Shadow Scale

16085457by Rachel Hartman
YA Fantasy
3 of 5 stars

I bought Seraphina a few years ago on a whim and was pleasantly surprised. The heroine and world-building were both unique and it’s a lyrical, interesting read. However, nearly three years later the sequel arrives and I only remember bits of the story. Fortunately, it begins with a historical recap to aid you. After that, I have mixed feelings about the story. Part of this is due to its marketing as YA fantasy – it has the pacing and tone of genre fantasy, whereas YA fantasy typically moves faster and has more dialogue and character relationships.

The same lyrical, slow-build plot and political intrigue from the first book are more than present. At times I felt we revisited the same type of event over and over without gaining new information or character development. I like Seraphina and she has a pragmatic approach to issues that is refreshing, but when she has to battle the same issue multiple times, I found myself wanting to skip ahead to the next event.

That aside, the cast of characters expands but is manageable, and I came to like several of them very much. I’m always impressed when the author makes sure to give a distinct personality to each one, instead of lumping them into groups and leaving them as foils for the protagonist. This is a solid sequel and the pacing picks up toward the last quarter of the book to provide the action and finale needed after so much setup.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and the quality is definitely there. However, this is a book that requires you to sink in gradually and spend plenty of time there, and I think I wasn’t quite in the mood for that at the time. Anyone who enjoyed the first book would like the sequel, and I’d recommend it for a leisurely read.

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, Shadow Scale is available on Goodreads and its parent company Amazon. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!

Similar reads:

  • Fire by Kristin Cashore – A heroine reviled for being the last human-shaped monster (creatures so beautiful they lure humans to their deaths), with musical gifts and hair like fire must accept herself and save a kingdom that can’t trust her. Another lyrical fantasy world.
  • The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker – Two magical beings ruled by corrupt masters cross paths in 1899 New York City and forge an unlikely friendship as they pursue independent lives. See my review here.
  • A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer – Teenage Faris is sent to finishing school by her corrupt uncle so he can continue ruling her dukedom for her. When she realizes Greenlaw College unofficially teaches magic, things get interesting. The comparison to Harry Potter isn’t accurate, I’d peg it for being more similar to A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray.
  • The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon – Sequel to The Bone Season, Paige has a similar task to Seraphina: gather the warring clairvoyant mime lords in London to unite them against the corrupt government. A slow, political build to a thrilling climax. See my review here.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Backlist Bonus: Graceling | To Live a Thousand Lives
  2. Trackback: Eona: the Last Dragoneye | To Live a Thousand Lives

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