Shadow Scale, by Rachel Hartman

Just a few words on this one.

I read the first novel in this duology, Seraphina, and rather liked it, despite myself. It was a fresh, attractively written novel, albeit one with some real irritations about it.

Most of what was good about Seraphina is still good about Shadow Scale. Most of what was bad about Seraphina is still bad about Shadow Scale, though thankfully the valorised self-harm body-image thread has been set to one side. And also, to be fair, the incredibly creepiness of the romance has been toned down too, mostly by keeping the love interest off screen and silent as much as possible.

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Dragonsdawn, by Anne McCaffrey

Have you ever played a fantasy or science-fiction role-playing game on a computer? I’m thinking of things like the Mass Effect series. If so, you may have noticed that many of these games come with some form of ‘codex’, a pack of documents explaining the backstory behind the characters and the world, generally parcelled out to you in small, unthreatening dribbles as you go through the game. You typically don’t actually have to read the codex to complete the game, but it can be a fun, interesting read.

Have you ever wanted to just read an entire codex from start to finish, but restructured around the experiences of a couple of protagonist characters? If so, Dragonsdawn might appeal to you…

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