With war between dragons and humans exploding across Seraphina’s once-peaceful home, she vows to find the other gifted half-dragons and use their power to end the conflict. One of Seraphina’s would-be allies seems to have other loyalties. And unstoppable power.
Seraphina works to bring the isolated and fearful half-dragons out of hiding and teach them to operate as a team. Time is running out, however, as an army of dragons threatens to rain destruction down on Seraphina’s homeland. Alliances begin to unravel. A new, unpredictable saint dazzles the people, distracting them from the conflict at hand. In order to pull her own army together, Seraphina will have to understand and unleash the power she has buried inside herself.
The book begins with a clever note from a Goreddi historian summarizing the novel Seraphina, which precedes Shadow Scale. It’s a nice touch and brings readers up to speed nicely. Of course, since Seraphina is a whopping 499 pages, there are a lot of things that get left out. I read Seraphina just a few weeks ago, and I approached Shadow Scale wondering if I’d be able to enjoy it without the background of the first story. I think it could be done, but the second story is so much richer for having read both of them.
As her readers have come to expect, Hartman fills the pages of her tale with well-developed landscapes rich with history, culture and religion. I loved that the stories about the saints played a part in the grander plot. Though Seraphina is the main character, many other characters play important roles. They are well-developed and intriguing.
Readers who enjoyed Seraphina are very likely to enjoy this second book as well. Those who haven’t read Seraphina yet can still enjoy Shadow Scale, but I’d recommend reading Seraphina first. You’ll get a lot more out of the experience.
There’s a pretty intense kissing moment which seems like it could go further but the characters stop themselves, not wanting to be impulsive. There is a very brief girl-on-girl kiss. One culture uses a large number of pronouns to address its citizens, including a category for “emergent feminine.” It could be that Hartman means this as a way for transgender individuals to be more accurately addressed. It’s not deeply explored.
A dragon briefly discusses his hopes of being mated with another dragon in a conversation with Seraphina.
Citizens of Goredd worship a large collection of saints. The story often references various writings by different saints. In Porphyry, the people worship a god of chance and goddess of necessity.
Brief references to torture (no details.) In several scenes, dragons battle one another.