Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman

Shadow Scale

“Sometimes everyone does their best and things still go wrong.”

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?

Personal Thoughts:

Few months after the conculsion of the first book Seraphina, the dragons and humans are now engaged in a civil war. Rebel dragons are threatening the peace treaty with humans. To help Gorredd win the possible war Seraphina an ityasaari (half-human/half-dragons) travels across country to search the other ityasaari like her in the hopes to find more ally to help the Kingdom of Gorredd regain peace.

Seraphina’s quest to find the other ityasaari took a huge part of the book which is a bit dragging and repetitive for me. As much as I like to explore the other neighboring Kingdoms and meet the other half-dragons/half-humans with their powers or special ability I don’t see the need to stretch it up to the half part of the story.

Since I can’t connect to Seraphina from the first book, I don’t expect to find her more relateable in this second installment but I’m glad to see her more in action. With a new villain to face, Seraphina become more engaged in this second installment. Her internal journey to learn more about herself parallels her physical journey traveling to different Kingdoms. The more she find other itsayaari like her and know more about them the more she realized that she is still different.

I missed Orma from the first book. Yes, he is still part of the story but his presence is so small in this one that I just wish there’s more of him. I think he is one of the most valuable character from the first book. His relationship to Seraphina as her uncle shows another angle of Seraphina’s character.

Rachel Hartman’s wording is still beautiful. I still adore all her prose and metaphors such as these lines below.

“The thing about reason is that there’s a geometry to it. It travels in a straight line, so that slightly different beginnings can lead you to wildly divergent endpoints.”

“Nothing was just one thing; there were worlds within worlds. Those of us who trod the line between were blessed and burdened with both.”

“If you followed logic all the way back to its origin, did you inevitable end up at a point of illogic, an article of faith? Even an indisputable fact must be chosen as the place to start reasoning, given weight by a mind that believed in its worth.”

Those lines simply proves that Rachel Hartman is really smart. Her writing is clever if not overly detailed.

Being the final installment, I want Shadow Scale to to soar high or leave a satisfying note but unfortunately it didn’t reach its full potential in my opinion. I still adore Rachel Hartman’s beautiful wording but unfortunately that isn’t enough for me to love this dragon series.

* This review is based on an eBook I received courtesy of the publisher, Random House Children’s via NetGalley.

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