Friday, June 17, 2016

Review - Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2)
Series: Seraphina #2 (Final)
Genre: Fantasy 
Age Group: Young Adult
Published: March 2015
Hardcover - 608pgs
Add it // Buy it 

Rating: 3/5

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?

Quick Thoughts: At the end of Seraphina I couldn't believe this would only be a duology. There were so many storylines started in book one that needed to be explored and tied up. In the end I think Hartman did a good job wrapping up her story, but there were many things I still had questions about at the end of this long book. I still enjoyed the characters and the world building is excellent.

Full Review: At the end of the day my feelings about this book are conflicted.

If I based my review entirely on characters, prose and world building, Shadow Scale would rank at the top. Hartman is incredibly skilled at writing and I loved the world. However, the plot and wrap up to the store left me wanting something more. In the end there was very little character growth from Seraphina which was really disappointing. She struggled throughout the book to make good decisions and was befuddled by her enemies, but never learned from her mistakes.

Throughout this duology Hartman discussed both race and religion prominently. Seraphina travels abroad and encounters many different views on her mixed heritage both rooted in religion and cultural differences. Hartman's world is full of rich details and I enjoyed how much we explored, literally, in this wrap up. Hartman is also a master at writing beautiful phrases that sucked me into the story. 

However I was disappointed we rushed through the scenes in Goredd at the end of the story after spending so much time abroad throughout the book. One of the most frustrating parts of this novel was despite the build up throughout both books, the romance disappeared into the background almost completely. In general it seemed like the old characters were abandoned for a new set of traveling companions. Overall I missed Seraphina's homeland and wanted to get back to it sooner!

Towards the end the story was a bit muddled and rushed. There were some last minute revelation that were great in theory, but glossed over so much I felt like that there were added for shock value. To me this wrap up could have used a little more trimming as far as the traveling and more explanation at the end. Overall it was ok, but compared to Seraphina it fell flat.
Happy Reading

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