cover image Shadow Scale

Shadow Scale

Rachel Hartman. Random, $18.99 (608p) ISBN 978-0-375-86657-9

In this strong follow-up to 2012’s Seraphina, Hartman continues the adventures of that book’s eponymous half-dragon, who is now assigned with finding and uniting her fellow “ityasaari” before the full-blooded dragons can resolve their civil war and mobilize to wipe out the southern human kingdoms. But some ityasaari don’t want to be found, and one, who has the power to enter and control minds, would rather see them united for her own bitter purpose. With numerous factions jockeying for power and war on the horizon, Seraphina must unlock her own long-dormant potential and find a way to save everyone she loves. As the page count attests, Hartman’s style is leisurely; she builds her epic fantasy carefully, with attention to detail and atmosphere, while letting the plot simmer and allowing just as much to happen off-screen as in Seraphina’s presence. She juggles the large cast skillfully, balancing wide-screen action with intimate character development (including some deft, thoughtful treatments of gender identity), allowing for some subtle yet surprising revelations. This is a worthy and wholly satisfying continuation of Seraphina’s tale. Ages 12–up. Agency: Writers House. (Mar)