Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

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?

*******Ani’s Review*******

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman is a wonderful sequel to Hartman’s beautiful first novel, Seraphina. In this book, Seraphina, half dragon, is searching for others of her kind in order to counteract the dragons attacking her home. As in the first novel, Hartman shows us how we are all prejudiced or biased in some way. In Shadow Scale, Hartman expands Seraphina’s world view to include the lives and hardships of other half-dragons. She begins to question whether she is right to collect other half-dragons and her self-doubt returns as she learns new information about how their religious beliefs were founded. This book is a mix of adventure, self discovery, and above all, love. Recommended for mature middle readers on. Click to read my review of Seraphina or buy Shadow Scale by clicking below.

Books for Lunar New Year

Happy Year of the Goat!

Golden-New-Year-Goat-2015

In honor of Lunar New Year (BTW, I was born year of the Tiger) I wanted to share some Asian-inspired reads. I may be wrong but it seems to me that there aren’t that many mainstream books with an Asian influence. Here are some that I’ve read and enjoyed. Leave a comment and let me know of your favorite Asian-inspired or Asian-centric books or movies. Thanks for reading!

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. Probably the most well known of this article. The movie was fantastic also. It follows 4 women and their female children as they come of age and come to terms with their mothers. A fascinating story and so well done!

Eon & Eona by Alison Goodman. This short fantasy series is an amalgam of Asian inspired culture and superstitions. It also speaks to drug use, gender issues, chauvinism and women’s roles in any culture. The dragons are a bonus. Well written, inventive, and exciting.

Gilded by Christina Farley.  After her mother’s death, Korean-American Jae-Hwa returns to Seoul with her father only to discover she is hunted by a demigod to be his mistress. Farley portrayed Jae-Hwa as a typical teenager that discounted everything her family cautioned her against and, if I must say, was a tad annoying because of it. However I enjoyed the story a lot overall and really appreciated the glimpse of Seoul – it was like taking a vacation.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. The least “Asian” story of them all. Park is half Korean in middle America during the 80’s. This love story is a must read for anyone who grew up in the era of big hair and power ballard or for fans of realistic YA. Rowell does an amazing job of writing about misfit teenagers falling in love. Fans of John Green will appreciate this story.

 

Frankenstein – Movie or book?

When it comes to the classics, I tend to read – romance usually which means anything by Jane Austen. For this October, I wanted to go with a scary story so I decided to read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I also have to mention a few more classic books turned into movies.

This brings me to the topic of movie or book? Our Frankenstein from the movies, is generally known as the black haired, hulking green guy with screws in his neck and stitching all over his body and (not to put too fine a point on it) stupid. But reading the original story of Frankenstein, I was amused and slightly horrified that there was so few descriptors of what Dr. Frankenstein’s monster really looked like. There were only four real clues as to this creature: black hair, straight teeth, 8 feet tall, and a hand like a mummy. This doesn’t quite sound like the Frankenstein that we’ve dressed our kids as for many many Halloweens. Apparently, the movie version was grotesque enough that it has lived on in our imaginations as the creature that Mary Shelley dreamt up in her book. I’m not sure I’m ashamed that I haven’t seen the original movie but pop culture has trained us on how this monster should look and act. I say I was horrified because after so many years of watching each new evolution of movie Frankenstein, no one wants to move away from this type of creature and imagine an alternate version with the same 4 characteristics that Shelley gave us in her book. And if they did, would we as a group, accept it as such? What do you think?

Continuing with horror stories, Bram Stoker’s Dracula was both an amazing novel and a scary movie. The movie definitely had more of a sensual air to it and the book more of a thriller mystery but it was close enough. I have to say that I really enjoyed both but preferred the movie for it’s sheer theatricality. And for some reason, the descriptions of dracula in the book were either not lacking or close enough to our pop culture image of a vampire that it didn’t stick out like a sore thumb.

A more recent movie/classic book combo is John Carter/ Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I have to consider these separately because they are so different. The premise is the same: a man goes into a cave and gets transported to Mars where he meets a princess. Wacky hijinks ensue and the fall in love. Then man gets transported back to earth to endlessly for a way back to Mars and his princess. I won’t hesitate to say that I was always leery of reading Edgar Rice Burroughs and only because of his name! It’s rather a mouthful. After watching John Carter, I decided to tackle the books and I loved them even if they were a bit long winded – but that was the style of writing back then, no?

Of course, reading is always an education and I discovered that Burroughs also wrote Tarzan which I read and enjoyed but I can’t remember well enough the Tarzan TV show that I watched as a kid and remember so fondly. As I am typing away, I’m thinking that some archetypes will just stay with us forever where others are more transitory. I just don’t think that Edward Cullen and his sparkly skin will ever replace Dracula as the vampire archetype and I haven’t yet seen any new Frankensteins worth changing the norm. Does it matter that movies and television make such drastic interpretations of these creatures? Probably not to Mary Shelley but maybe to Stephanie Meyers who put much more emphasis on appearance.

Regardless, I am big movie fan I know I won’t be stopped from watching the movie because I don’t agree with the amount of “artistic license” taken. And maybe this is all a moot point with so many of the authors nowadays being involved in the development of the movie. If you haven’t read any of the above mentioned titles, please do. Yes, they take longer to read then your modren day horror novel or sci-fi but they are totally worth it. AND you get to say “Why,, yes, I do read the classics!” Happy Halloween everyone!