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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Friday, March 13, 2015

Patron Saints, Dragons and Half-Dragons continue to enthral

Shadow Scale: A Companion to Seraphina by Rachel Hartman 

The nation of Gorred--a place of dragons, half-dragons and a plethora of Saints. A nation where one moment you are fearing the Censors will take away your mentor and perform the equivalent of a dragon lobotomy, the next you are fighting for freedom from a powerful group of dragons, the Loyalists who want to return dragons to their rightful place, to be able to take dragon rather than human form. The Censors are those dragons who excise all those dragons who threaten the status quo. The Loyalist group seems able to track your every move and want to annihilate  all half-dragons--the ityarsarri.  Agreements and long held treatises are broken. Rules of behaviour for dragons are challenged. At Lab Four, a secret Censor facility Seraphina meets the quigutl when she attempts to rescue Orma. A sub species small dragon like creatures, they are quite fascinating.
The secret of half-dragons is revealed and it is truly terrible. Half-dragon and musician Seraphina has a connection to all. Her walled off mental garden where contained mythic like personalities just might be the key. As dream becomes reality Seraphina is forced to face her own fears and her dragon heritage. How to hold all that knowing and unknowing, how to hold onto your inner self into your own inside your head and heart, how to protect your consciousness from the denizens of your mind garden is truly a dangerous puzzle. Jannoula is one such garden inhabitant. Seraphina was right to fear her. Jannoula is chaos unbound, charming, innocent and the mistress of deception.  As one by one her friends fall under Jannoula sway, Seraphina is powerless to counteract. Plans are ruthlessly overturned and loved ones become foes. Complex, thrilling and sometimes confusing, the story strides forward. Seraphina has for so long been afraid, has locked down her abilities that all is nearly lost. Diplomacy and battles, searches in the subterranean paths in the Censors' laboratories for her mentor Orma, the action overwhelmingly moves forward. Seraphina's belief in herself is a long time coming, but when it arrives she is a dragon unscaled! Her relationship with the Queen and Prince Lucien is a continual underlying tension that seems to taper off. Given the angst and the action that combine in this companion volume, Shadow Scale is indeed an exciting sequel to Seraphina

A NetGalley ARC

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