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Book review: ‘Shadow Scale’ gives half-dragons a chance to end human and dragon war

SHARE Book review: ‘Shadow Scale’ gives half-dragons a chance to end human and dragon war

"SHADOW SCALE," by Rachel Hartman, Random House Children's Books, $18.99, 480 pages (f) (ages 14 and up)

Seraphina Dombegh is no longer the timid, unseen assistant to the court composer she once was.

Her biggest secret, a bustle of silver dragon scales around her waist and on her left forearm, has been exposed, revealing her true parentage of a human father and dragon mother. She has kept this to herself all her life because not many humans or dragons take kindly to her species.

However, Seraphina must now use her identity to help either keep the peace between several contentious cities ruled by dragons or humans or help go to war with these cities for the cause of peace.

"Shadow Scale" continues the story weaved together in Rachel Harman's first novel, "Seraphina." Seraphina's aim throughout "Shadow Scale" is to gather the half-dragons to see if they can form a special type of bond to keep the cities from war.

But Seraphina is not the only person who wants to gather the half-dragons, though this enemy's goal is not peace. The antagonist might prove to have more charm and influence than Seraphina can overcome, even when it concerns the loyalties of her closest friends.

Hartman has created an intricate world that is so full of detail that a map is at the beginning of the book and a glossary is at the end to keep the characters in check. These are helpful for following protagonist Seraphina and the web of stories that detail her adventures.

The particulars of the book are not to its downfall, though referring to the glossary is helpful at times as the plot thickens. Each paragraph is full of rich language and enough description to create a world that rivals that of Christopher Paolini's "Eragon."

It is necessary to be familiar with the story of Hartman's first novel, "Seraphina," to truly enjoy this book. "Shadow Scale" is the sequel.

This book contains both generally described and detailed violence that sometimes results in death and romance that doesn't go beyond kissing, with one scene that implies desire to move beyond kissing. There is no swearing.

If you go ...

What: Book signing with Rachel Hartman, author of "Shadow Scale," and Arwen Elys Dayton, author of "Seeker"

When: Friday, March 13, 7 p.m.

Where: Provo Library, 550 N. University Ave., Provo

Web: provolibrary.com, kingsenglish.com, rachelhartmanbooks.com, arwendayton.com

Also ...

What: Book signing with Rachel Hartman, Arwen Elys Dayton and Christopher Paolini

When: Saturday, March 14, 2 p.m.

Where: Barnes and Noble, University Crossings Plaza, 330 E. 1300 South, Orem

Web: barnesandnoble.com

Email: toriackerman@gmail.com