Saturday, January 31, 2015

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman Review

"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?"

So I got a copy from Netgalley. 

Shadow Scale is probably the conclusion of this series, but I can't be quite sure. (No announcement or anything from the author, so anything could happen). Its plot follows Seraphina's plot rather similarly. Yes, the beginning is very slow and anticlimactic. It was so slow that I left around page 75 to read two other books.

The plot does pick up at about page 100, but I still found it too slow for me. Then again, I do prefer a much faster, quicker plot and I bore easily. I'm pleased to say that once the plot starts picking up, it doesn't slow down. Not once.

Seraphina is most certainly different. (I keep spelling her name Seraphrina annoyingly. With the "r"). Anyway, she is a fairly nice character. She isn't kicking butts like Annabeth Chase or Charlie Bradbury. She is a much more passive character, but she is quite alert and well. She is smart, and she does rely on her intelligence (aka the brain). 

But I have to admit that I'm more interested in the villain. Jannoula. As a half-dragon like Seraphina, she is a much more interesting character. She is a skillful tactician, and her methods are particularly frightening. Her words are manipulative, and she is pretty much, in conclusion, a sociopath. From the beginning, she seems to be a girl who is unwanted and in need of protection. Her words are her armor, and she wields them better than swords. Her strategies are brilliant, and she remains constantly three steps ahead of Seraphina. If she wasn't such a gross character of a twisted mind, I would be seriously friends with her. However, I don't think it would fare well for me...

After all, she is abusive, too. 

Other than all of this, there is one last thing. A very big problem. With the ending. The ending, the ending. It is always the problem, the bane of all authors and series, books and stories. Some readers will like it. Some readers won't. 

I'm one of the latter. I don't like the ending. I don't like most of it. The part with Orma and the other half-dragons are completely fine. (And to avoid spoilers, I won't dive into too much detail about one certain part). A certain part I especially don't like is... the part involving Kiggs and Glisselda. Apparently, they are cousins. So that is confirmed. And they are engaged with each other. Much I spell it out for readers? Incest? 

I don't approve.

Overall, I find Seraphina to be mostly fine. Everything but the exposition and the resolution is fine. So...?

Rating: Three Point Five out of Five (Rounded Down To Three)

1 comment:

  1. Followup: I must point out that marriage between first cousins is banned in the United States, depending on which state you are in. For most parts of the world, however, it is legal.