Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Publishing Date: March 10
Genre: young adult, fantasy
The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.
As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?
Civil war breaks out among dragonkind, and Seraphina, as a half-dragon, is responsible for leading the end to the war. Prince Kiggs and Queen Glisselda ask Seraphina to seek out the other half-dragons from her mind garden, to persuade them to work together and fight off the dragons in a powerful way. But while Seraphina embarks on this quest, her mind — as well as many other half-dragons’ minds — is invaded, manipulated, and twisted with altering propaganda. How can Seraphina save herself, her new family, and her kingdom without accidentally harming anyone in the process?
Hartman is an excellent writer, and takes YA epic fantasy to the next level. I’m really not a “dragon book” reader at all, so it came as a surprise that I enjoyed Seraphina so much. And yet, when comparing the first book to its new companion, I can see why: I liked Seraphina for the historical feel, the language, the universal search for identity and acceptance, and for music. Shadow Scale took it to the next level, with a deep focus on mind control and other half dragons. This book was far more political too, scheming and deceiving, and mostly focused on the quest, the journey Seraphina embarks.
I’m very torn about this book. I liked learning even more about this world, I liked being reunited with Seraphina, Glisselda, and Kiggs. I liked meeting the other half-dragons and I liked seeing how they worked (and didn’t work) together to end the civil war and begin true peace. But I found myself, at times, bored. It has nothing to do with Hartman and everything to do with reading too many politically-driven YA fantasies in a row. I’m just world-building(ed) out. That, and the idea that someone could poke into my mind and control me just really freaked me out that I literally shuddered during any of those passages. (Great writing on that, Hartman!)
Fully plan on revisiting this book once it’s out on the shelves. When I’m mentally prepared for high fantasy again.
Thank you, NetGalley, for providing this book from Random House Children’s Books for review!