[Review] Shadow Scale, by Rachel Hartman

[Review] Shadow Scale, by Rachel Hartman

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
Series: Seraphina #2
Published by Random House Children's Books on March 10, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 608
Source: Netgalley
The verdict: five-stars
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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.

Let me begin by saying: Shadow Scale, the second and final book in the Seraphina duology, was my most anticipated read of 2015. I absolutely adored Seraphina and I kid you not if I say I pre-ordered Shadow Scale back in 2013.

And now I finished Shadow Scale and oh, Rachel Hartman is a cruel woman. By which I mean to say: Shadow Scale was absolutely wonderful, but I need a serious talk with Ms. Hartman.

But let’s begin at the beginning. I was ecstatic to receive the eArc for Shadow Scale and started reading it almost right away. It opens with a very clever flashback to Seraphina… and right away I realised I’d have to reread Seraphina first before continuing with Shadow Scale. And so I did, and Seraphina was every bit as wonderful (and more) as the first time I read it. It is still one of my all time favourite books and if you haven’t read it yet we must reconsider our friendship you’re missing out.

Then I went back to Shadow Scale, and I’ll be honest and say I just wasn’t feeling it during the first 20-or-so % of the book. I missed something (I can’t quite pinpoint what) that I found readily in every single page of Seraphina and I got a bit worried. The storyline just seemed a bit bland? I am not sure.

Hartman was clearly tricking me though, as the story then did a 180 and I was sucked in and didn’t want to put it down (oh, to be an adult with silly responsibilities such as work and a household and food and sleep). Hartman added the intrigue I had been longing for. Just like the first book in the series, there were so many plot twists and turns it was dizzying, and it was amazing. The plot was perfection.

The colour returned to the story and Hartman managed to expand the world we knew from Seraphina even further. I loved the mythology, folklore and religious aspects and I couldn’t get enough of that, and oh the philosophy! What I also loved about Shadow Scale is that we meet so many new characters and I feel so strongly about all of them. I just want to embrace most of them. And I feel conflicted about certain others, in a way that I want them to step on a Lego and then embrace them. Hartman has proven something that we already knew from Seraphina: that she is a master at world building and bringing characters to life.

The ending though… My poor heart. It was both extremely satisfying and a bit saddening, in the way real life also works, I guess. I really only have complaint about this entire book View Spoiler ».

But then after the ending, there is the epilogue. Thankfully some natural defence mechanism kicked in and my imagination filled in the ending quite satisfyingly. But honestly, Ms. Hartman, we need to talk.

So in case this review ever reaches Ms. Hartman:
Dear Ms. Hartman,
In response to your epilogue: I can offer you a kidney, my first-born or my soul. You know what to do. Please contact me and I am sure we can come to a satisfying agreement.
Kind regards,


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