Ever since I read Seraphina back in 2012, I’ve been patiently waiting to the conclusion of her story! It was well worth the wait and I couldn’t be happier about this book. I received a copy from the publisher in return for my honest opinion, and honestly, it’s EXCELLENT!
I wasn’t sure how Hartman would go about improving on the story (Amazon Affiliate link), but she definitely did. She made it more inclusive, more exciting and a lot more enthralling. I have no idea how she did this, apart from taking almost three years, but it was definitely worth the wait. I know I talked about her amazing story telling and character building in my response to Seraphina, but Hartman brought it to a new level in Shadow Scale. If anything, I wish the book were longer to flesh out more of the “grotesques” and what happens after the story ends.
I think what I enjoyed most about this novel is that even though it is a young adult novel, Hartman doesn’t mince words and most definitely doesn’t dumb down her language. I have not been a young adult for quite some time and I had to look up a few words to reaffirm my belief in what they meant and that is most definitely a good thing.
(SPOILERS IN THIS PARAGRAPH) Now, when we read novels we look to find ourselves in them and in this case Hartman’s creation of “LGBT” (even though they don’t identify as this, per say) characters made me so happy! There was no big deal made of it and I actually laughed when Abdo scolded Serephina about the SIX gendered pronouns/identities in his language! Add in the trans* character, Camba, and the hints at the end of the novel about who’s fallen in love with Serephina, and this is quite possibly one of the most diverse young adult novels out there.
I also LOVED Hartman’s creation of characters with so much reverence for books. She has mentioned she will go back to Gorred (the world) and I hope she does with more about the stories and legends, and perhaps even the Bibliagathon (great library).
Really, the publisher hit it on the head,
“So however you read Shadow Scale, fast and furious or slow and luxurious, I guarantee you will find yourself falling deeply in love with both the people and the places.”
And that makes me sure I’ll be back to visit Goredd, or any of the other countries Hartman’s created. I’m not sure when, but I will be back. Thankfully, even though this is the last one concerning Seraphina specifically, Hartman has said she’s “not one to waste a world.”
Recommendation: Definitely worth the read if you like anything from young adult to fantasy. More of this novel felt borrowed from other books out there than in the first, but it worked so no complaints. Like I say above, I’m not sure when, but I will go back to Goredd,whether as a re-read or a new visitor, I won’t know until it happens!
Opening Line: “From Father Fargle’s Goredd: The Tangled Thicket of History: Let us first consider the role of Seraphina Dombegh in the events leading up to Queen Glisselda’s reign.”
Closing Line: “He made room for me and we sat together the rest of that afternoon, not talking, but letting our hands walk over the keys and remember.” (Whited out.)