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
on March 10th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon
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?
I have to start things off with an admission. I really dreaded reading this book. Which is absolutely ridiculous, based on how much I absolutely loved Seraphina! It was the winner of the prestigious MYRCA award (Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award – well, it’s important for us Manitobans anyway). It was even possibly THE best book I read in 2013, but here is where I ran into my problem. Almost two years had passed, and I had forgotten just about everything, except for how the book had made me feel. When I finally buckled down and started the book, I discovered the most marvelous thing! Rachel Hartman had predicted this exact problem, and she provided the best recap I have ever read! I now had my bearings, and was able to dig into Shadow Scale with the enthusiasm that it deserved.
I can’t believe more people haven’t read this series. It has been terribly overlooked and underestimated! Maybe this is because of the discouraging size? This is not a small book, and I don’t just mean because of the nearly 600 pages. The cast is massive, the terminology daunting. I feel like I just learned a whole new language, and in a way, I suppose I did. I have picked up words in Porphyrian, Samsamese and Ninysh. The amount of research and world building that went into this series is evident by how immersed I was in the book. Truly, a fictional world this intense and thorough is far too rare.
I had always believed that Seraphina was destined to be a trilogy, but apparently not. What a great surprise! Just when I was prepared to spend another two years waiting for the third book. 😉 As a conclusion to the series, this was perfect. I was completely overwhelmed with a sense of calm. It ended just right, leaving just enough unanswered questions for my imagination to continue. I’m a little devastated that it’s over, to be honest. I’m desperate for a spinoff, to follow the stories of the various ityasaari, but I would settle for anything else written by Rachel Hartman! I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next!
I know that it must feel, after reading this review, that taking on this series is a giant task. Please don’t be dissuaded by the magnitude of the commitment. It’s a brilliant series, and I could have kept reading it forever. Just do it.