Review: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Shadow ScaleSource: Netgalley/Random House – I received this in exchange for an honest review. 
Random House
 Seraphina #2
 EARC, 608 pages
 Young Adult Fantasy
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Rating: 5/5

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?

Shadow Scale had me a bit worried towards the beginning. I had a difficult time getting into it and readjusting to all of the odd words and concepts, but in the end I have fully remembered why I enjoyed the first book so much and now I have nothing but love for it.

Shadow Scale picks up around three months after the events of Seraphina and starts off rather slow. The tension between Goredd and the Old Ard is becoming increasingly violent and a plan has been formed to find all of the half dragons they can and try to put a stop to the fighting. Most of this book focuses on Seraphina’s travels to find the others and we get a look at the rest of the world other than Goredd. I loved seeing the differences in each place as well as how differently each treated the half-dragons, and of all of the Polyphria shines the brightest. We also get to see other half dragons besides those we finally met in the latter half of Seraphina (Abdo, Dame Okra, and Lars), and they are incredibly varied in their appearances and personalities. One such the half dragon who can worm her way into other people’s minds. I don’t want to say too much about her, for fear of spoilers, but she is one seriously fierce and messed up woman and part of me really loves her for it.

There were some surprisingly additions to this which basically made me want to kiss the book and buy tons of copies to give to people, which I will also refrain from mentioning in detail but have to do with diversity and progression.I will say that the pacing in the book is comparable to a rollercoaster. It takes a while for it to make it’s way up the largest hill but once it does it sets off on a pace that absolutely refused to let me set it down for too long. I wouldn’t recommend these books to a casual fantasy reader though. If you don’t enjoy a ton of world-building, new vocabulary and a lot of characters you might want to borrow it or simply skip it for the time being.  I also really appreciated the fact that the romance is not a focus in these, and that while it is present both characters involved know there are much bigger things to deal with.

I would say that Shadow Scale is a very strong sequel to Seraphina, but does require some reacquainting since it has been so long since the first book. The world building is still fantastic and the depth of the emotion and ‘humanity’ (for the lack of a better word) was more than enough to endear me to most of the characters involved. Shadow Scale is a stunning conclusion.

5 stars

This entry was posted in Book Reviews (2015) and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Review: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

  1. Yep, I read an interview and now this is the second review today and ya all have convinced me this dualogy is a must. The world building sounds fantastic

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