Gwen & Kate's Library

Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.

Gwen’s Thoughts on Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

I still don’t know exactly how I feel about this book! Although it was incredibly slow-paced, I enjoyed Many Williams’s telling of the story while I was listening to it, but now realizing that there is no third book currently announced, I feel even more disappointed than when I finished the rather anticlimactic ending. 

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Series: Seraphina, Book 2

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 3.5 stars

Format: Audiobook, narrated by Mandy Williams

Description: 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?

Review:

I still don’t know exactly how I feel about this book! Although it was incredibly slow-paced, I enjoyed Many Williams’s telling of the story while I was listening to it, but now realizing that there is no third book currently announced, I feel even more disappointed than when I finished the rather anticlimactic ending.

The end of Seraphina sets up the beginning of Shadow Scale. The reader knows that Seraphina is going on a journey to find the other half-dragons while a new world between humans and dragons rages. Seraphina’s journey takes about 80% of the slow-paced book, about which the only good thing is that her greater world is described and wonderfully developed. I loved learning more about the various other countries around Seraphina’s homeland in Goredd, and the unique languages and cultures of each.

However, even the ending, which brings Seraphina finally back to Goredd, isn’t as action or suspense-filled as I’d hoped, and has many very important conclusions missing. First of all, it seems that Seraphina is so close to becoming the “heroine” and solving her own problems, when they are also easily and effortlessly solved for her instead. It’s rather disappointing with all the build up, that this war is simply suddenly over just like that. And the losses of the war to this point really aren’t felt by the reader at all.

The losses that are felt seem sad and unnecessary and unresolved. My absolute favorite part of the book lasts for less than a page, and has do to with a large revelation about the various budding romances in the book. Sadly, despite this amazing plot point that is extremely unusual for YA fiction (I’m trying so hard right now to not give it away!), the resolution the characters agree to at the end solves none of their problems! I did not find it a happy ending in the least, and was quite disappointed that the romance that was so hinted at in Seraphina and throughout Shadow Scale was just left hanging.

All in all, I think the only way these issues I have with Shadow Scale could be resolved is for Rachel Hartman to publish a third book please! Although the “war” is completely done suddenly, so many personal issues could use a third book to explore and leave with an actually satisfying and fully concluded ending!

Have you read Shadow Scale yet? What are your thoughts — were you satisfied? Do you think Rachel Hartman purposefully leaves the reader this way (I hope not!)?

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This entry was posted on September 17, 2015 by in Author: Gwen, Review, Young Adult and tagged , , , .
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