Thursday, May 28, 2015

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman [Review]

Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2)3.5 out of 5 Robots!

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Series: Seraphina #2
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release: March 10, 2015
Hardcover: 602 Pages
Publisher: Random House Children's Book
My Copy: Publisher
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
Seraphina took the literary world by storm with 8 starred reviews and numerous “Best of” lists. At last, her eagerly awaited sequel has arrived—and with it comes an epic battle between humans and dragons.

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?

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
This was a very long awaited sequel.  I read Seraphina back in 2012 when it was first published.  So admittedly, the original story was not fresh in my mind.  But Seraphina had left a good impression, so I was excited to jump back into her world.  I mostly enjoyed the sequel, but it is long.  Length isn't necessarily a problem if my attention is held, but my mind wandered a lot reading this.  It was easy to put down and find other things to do.  When I was reading it, I liked it.  But I do wish it was more straight forward and less meandering.

Here is what I liked:
**I loved that we got to visit several different kingdoms.  This was my favorite part.  Each kingdom was so unique and well crafted.  You could feel real life influences, but they also felt wholly unique too.  I loved that they each dealt with dragons differently as well.  

**As Seraphina finds her fellow half-dragons, I was fascinated by all the ways they developed.  Seraphina lucked out as far as developing to look like a human, but there were many variations and mutations, which often times resulted in disabilities.  It provided for a wide variety of experiences.

**I also Seraphina's personal journey.  She starts out cautious, careful to keep her dragon nature to herself.  But throughout the book, she comes to understand herself better and begin to accept her dragon side.  She truly comes into her own by the end of the book.

**I also like the writing.  It can be a little sterile, but since Seraphina is narrating, I feel it is in keeping with her logical, detached personality.  The descriptions are very good and the writing is clear and well thought out.

Here is what I didn't like:
**As I mentioned, it was a bit of a slog to get through parts of the book.  There was just so much going on.  There was a lot of day to day minutia.  Seraphina spends a lot of time mulling things over and pondering.  So much pondering.  I just wasn't as connected to the story as I would have liked.   

**I loved the slow burn romance between Seraphina and Prince Lucian Kiggs in the first novel, but I felt it got seriously derailed.  They are separated most of the time, which is fine, but they take a very long time to work things out between them.  And when they are together, it just seems very awkward.  I didn't feel the chemistry anymore.  I found myself more annoyed by it than rooting for it.  I think I would have rather done without entirely.  

**The cast of characters is large.  Too large, if you ask me.  I could not keep them all straight.  Which meant that sometimes events did not have much of an impact because I couldn't remember who the person was or why it should have an impact.


I was a little disappointed.  I still think it is a great series and there are some truly interesting parts to this book.  Even though it was sometimes hard to pick it up back up once I put it down, the story has stayed with me.  I just wish the story was more streamlined and I felt more connected to what was happening to the characters.

Other Books in the Series:
1. Seraphina
2. Shadow Scale

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.


  1. I have felt guilty with Shadow Scale sitting on my Netgalley shelf for so long, but I have yet to finish Seraphina for reasons you have mentioned above for this title. *deeply sighs* Like you said with reading this book, I really like Seraphina while I am reading it, but it is too easy to put down. The big problem with these books for me will be the dragons in human form thing, I want my dragons to be physically dragons and wasn't getting enough of that in what I had read of the first book. I don't like a clutter of characters either, and descriptions of mundane minutia, no matter how prose pretty put me off, too. I will finish these though. It has become a mission! I hope it stays a duology. Did Shadow Scale seem to have a tied up ending? Thanks for the review. :)

    1. Yes, I'm pretty sure Shadow Scale is the conclusion. Although, I warn you that if you are having a hard time getting through Seraphina, you will have a tougher time with Shadow Scale. But, I also think reading them back to back would be helpful from a continuity standpoint. And Shadow Scale has a lot more dragons-in-dragon-form time. Good luck!



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