Review: Shadow Scale, Rachel Hartman

May 18, 2015 Uncategorized 0 ★★★★

Review: Shadow Scale, Rachel HartmanShadow Scale Series: Seraphina #2
on March 2015
Pages: 608
Amazon • Amazon UK • Book Depository

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?


War is coming between the kingdom of Goredd and the dragons, and the half-dragons have been thrust into the public eye. Seraphina is keen to travel around the kingdoms to locate others like herself, and she is sure that if she can bring her kind together they will be able to protect the kindgom.

It has been a long wait for Seraphina fans and I was so excited to finally get to read Shadow Scale! I was quite surprised that it turned out to be a duology – it was a bit sad to reach the end and find that it was actually the end. This is quite a long book, but with the pacing already slow at times, I was glad that Rachel kept it as one book rather than splitting and drawing it out into two.

At the end of Seraphina, things were still left very vague as to the nature of the grotesque characters in Seraphina’s mind garden. It was really lovely to read more about these amazing characters and learn more about the half dragons and their place in the world. Once Jannoula’s role is revealed, things get a lot more interesting, although things still develop fairly slowly.

Jannoula is an excellent baddy! She just wants to watch the world burn and is not clear whose side she’s on until close to the end. I loved to hate her throughout the story.

The ending just didn’t really do it for me, and while I was surprised by some of the twists, I felt that Seraphina really got the raw deal. I won’t say any more to avoid spoilers, but if you’ve read it, you might know why I felt slightly disappointed.

Advocates of diverse books should find plenty to be happy about in this one. Gay, lesbian, and transgender people feature although there aren’t many relationships for those characters.

It may not have had quite the effect on me that Seraphina did, but fans of the first book will still find plenty to love in Shadow Scale, if they don’t mind some slow world building.

four-stars – A great conclusion to the story, if a little slowly paced. I hope there’s more to come in this world, in one form or another.

Anni lives in Brisbane, Australia with her young family. She loves everything fantasy and science fiction and believes sleep is really very underrated.

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