Friday, April 10, 2015

DNF Explanation & Giveaway: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

#2 in the Seraphina
ARC from publisher
Read 139 of 608 pages

I wasn't a huge fan of Seraphina, but I liked it enough to want to read the sequel.

Unfortunately, I didn't like the sequel enough to finish it.

I am very much in the minority on this series and I really, really wish I could love it as much as everyone else seems to love it. I think my issues with it are more on the personal side of things and those are usually hard to articulate. But I will try.

Five reasons Shadow Scale is not for me
(kinda spoilery for Seraphina)

1. Seraphina is not slumber party material for me

She seems so dreary and almost contradictory. I think that's in part because she is actually a pretty decent character, but she does not see those good qualities in herself. So her actions show one thing and her self-evaluation says another. 

I can see how that could work as a writing approach, but for me, that way of presenting her characterization isn't pleasurable to read. It makes Seraphina come across as a drag and I can't enjoy her more positive qualities. 

She also spent a good part of Shadow Scale making some stupid decisions and assumptions regarding the other half-dragons. This is her "lesson" in the book, so at least the point is that her decisions aren't correct. That makes it better, but still not fun to read.

2. The writing doesn't work for me

It feels so plodding. Like I'm swimming through honey. Making this Seraphina's "voice" makes her seem like such a bore. For me, I really think I would have enjoyed this more as third person. Though, I imagine that would be hard to do given all the action that takes place inside Seraphina's head.

3. Her garden

It is explained much more in this book, but I just...don't care. I don't care about Jaounella and Seraphina's presentation of her rubs me the wrong way. She's very knee jerk about it all, and that's frustrating to me. It makes Seraphina seem reactionary, unreasonable, and hyper-sensitive. And cowardly.

Since I don't know what happened in the past, all I can do is base my impressions off of the little information Seraphina gives me now, and that isn't enough for me to sympathize with her in this situation.

It just frustrates me and makes me want to tell her to suck it up and face her fears. After all, all I have as evidence is Seraphina successfully beating and containing Jaounella. So how bad can she be? (possibly very bad, but that isn't being communicated well).

4. Characterization

It seems to have suffered a lot in the sequel. In the first book, the side characters were so vivid and full of life. Here, they seem like sketches of themselves. Like we're relying solely on the development of the first book to carry over their characterizations in the sequel. 

As a result, characters I loved in the first book I just don't care about at all in the sequel. I'm so disappointed by this because I adored the character interactions in the first book.

5. I'm not into where this is heading

I read vague spoilers about what happens in the rest of the book and it doesn't really appeal to me. I don't feel invested in the story and what (I now know) will happen. I also don't like the resolution to the romance. 

Bottom line

There are certain authors I instantly click with and it's like they're writing specifically for me. Rachel Hartman is the opposite. There's just something that doesn't click with me.

Info for the giveaway:
  • What you can win: A finished copy of Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
  • As always, you do NOT have to be a follower
  • This giveaway is US/CA only
  • You must be 13 years of age or older
  • One entry per person
  • I will contact the winner through email and the winner will have 24 hours to reply before a new winner is chosen 
  • This giveaway closes on April 30th 


  1. I've heard many complaints about the slow pacing of the book, but I did really enjoy the first book. I thought her garden was very interesting and I did want to learn more. I also see your points on why you wouldn't like it either.

  2. I haven't read Seraphina yet and I've heard mixed reviews. I won the book in a giveaway, so I hope I like it! If I start the series, I know I'm going to have to read Shadow Scale and I'm nervous because from your review, I feel like I won't like it! Great review, though! (:

    Pearl @ AsteriskPearl's Book Blog

  3. I hear what you're saying. There were a lot of things I liked about Shadow Scale, but I didn't love it the way I loved Seraphina.

  4. "Characters I loved in the first book I just don't care about at all in the sequel." Exactly! I was so bummed out by this and I think it's because we just don't get much page time with those characters.

  5. So sad that you didn't love this one. I'm so excited for it. But I have read mixed reviews so I'm a little nervous.


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