5bat! Review: Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman

March 27, 2015 Review 2

5bat! Review: Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel HartmanShadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
Series: Seraphina #2
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on March 10, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 608
Source: Publisher
Excerpt: Excerpt
Sexual Content: Kissing
Reviewed by: Kate
5 Stars

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?

When there is a significant wait between two related books, such as the wait (almost three years!) between SERAPHINA and SHADOW SCALE, I begin to doubt my impressions of the first book. This was the case here, as I began to worry that I had imagined how wonderful I thought SERAPHINA was and how there was no way that SHADOW SCALE could live up to the expectations I'd set up in my head. Luckily, SHADOW SCALE delivered on all my expectations and more.

Hartman's writing is amazingly smooth and almost lyrical, making the reading experience very enjoyable, despite the length of the book. There were some parts I felt could have been cut down a bit, but all in all, everything contributed to the plot and I loved all the detail we got into Seraphina's world. Though I would love to compare SHADOW SCALE to some other young adult fantasy to help you decide whether or not you'll like it, I feel that it almost defies comparisons, standing in a class of its own.

It's hard to go into too much detail without ruining any key points of the story, but needless to say, SHADOW SCALE made me laugh, with the wry humor of the dragons and it made me cry, with the losses that Seraphina endured. There were twists I never saw coming, that were amazing and surprising, including one which warmed my heart. The fullness of the world and writing allowed me to feel all those emotions when I was reading, and it was spectacular to be allowed to spend the time with the characters and be welcomed into their world.

With amazing world building, excellent characterization of a multitude of characters (no cliches or 2D characters here) and beautiful writing, SHADOW SCALE is a book for readers of all ages. With its coming of age story and heroine journey, there is enough to keep even the most reluctant reader occupied. As wondering and fascinating as SERAPHINA and SHADOW SCALE are, I wish there were move books in this series, but I've only my imagination to guess what may happen next.

Series Titles:
  1. Seraphina
  2. Shadow Scale
More Reviews: Similar Titles:
  • For more young adult fantasy with a heroine who takes a journey, try the Graceling series by Kristin Cashore.
  • For more young adult fantasy with a heroine who is more powerful than she knows, try the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas.

2 Responses to “5bat! Review: Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman”

  1. Diane_D

    The *only* thing I didn’t love about the wonderful and unique “Seraphina” was where/how it ended. You don’t really say whether “Shadow Scale” is better in that department, so I wanted to ask: does it leave you satisfied? I mean, *of course* I’m going to read it, but I like to be forewarned if the ending doesn’t have enough resolution. (I HATE undeclared cliffhangers!)

  2. Kate


    I definitely was satisfied with the ending. There was definitely resolution to the main conflicts, but there were some things that weren’t 100% tied up – however, I enjoy that kind of ending, as it allows me to imagine what will happen next, even if there isn’t going to be another book.