Thursday, March 26, 2015

Blog tour: Review & giveaway for Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Publisher: Random House
Release Date: March 10th, 2015
Source: Publisher (thank you!) 

Synopsis: 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? 

Review: Sweet baby jesus, have I been waiting for this book. I fell hard for SERAPHINA when I read it two years ago and once I heard the sequel was set to release in 2015, I was over the moon with excitement! Now the wait is finally over and SHADOW SCALE dropped into my life at the best time. 

SHADOW SCALE has an entirely different feel from book 1 and our lady Seraphina is no longer the quiet, hesitant girl from before. In SHADOW SCALE, readers are able to see a more confident Seraphina who, due to the outbreak of war, must embark on a journey to seek out the other half dragons. The journey that Seraphina takes is remarkable. One of my favorite aspects of SERAPHINA was the world building and SHADOW SCALE not only confirms Hartman's brilliant world building skill but allows readers to see that the scope of Seraphina's world is even greater than anticipated initially. I was blown away by Hartman's ability to describe the various territories Seraphina travels through and how each one had entirely different languages, culture, varying perceptions of religion and even people's treatment of dragons. 

Hartman's world building skills are equally matched by her amazing ability to create characters that are all unique and have their own opinions and feelings towards their half dragon heritage.  In the first book, readers deeply feel the shame and fear that washed over Seraphina at the thought of being part dragon; we're limited to Seraphina's emotions and perceptions of her heritage. However, in SHADOW SCALE, meeting the new cast of half dragons offers readers different viewpoints that contrast sharply with Seraphina's experiences. Seraphina's meetings with each half dragon (I keep saying this because I don't want to spoil by giving names!) vary from wondrous to downright terrifying but I was happy that Hartman did this. It made Seraphina more self-aware of herself and it demonstrated to readers that while Seraphina is connected to the other half dragons, they do not all share the same sentiments that she has. I must also mention that the cast of characters in SHADOW SCALE come from all walks of life: there are characters who represent different parts on the spectrum of sexuality and I  applaud Ms. Hartman for writing about these characters in a kind, lovely way. 

This is also a small detail but I *have* to mention it: Seraphina visits this amazing library in one of the territories and my inner book nerd was glowing with pleasure at the thought her visiting the library. There is also a nod to librarians as they help Seraphina on her way towards finding more of her dragon comrades and reading these moments in SHADOW SCALE made me smile :) Go libraries! Go librarians and the power of knowledge! 

Anyway, back to the review. *switches gears* SHADOW SCALE has so many excellent qualities but I did have some issues with the ending to this series. I won't say what but I wasn't entirely pleased with how some of Seraphina's relationships were resolved. I know that this series was meant to be a duology but I felt that Hartman included so many new details to Seraphina's story that a third book might have been warranted. Or at least some editing in SHADOW SCALE so that the ending could have been more fleshed out and felt more concrete.  There was also one character who surprised me towards the end and I felt that their revelation (so close to the end of the book) changed the dynamics of the story, leading it somewhere that I felt was unnecessary. I was left feeling slightly unsettled and concerned for Seraphina. But witnessing Seraphina's transformation from an unsure, fearful girl to a bright, self-assured and kickass dragon lady was enough for me to overlook this issue I had. ....Slightly overlook, mind you. 

Final Verdict: While I'm not 100% satisfied with this series finale, I can't deny that Rachel Hartman is an incredibly gifted writer with an imagination as formidable as a dragon and just as glorious! If you haven't picked up Rachel Hartman's books, now is the time to do so. You will not regret falling into Seraphina's world. There is so much to love and admire!

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GIVEAWAY TIME: One lucky winner will be receiving a finished copy of SHADOW SCALE from the publisher! Click here to enter. Rules: This giveaway is open to the U.S. only and will be open from March 26th until April 2nd, 11:59pm EST. The winner will be announced the following day on April 3rd. Good luck! GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.

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  1. Great review Sandy :D I'm so happy that you loved this book! I also found Shadow Scale to be so so good :) And ohh, we read Seraphina at the same time, lol, April two years ago :) I also really love these books. Sigh. So good. But aw, you didn't like the thing that Glisselda revealed? :\ I thought that was pretty amazing, hih. But I do get it if you didn't fully love it :) Anyway. Awesome post. <3

    1. That's funny that we read the book at the same time! Hehe. Thanks for taking the time to comment 😊

  2. This is a great review! I just finished Shadow Scale too and have been thinking about it quite a bit but haven't talked to anyone so you shall have all my thoughts, Sandy. ;)

    I think the fact that the feel of it was *so* different than Seraphina threw me off quite a bit, and I'm still processing. But I was impressed.

    What I found most interesting was how Seraphina refused to completely villianize anyone, especially *ahem* one person in particularly. Because, to be honest, I kind of wanted a smackdown. Just a little bit.

    During the second half of the book, I felt like I was saying, "Holy Cannolis!" every two seconds.

    I agree with you about the ending, there was so much going on and all the little side details were a lot to take in. I felt like Seraphina had matured a lot, even over the course of just Shadow Scale and was dealing with things, like that one thing with the other two (talking in code is hard), that would send most people running. I mean, I know she spent Shadow Scale in part trying to circumvent a huge war, which would also send most running, but you know what I mean.

    I love the line, "that Rachel Hartman is an incredibly gifted writer with an imagination as formidable as a dragon." Too true! :)

    1. I'm nodding to everything here, Melanie! I was expecting a smack down too but it's like she realized that that wouldn't have truly worked with that character. Ugh. So much to process!!!! Thank you for commenting my dear ❤