Series: Seraphina #2
Published by: Listening Library, Random House Kids on March 10, 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Historical, Young Adult
Narrator: Mandy Williams, W. Morgan Sheppard
Length: 18 hrs and 9 mins
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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?
I received this book for free from YABC in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
One Line: Even though the story dragged for the most part, the characters were fascinating and made the book a memorable read for me.
What I Loved: I loved meeting all of the other half-dragons and learning about their unique abilities and quirks. Seraphina’s “garden of the grotesque” was pretty interesting and those times when we were her head were pretty fascinating. The characters, both good and bad, were what made this book for me and I have a soft spot for Abdo. I also really liked learning about all the different lands and cultures that Hartman created while Seraphina traveled the world looking for other half-dragons. The humor is very subtle throughout the book, but it’s there, and I really enjoyed those little spurts in between all the fictional history and lore of the storyline.
What Didn’t Work for Me: The book felt way too long for me. Both books in the series were long, but more happened in the first book and I was more engaged than in this one. For characters who are supposed to be in the middle of a dangerous war, there wasn’t any action. Also, Seraphina is supposed to be on this journey to find other half-breeds, but it takes forever for there to be any progress in that area, and when things do happen, it’s not that exciting. When it comes to her facing off against Januola, there wasn’t nearly enough action there either. It felt like it was building up to be something big, but then the ending very anticlimactic. While Hartman does a great job at creating a very vivid picture, it was just too much and often times, unnecessary in my opinion. The pacing was just way to slow for my taste.
Final Verdict: While the pacing leaves a lot to be desired, the story itself is beautiful and compelling. Shadow Scale lets fans of Seraphina see how it all ends for some of their favorite characters.
Thoughts on the Narrator
I listened to Mandy in the first book in this series, Seraphina, so I have heard her before and I like her. She reads with a British accent, which worked very well for the story. Her voice sets just the right tone for the book. You definitely get a historical/medieval feel while listening and I could easily visualize the story as she read it. My only problem with her was that I didn’t like the way she portrayed male voices. It just didn’t sound right to me and they often came out making the guy(s) sound “slow” or forced. Other than that, she was good, despite the story itself being a bit dull.
Oh, and Sheppard only read for a few minutes at the beginning of the book, also a British narrator. It didn’t really add anything to the story, so his part in it didn’t affect my experience in the slightest.
Listen to an Excerpt
*This review of Shadow Scale was first published on YABC.*