Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
Shadow Scale is the sequel to Seraphina, a fantasy novel in which dragons can take human form. The protagonist is a half-human, half-dragon young woman who’s trying to stop a war between the dragons, her country, and its neighbors.
Seraphina travels to neighboring lands to find other dragon hybrids like her, aided by her ‘mental garden’ in which each of them has an avatar. In the previous book, I thought this garden in her mind, which she accesses through meditation and describes in copious detail, was tedious, overly interior, and annoying, but it was setting things up for this book, in which one of the denizens of her garden goes rogue and tries to control the minds of all the others in real life. I’m still not sure whether the intrigue was worth the conceit, or if there would have been another way to accomplish it.
Again, the romance plot was the strength of the book for me. The adventure plot had some great twists. Another pleasant surprise of the story was its inclusion of LGBT characters.The ending was fairly resolved, but could use another sequel. It seems almost like the next book will depict an open marriage, which will be the first I’ve seen in YA fantasy.