What You Expect from Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman and What it Delivers
21st February, 2017
Seraphina continues on her journey to find the other half breeds. Shadow Scale is the sequel to Seraphina. This review may contain spoilers to Seraphina.
When Seraphina ended, I wanted nothing more than to read Shadow Scale straight away and follow Seraphina’s adventures. This is a major reason why Seraphina made it to my Favourite Books of Second Half of 2016.
At the end of Seraphina we are standing at the brink of a war. Seraphina needs to find the other half breeds. Dragons and humans have begun to distrust one another. Orma, Seraphina’s uncle and a dragon who loves knowledge, is sent to have his memories removed. Seraphina and Prince Lucian have decided to be secretive about their love for another so as not to upset Princess Glisselda, Lucian’s fiance.
If you still have not added Seraphina to your TBR, I urge you to do that. The book is such an amazing read. You might want to check Why Seraphina is a must-read for dragon lovers. So after we read that last page of Seraphina, we are at a cliffhanger ending. And here are the questions that claw our hearts and gnaw at our peace-of-mind about the sequel :
-More about Orma. He was one amazing book-hoarding-dragon. Does he survive the memory erasing procedure, does he escape, does he die?
– How will Seraphina team up the half breeds? Will there be a war?
– Shadow Scale must be more fast paced than Seraphina because it is all going to be action and war.(Wooho)
– Seraphina had amazing world-building. Will we see more developments? Will we see more of the political hierarchy of the neighbouring countries?
-The music! Such an integral part of Seraphina. Will her music help her in the next task?
-The romance, of course- Lucien and Seraphina have such a good chemistry. How will their life ahead be?
-How will Glisselda react to the news of her fiancé falling for her tutor and friend?
Well, well, we get not even one tick in our checklist of expectations. Here is what happens:
1. Side-lining Orma
Shadow Scale asks us, “Why would you want to spend time with one of the most important characters of the first book?” Keep reading until you finish 400 pages or so. That will take you to a one page (yes, that’s right) conversation between Orma and Seraphina.
2. The Half- Breeds
Let me remind you there are 17 half breeds. They have nicknames given by Seraphina because she has not met them in person yet. And when she meets them in this book, they have real names. So now we alternate between the nicknames and real names. Then there are other characters.
You do the math. 30+ character names sure don’t fit in my head.
3. The pacing
The pacing is at a moderate speed. But mostly nothing happens in the whole book except Seraphina meeting the half breeds one by one and convincing them to join her.
4. World, politics and music
Nothing. Nothing at all about any of these.
The romance fell absolutely flat. There are a few scenes where Seraphina and Lucian talk to each other. They seem more like colleagues in a job (war) than lovers. There was no chemistry. No, not even a little bit.
6. Love Triangle
Suddenly there are new developments in the plot and Glisselda’s sexuality. Hello? Suddenly Lucien and Seraphina don’t care for one another. And it is not even clear what the author has in mind – lesbian vibes? Bisexuality? Polyamory?
I don’t know.
7. Ending mash up
Almost towards the end of the book, Hartman suddenly wanted to answer all of the questions listed in the Reality part of this post. Orma makes a guest appearance. There is some kind of a war. And Seraphina saves the day. Which brings us to the question of why get together all the half-breeds in the first place which took up three fourths the book. There is an unconvincing and unnecessary sacrifice for love. There is a forced inclusion of diversity in sexuality (which still remains ambiguous till the end), like a twist put in the novel for the sake of a twist.
Final Verdict :
I was in two minds whether I should bother writing a post on Shadow Scale. In the end I decided to point out how Shadow Scale is an example of how a sequel should never be written; that too when the first book Seraphina was original, imaginative and nearly a perfect novel.
Don’t be put off by this review of the sequel. Please please pick up Seraphina which is absolutely mind blowing. And after that? Well, hang onto the cliffhanger ending and pretend there was no sequel.
Title : Shadow Scale
Author : Rachel Hartman
Publisher : Corgi Books
Published : 2016 (Originally in 2014)
Language : English
Pages : 499
Rating : 1/5
Do you enjoy books on dragons? DO you have a different opinion on Shadow Scale? Tell me. I would love to know.