Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman: A Book Review

Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2)
Author: Rachel Hartman
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2015
Pages: 608
Source: My State Public Library
Synopsis: 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? 

     My review: When Seraphina finds out that there are other people of her kind, she embarks on a mission to find them so they can help end the Dragon Civil War. At first, it starts out successful. Later, she realizes that Jannoula, her enemy and another of her kind, becomes a major obstacle in her path. With her immense power, she manages to lure them, and soon one by one they all fall under her spell. Seraphina must find a way to stop her, or else all will be lost.

     Because many of the characters are absent in this novel, it mostly focuses on Seraphina’s loneliness and suffering. At first, she is hopeful and it seems like there is a bright future ahead of her. However, eventually her hopes are dashed and she is broken. Throughout the novel, Seraphina is trying to recover from her hardships and is trying to cope with her loneliness. Throughout her obstacles, Seraphina grows stronger, more mature, and wiser. Unlike the first novel, Seraphina must solve the problems and find the solution herself.

     I also liked the villain, Jannoula. I found her to be a perfect match. I like her backstory, and I began to pity her, even though she made ruthless actions. She was very intelligent and was able to counterattack Seraphina’s attempts. She was a formidable nemesis and was really hard to defeat. One thing - I did wish the author would elaborate more fully on Jannoula’s power. She never fully described what it was or how she used it.

     Overall, the story is about friendship, choices, and redemption. The novel is about a woman trying to find her role in the world. Because I am a fan of Seraphina, and having  been anticipatedly waiting years to read this sequel, I did have a few disappointments. One of the disappointments was that all my favorite characters were largely absent in the story. I hoped to revisit some of my favorite characters and to see how they grow, but sadly there was no growth development in the story with them. This lead to my second disappointment, the love story between Prince Lucien and Seraphina did not grow because Prince Lucien was only in a quarter of the novel, and Seraphina rarely made any conversation with him. Third, I did not like the ending. The ending not only felt rushed, but it also was very unhappy. I felt that it was unhappy not because it was sad, but because there seemed to be no reason to make it unhappy. I believe that the ending could have been prevented if they were true to themselves. The author could have truly give them a happy ending. Despite my disappointments, the story still kept me captivated. Rachel Hartman’s writing seemed to breathe a life of her own, and I soon became more fascinated with her creative expansion of her world. There was also a strong protagonist and a strong antagonist, and I loved the battle of wits between Seraphina and Jannoula. While this sequel is not as good as Seraphina, it is still enjoyable.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

2 comments:

  1. I loved your post, Lauralee, and although I have not read any of the series, you certainly caught my interest. Thank you. Diane

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  2. Thank you. This series is definitely creative, and I enjoyed it.

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