book review

Shadow Scale // Review


I am a huge fan of dragon books. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m Welsh, but whatever the reason, I’ve always loved dragons and books about dragons. Whether they’re good dragons, bad dragons, dragons who turn into people, people who ride dragons. Whatever.

Just give me all the books about dragons.

So, obviously, when I read Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, I fell in love.

It had dragons and they turned into humans. It had an uneasy truce between dragons and humans. It had half-dragons. It had the most beautiful descriptions of music. It had the adorableness that was Seraphina and Kiggs.

This month, I finally got around to reading its sequel, Shadow Scale. I’d been putting it off for ages (why? I have no idea), and so it was a treat to finally revisit the world of Seraphina. Was it worth the wait? Yes, definitely, but then it wasn’t quite as good as the first book. Here are my thoughts, in a neat little list.


The Good Bits

  • The first “chapter” was a recap of Seraphina, but written in the form of a history book from Seraphina’s world. Why can’t more books with giant gaps between publishing dates do this? It was so handy just to remind myself of Seraphina.
  • The world was beautiful, and so interesting to read about. Sure, a map would’ve been handy with all the travelling Phina did, but it was still a fascinating world. I really loved the way religion and ideologies differed between countries, but only slightly in some cases. I just wanted to know everything about Phina’s world.
  • The way Rachel Hartman writes is just beautiful. There were a few times when I’d reread a sentence or paragraph just to appreciate her writing, especially when she was writing about music. She makes it so magical, and I could almost hear the music as I read.
  • Meeting more half-dragons was so interesting. They’re such a diverse group of people, and I loved learning about them.
  • PHINA AND KIGGS! Literally the cutest couple ever.
  • And the Phina/Kiggs/Selda friendship is perfect. Their scenes together were the best bits of the book.

The Not-So-Good

  • The plot felt pretty slow at times, and a little repetitive. A lot of time is spent going from place to place looking for half-dragons, and I just wish a bit more had happened during that part of the book.
  • There was nowhere near enough Kiggs and Selda. Their relationship with Phina was my favourite thing about the first book, and there was a lack of it in Shadow Scale. I really need a book where it’s just them hanging out together.
  • The ending felt a bit rushed. I didn’t actually realise that this was a duology until pretty late on in the book, and so it all seemed to wrap very quickly and nicely at the end. Plus, I didn’t totally follow what happened – I had to reread it to completely understand the story.

Shadow Scale didn’t enchant me the same way Seraphina did, but I did enjoy it a lot and it was a good sequel to Seraphina. There is so much creativity in Hartman’s books, and her writing is magical. If you enjoyed Seraphina, then chances are you’ll enjoy Shadow Scale too.

Have you read Shadow Scale? What did you think? And how awesome are dragons??


3 thoughts on “Shadow Scale // Review

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