Shadow Scale

April 13, 2015 Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult 12 ★★★

Shadow ScaleTitle: Shadow Scale
Author: Rachel Hartman
Source: NetGalley
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: Although I still loved the politics and world-building in this sequel, I found the pacing too slow and the action unengaging.

As a half-dragon, Seraphina has a unique connection to others of her kind. However, her country of Gored has only recently made peace with the dragons and now this fragile peace may be shattered by a dragon civil war. The fragile peace means that many humans still hate dragons and that most half-dragons such as Saraphina must hide who they are. Each half-dragon has unique gifts and together they might be able to protect Gored if Seraphina is able to use her own unique powers to find them. To do so, she will have to avoid humans and dragons who want to stop her. But the biggest threat is one very bitter and very dangerous half-dragon who uses her powers to control others and manipulate the war for her own purposes.

I’ve read a number of reviews that made me expect to like this as much as I liked Seraphina. Even having read it, I feel as though I should have liked it as much as the prequel. It had the same fascinating world building, perhaps even more so since Seraphina does a lot of travelling and learns many new things about her powers. It also had a similar focus on complex political situations, which I enjoyed more and more as the story developed and further complexities were revealed. Unfortunately, the world building and politics weren’t quite enough to pull me in.

I think part of the problem was that I’m pretty busy right now and this was a slow starter. It was hard for me to make myself make the time to slog through the beginning before the more interesting details of the political and magical situations were revealed. I also had trouble connecting to the story. The characters were interesting and unique, but none were explored in great depth. The action sequences often occurred off-stage and even when they were described in detail, they didn’t make me feel any urgency or excitement. The ending, in particular, felt predictable, contrived, and therefore anticlimactic. I did have fun reading this book, but it feels overwhelmingly average to me. I realize ‘meh’ isn’t the most descriptive of words, but that was my first thought when I finished. Given how much more I liked Seraphina, I suspect this is just a case of reading a good book at the wrong time. For a more glowing review, I’d recommend visiting Anya at On Starships and Dragonwings.

Do you ever finish a book and want to tell it “it’s not you, it’s me”? 

12 Responses to “Shadow Scale”

  1. Jancee @ Jancee Reads

    I felt very “meh” about Seraphina. I wanted to like it, but I ended up only thinking it was ok. I do have this on my TBR, so I’ll probably reread Seraphina. Maybe I’ll like it more this time, and enjoy the sequel as well.

    I really hate it when I think a book is spot-on for me, and then it turns out to be a bust!

    • DoingDewey

      After the way I felt about this one, I can better understand why you might not have liked Seraphina. It also didn’t have much action, but for some reason in that book, the political intrigues were enough to keep me enjoying it. This one just didn’t work for me.

  2. Geoff W

    I think you hit it right on the head about too much happening off the page. I feel if I would’ve read the two back to back, or if they even would’ve combined them it would’ve been that much better. Seraphina was good, but it was too long ago and not good enough to keep the bridge built between it and it’s sequel. And the wrong time could also be a factor, I run into that WAY too often.

  3. Lindsey

    I just finished this one and I agree that it took me a LONG time to get into it. I thought maybe it was just me having read Seraphina so long ago!

    • DoingDewey

      I think the time since reading Seraphina could have been part of it for me too, but I did also feel like the story was fairly action-free.

  4. Aylee

    Oh, I feel you here. Not that I’ve read this one, but I have certainly been in the position where I wasn’t in the best place to read a slow-burn book like this and it just didn’t click with me as much as I expected and wanted it to. I still need to get to this series and I can’t wait to – but I think I should wait for a time when things are relatively quiet and easy going in my life.

  5. Christina

    Bah. I have Shadow Scale out from the library right now, but I’m just not in the mood to read it, and you’ve convinced me that I don’t need to anytime soon!

    • DoingDewey

      Haha, I’m sorry! I hate when this happens to me. Right now the book I’m not excited about is The Dream Lover and I was extra put-off by reading some negative reviews just as I was trying to talk myself into picking it up. So, I’m sorry to decrease your motivation for getting to this one! Hopefully it’s for the best 🙂

  6. Krysta

    Hmm. I read a lot of good reviews for Seraphina but so far reactions to Shadow Scale have not seemed as positive. Now I’m not sure I want to read Seraphina anymore.

    • DoingDewey

      I’m less enthusiastic about recommending Seraphina after having read this one. I enjoyed Seraphina, but for me, this was a disappointing end to the series.

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