Tag: Rachel Hartman

Guest Review: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Posted April 17, 2015 by Whitley B in Reviews | 1 Comment

Shadow Scale by Rachel HartmanWhitley’s review of Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman.

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?

I liked Seraphina. I didn’t quite think it was as original as touted, but I still enjoyed it thoroughly and I had warm expectations for Shadow Scale.

Oh…oh how mistaken I was.

Honestly, it’s kind of impressive how Seraphina is a first person narrator and yet still manages to be entirely useless in her own story. She does nothing of actual lasting importance. Everything she does do, it turns out it would have been done by someone else if she hadn’t managed it, and said other person did 12/16ths of that task anyway so Seraphina’s efforts weren’t exactly monumental. She could literally be replaced by a Sexy Lamp (erm, minus the sexy part) because she’s that useless. The one thing she can actually lay claim to is in the final climax, and it’s…to be really shiny so that someone else can come in and do the actual villain defeating. So, still pretty ‘lamp’ish.

And it is just unbelievably frustrating to read a book where the main character just sort of ambles through things.

Add to that the plot was painfully protracted and meandering, one of the central concepts (the nature of the Saints) was distressingly obvious from the start and yet Seraphina still remained ‘derp-de-derp’ about it until the end, and the utter lack of any (ANY) chemistry with Kiggs once he shows up again… Sigh.

There was one thing worth loving in this book: Janoulla. Saints alive, but I do love me a fun villain. She was amazing, as far as ‘love to hate them’ types go. She was broken and heartless and ripe for woobiefication, but still painted thoroughly as a villain and lived up to the title. Cruel, but with a smile and a plan and god I loved to hate her so much.

As to the rest, the writing is still smooth and serviceable and the world is still well formed and interesting, the side characters still colorful. But I’m sorry, nothing could have saved it from its own main character. I wanted to slap her twelve times a page and then forcibly hand over the narration to Janoulla so we could see shit getting’ done instead of yet another ‘sit around and stare at the ceiling’ party.

Rating: 2 out of 5

This title is available from Random House Books for Young Readers.  You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.