Thursday, May 7, 2015

Review: Shadow Scale

Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2)
By Rachel Hartman
Random House Children's Books March 2015
608 pages
From the library

Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2)

The kingdom of Goredd has maintained a shaky peace between humans and dragons for many years. But war is now on the horizon. Their best hope for a united kingdom lies with Seraphina, who is half human and half dragon. When she learns that there are others like her and that their combined powers could turn the tide of the war, Seraphina sets out to find them. She expects to be in charge of her motley group, but another half-dragon makes a power play to control the ityasaari (half-dragons). Seraphina will have to convince the others to join her, fight off powerful enemies, and make it back home in time to save the kingdom. 

Seraphina is one of the rare YA books I adored. I loved the world that Hartman created and getting to know her unique and fascinating protagonist. In the sequel, this author really expands her world. We get to travel to other realms with Seraphina, meet lots of new characters, and go deeper into the politics and scheming that are guiding current events. Unfortunately, this is an example of a book that went too wide and not deep enough.

In the first book, readers came to know and love Seraphina's uncle Orma and her close friends Princess Glisselda and Prince Lucian. But we spend little to no time with these characters in this new book and not enough time with most of the new characters to really care for them. Seraphina travels to new and exciting places too and I wanted to spend more time with them and get a feel for their peoples and culture instead of just passing through. 

I did love Seraphina's experiences meeting the other ityasaari. She assumed that they would all band together as an instant family of misfits. But Seraphina learns, as most of us do, that having the same scars doesn't mean that we react the same way or want the same things for our futures. 

It seems like Shadow Scale suffered from many of the follies of sequels. Readers get a lot of information and many important events happen away from the eyes of our protagonist. There were several moments that I wish Seraphina was present to witness, instead of hearing about it afterwards. And the ending? It seemed awfully quick and convenient, but still left me wanting more information and more time with the characters. 

Seraphina is a book I very much enjoyed reading and I am impressed by Hartman's ability to give us characters to love and new lands to dream about. I wish some things had happened differently in Shadow Scale, but I still recommend the series so that readers can experience Seraphina coming to terms with who she is and finding the strength to fight for what she believes in. 

My review of Seraphina 


  1. I'm upset that I wasn't more thrilled by Seraphina. My roommate, who loves books with dragons, also wasn't impressed. The thing is, I wanted to like it so much. So I'll read Shadow Scale and maybe I'll be in a different mood this time around.

    1. That's so frustrating. Maybe I enjoyed it because I don't read a lot of dragons. Do you have other dragon books you recommend??

  2. I agree with your review completely! I also wanted more depth, although I did enjoy seeing more of the world, and I really wanted the book to feel more action-y than it did. Even the fight scenes that should have been exciting took place out of sight, which made the book feel long and slow to me.

    1. Yes! I wanted more of just about everything, and yet the book felt sort of long. It felt like the awkward second book in a trilogy without a really good third book.