Saturday, April 4, 2015

'Shadow Scale' by Rachel Hartman


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?
Seraphina is a nice girl. But she isn't the best character. Her personality isn't stunning. She is very nice, though. I like her kindness. But she isn't that interesting. I prefer the characters that at least have spunk. Seraphina is just a nice person. I don't have much to say. She does have a revelation, an epiphany. Which is great. I think that's great. She realizes her true potential. Seraphina did have power. She had it locked up. Hidden. She had power. And she realized it at last. She didn't know about her power. She didn't know what she could do. 
Abdo is amazing. He's my favorite. He's such a wise kid. He's clever. Very clever. He's also a sweet kid. He's nice. And very strong. Mentally. He's a great character. His backstory is fascinating. He grew up without Phina's fear. Abdo was lucky. He didn't have to worry about hatred. And he practiced his mind fire. And he's lucky to see his mind fire. 

It was interesting to see all the other half-dragons and the different cultures. 
The other half-dragons are different. They all are different people. They accept their difference or not. Nedouard was shunned. He had to hide. And the way their scales manifest. Always different. In Abdo's mouth. In Phina's arms and torso. Things manifest oddly. They always change. They're all different. And they all have different powers. I'm not sure what they are, though. The powers from the new half-dragons aren't revealed. Unless they're just being normal. It seems like they don't have powers. 
The cultures interested me. The Porphyrian culture accepted half-dragons. They believe in different gods. They are so unlike the Southladers. And the Southlanders are different all by themselves. They're practically a different species than the people in Porphyry. Then we have Samsam. I don't know why the people in Samsam hate dragons so much. It annoys me. Why? Why can't you just accept it? Live. Coexist. That's possible. And then we have Ninys. And we have Goredd. Goredd isn't bad. With the changes, it isn't bad. Ninys isn't bad either. But they still have the Saints. (And that's a plot twist.) 

The plot isn't very exciting. It's Phina looking for the other half-dragons most of the time. Which is tiring and boring. Porphyry was different. There was resistance. The half-dragons couldn't just come with Phina. (Which was a disappointment to me.) 
But there wasn't action. Phina had to use her mind. (I know she isn't the best...physical fighter or anything. But still. Why didn't she try to fight?) I wanted more swordplay. This is a fantasy world after all. I was patiently awaiting a fight scene. But nothing came.
There is the Saints plot twist. And the only with Jannoula. (That one shocked me.) Those were surprising. They were good plot twists. They really shocked me. You couldn't have expected them. They just happened. You couldn't figure them out. They made the plot different. They changed it. 

It was a good ending. It gave the story closure. There weren't any questions. Nothing came to mind. The ending wasn't truly something amazing, though. The characters were happy. The odd love triangle was let go. (And I don't know what to think of that weird love triangle. I won't even mention it further.) The enemies were defeated. Goredd is safe. 
The epilogue is actually...sweet. Orma and Seraphina back together again. How sweet. I like that he remembers. Because you always should remember things like piano. (Or whatever the instrument they were playing...) 

Sunny with a chance of scattered rain

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