A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Shadow Scale is a sequel to the acclaimed fantasy Seraphina, which won the 2013 William C. Morris Award for best debut book for teens. Its female protagonist is smart, resourceful, brave, and empathetic, and the novel promotes the value of learning to see more than one facet of a person. Strong language is infrequent ("bastard" and "arse"), and violence is depicted with restraint. Psychic attacks cause physical and mental anguish. A boy is stabbed in the wrist, an old man has his memories wiped, and various dragons are killed in aerial battles. None of these incidents is described with excessive detail. Dragons and humans are able to interbreed, but the details aren't discussed explicitly. Two young women share a kiss on the mouth, and Seraphina shares a passionate embrace or two with Prince Lucian.
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What's the story?
SHADOW SCALE picks up with Seraphina on a mission to locate the remaining dragon/human hybrids scattered across the land. Each has a unique look, interests, and powers, and some are reluctant to be identified. One in particular, Jannoula, has a twisted agenda of her own and uses her telepathic powers to take over the bodies and senses of her fellow half-dragons. A devastating civil war looms, unless Seraphina and her friends can find a way to break Jannoula's grip on them.
Is it any good?
Shadow Scale is a worthy successor to Seraphina, adding more to its mythology and introducing a new set of intriguing human-dragon hybrids. In particular, the introduction of a new villain, Jannoula, amps up the suspense. She proves to be a dangerous, clever, and formidable opponent. Seraphina's wish to protect and please everyone impedes the plot sometimes, but her empathy is an essential element of her personality and is part of what makes her such a compelling heroine.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the roles dragons play in mythology and popular culture. Why do these imaginary animals interest audiences?
How does Shadow Scale compare with Seraphina? Do you like it as much? What do you think will happen in the next installment?
What makes Seraphina a compelling heroine?
- Author: Rachel Hartman
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: March 10, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 608
- Available on: Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.