different in scope. She gets to witness the social norms of the people; what is important to them, what odd delicacies are eaten from place to place (pine?), and, more importantly, how the people are treated. My favourite place ended up being Porphyry; an Edenic city free of some of several social phobias that plague our world. Here gender, sexuality, race, and kind are all treated beautifully whether you are transgender, omnisexual, black, white, and beyond, or, in Seraphina’s case, dragon. Everyone rates the same and no one is judged for that which they cannot choose. It’s a beautiful place to be and I wish that Hartman had spent more time there, but I am pleased with the time that she was there.

There is not enough praise that I can heap upon this book. I loved so much of it. I love the world that Hartman expands, the characters that Seraphina interacts with. I love her devotion to her uncle Orma, whose quest to recover takes up the latter portion of the book. I love the introduction of a terrifying new enemy who hits very close to Seraphina’s home. I love her wit and her humour and her coy, effervescent narratives. I love these books. Period.

I can’t wait to see where these go. More please!

5 out of 5 stars.

– BP

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