I Read Shadow Scale and I Was Disappointed

I adored Seraphina when I read it last year. I even reread it before Shadow Scale‘s release because I wanted to be prepped for being back in the world. I couldn’t wait to get back in the world. But as the title of this blog post clearly states, I was not entirely happy with the result. It wasn’t dull or safe, if only it was, instead I just flat out did not understand the point of a lot of what happened in the story; and the ending left me feeling so hollow, especially when things did not play out the way I wanted them to, with nothing better or at least hopeful to counterbalance these things.

I will say one more thing before I get into the spoilery part of this. As someone who hopes to be published one day, I don’t ever want to make it appear like I’m bad-mouthing an author. Because of this, I have considered lately not posting negative reviews, since I feel I’m getting closer to hopefully becoming an author myself. I’ve been fortunate enough to have enjoyed all my books so far this year until now. I disagree with choices Hartman made in this book, but ultimately it’s her story and creation and I respect that, even I don’t care for the result. I want to make that clear because I might get ranty, but it’s only because I love Seraphina’s character so much and I felt so invested, only to be let down. I wouldn’t post this review if it had not been a highly a highly anticipated sequel for me.

(And if you haven’t read it I wouldn’t scroll down at all due to GIFs at the bottom, though I know I will get less comments that way, but I just really want to warn you!)

*** SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT ***

gr-shadow-scaleThe pacing of this book was quite strange in my opinion, kind of like Mockingjay. It starts off in Godderd, and I feel like I read that part so long ago I don’t even remember much of what happened other than Abdo and Lars experimenting with mind-fire. Then Seraphina sets off on her journey to find the other half-dragons. At first it was kind of interesting; she has varied success with those she comes in contact with the others of her kind. I was along for the ride because I love Seraphina, and Abdo too, though it was sad once he had his accident and was so much less himself.

Anyhow, I was going along with the story, not loving the pace but tolerating it, but then everything between Porphyry and going back to Godderd just felt sort of odd. I don’t know how to explain it. I was just really, really ready to move on at that point. The Porphyry part sort of dragged for me with not much happening (though I thought the setting was interesting), and then all the flying and walking and hanging out in caves was just boring.

The big bright spot of Porphyry was finally getting Kiggs back in the story. He has a new beard and Seraphina loves it! Ah it’s so cute! They do their best to maintain appearances though, but seriously, there seems to be no backing down, nothing to indicate the future heartache.

Now, in case you’re thinking I’m dense because of the prologue, I will say it worried me. I did know that them not being together in the end was a possibility, but I had hoped if that was the case, it would have been handled much differently. Mostly I was hoping I misinterpreted what I thought I was reading between Seraphina’s words to the historian.

And then what’s worse about how everything went down is that Glisselda doesn’t even love Kiggs that way because she loves Serpahina. It would have been more manageable if she loved Kiggs, because at least one of them could love the other in their marriage. Instead it’s entirely political, which might be realistic, but this is a book and I want my happy ending, dangit. But my ships have been sunk before, Louisa May Alcott did it without making me hate Little Women. So what’s the difference?

Well, where is Seraphina’s happiness? Or Kiggs’? I love them both dearly and want them to be happy. But I don’t feel we good closure for Seraphina AT ALL. She says she’s OK but I don’t see any development to indicate this or feel it from her. Orma doesn’t know who she is, so that sucks. If she absolutely could not be with Kiggs in Hartman’s mind, could we at least be able to go through Serpahina’s thought process and end up OK in the end with her? Maybe Josquin could come back in her life and we can see a hint of a possible romance there? (By the way what happened to him after that accident? I was expecting follow-up but we never got it!) Not that it has to be about romance, but I just want the girl to be happy, and being back home with her music and peace without her uncle or Kiggs or even Abdo is not enough for me.

And now seems just a good as time as any to bring up Orma. There was so little Orma in this sequel it was ridiculous. I understand why in the context of this particular story, but quite frankly I don’t think we needed this story. I think this could have played out differently. I loved Orma in the first book, and I wanted more of him and his snark.

So Pandowdy takes Jannoula to live in the cave with him for the next millennium? Why? What’s the point? Does he actually know he will be able to withstand her? It just feels like that leaves the door open for her to come back. I guess Hartman was trying to be humane, but honestly someone should have killed that woman. I’m sorry she had a crappy life but she was evil.

And The actual war is so glossed over it doesn’t even feel like it happened. I thought the book was going to be much more focused on the actual war, not the politics of its impendent.

There is so much detail about what Seraphina is able to do at the end with the fire and is she a Saint and all this stuff and I don’t like it really tied in well with the story overall and I especially don’t think it really did anything for the ending. I mean, the whole thing about half-dragon Saints and their abilities was really interesting. but everything felt so empty at the end anyway it was just like eh, what was the point?

But most of all, I’m furious about the Kiggs thing. There are few romances I have shipped harder than Seraphina and Kiggs, and she kept building it up in this book only to cut it off abruptly with lame reasoning that is reduced to a few sentences. If you’re going to burn my ship down, at least let there be gut-wrenching conversations, thorough thinking-it-out sessions, and one last goodbye kiss with all the feels. (I mean seriously, that scene early in the book when Kiggs is holding the book between him and Seraphina and he kisses it because he cannot kiss her I about lost it! It was the sweetest thing ever and then what?! UGH.) otp-feelsAt least sink my ship in a blaze of glory.

go-down-with-shipI hate for anyone else to feel the way I do, but I would also love to know if I’m not alone! Was anyone else disappointed by the ending of Seraphina’s story in Shadow Scale?

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Dreamcast: Seraphina

Recently I decided to try my hand at dreamcasting a YA book as a possible new feature here on the blog, starting with The Scorpio Races. Due to my love for Seraphina, I decided I wanted to try my hand at dreamcasting it. There are a lot of characters in Seraphina and I feel I barely scratched the surface with my choices, but it’s hard to come up with so many people (and the right people)! But here’s what I did come up with…

Kaya Scodelario as Seraphina – Josh Hutcherson as Kiggs – AnnaSophia Robb as Princess Glisselda

kaya-josh-annasopI don’t feel the need to elaborate on any of these choices. I don’t care if Josh is Peeta; he can totally be Kiggs too. Moving on.

Jeffrey Combs as Orma

jeffrey-combsI’m sorry if you haven’t seen enough Star Trek (specifically Deep Space Nine and Enterprise) to know the awesomeness that is Jeffrey Combs. Here you see normal Jeffrey Combs to the left, and kinda creepy Jeffrey Combs to the right. I’ve just got to say this guy has got the range, the wit, the everything needed to play the often deadpan and ornery Orma. Other, more well-known possibilities I considered for Orma were Gary Oldham and Paul Bettany, both who would be great. But really, I love Jeffrey Combs.

Helena Bonham Cater as Lady Corongi

Helena-Bonham-CarterCrazy lady who (highlight for spoilers) is actually an old man dragon in disguise? Helena’s your woman!

Sam Claflin as Earl of Aspig

sam-clafinNeeds to be creepy to some and charismatic to others? Totally perfect for Finnick!

Michael Caine as Viridius

michael-caineMichael Caine has played Scrooge and Alfred and many personalities in between, so I think he would be fabulous as the well-meaning but often cantankerous Viridius.

There’s so many other characters but I just didn’t know how to cast them! Let me know if you have suggestions! How do you feel about the choices I made? 

Review: Seraphina

Seraphina is like a YA sleeper hit. You don’t see a lot of blog buzz and hype about it, probably mostly because it was published in 2012. But if you look on Goodreads, you’re going to see that your friends who have read it most likely love it.

When I finished Parallel, and I found myself in the surprising situation of not having an idea of what I wanted to read next. (I always know what I want to read next.) I was trying to be a good girl and consider something on my shelves, but I also searched the library’s website for e-books and see if there were any that caught my interest and were available immediately without a wait (which is pretty rare, but happens sometimes). When I saw that Seraphina was available, I thought I ought to go for it. Shadow and Bone had really piqued my interest and I was ready to explore more fantasy (especially after a contemporary, even if it did have sci-fi in it), so I downloaded it.

The fact that right after I finished I wished that I owned a copy and that I could re-read it right then means it was pretty special.

GR-seraphinaBut I do have a couple of small complaints, so I want to get those out of the way…

What’s My Motivation?

Actually, the real question is: what was Seraphina’s motivation? About 100 pages in I realized I had no idea what Seraphina’s goal for the story was, thus I had no idea where the story needed to go. She was trying to blend in and not stick out too much, and then Orma was trying to find out about his father/her grandfather, but it wasn’t real clear-cut to me exactly what the plot was. That made it just a little off for me and made the beginning seem slowish (not too much so because I was engaged the whole time, but I felt like I was waiting to find out what the book was about).

toothlessSo Many People, Places, Terms…

So I realized once I finished the book (which again, was an e-book) that there was a cast of characters and a glossary in the back. That would have been useful to use throughout since I ended up confused many times about who a minor character was exactly again (they don’t have the easiest names) or what a certain term meant. I did read it after the fact and that helped some, but if I read it again (and in paperback!) I will definitely utilize these tools to help me appreciate the story even more!

But here’s what I loved

You Get Thrown Right Into the World

Wait, dragons can become people? Uh, okay, awesome! For the most part, you can figure things out as the story unfolds and there is really only added backstory/narrative occasionally, which I really appreciated.

Seraphina and Kiggs!

I loved them individually! I loved their friendship! I loved their *wanting more*!

astrid&hiccupThe Ending

It felt right, and it left me wanting more without leaving me at a cliffhanger. And good news, another Seraphina book is expected to come out next year so I’ll get the more that I want! Yay!

Basically, I don’t know what to say. The story is interesting and I just fell in love with the world and the people, and I especially loved Seraphina and Kiggs, and want more of them. This are no adequate words for this review. I had a couple issues (one that could easily have been resolved, so really just one) but overall, it was just great. Just read it.

hiccup-loveit

4-5stars-edit

Content advisory: Some mild language, most of which was the correct usage of the word b-stard. 

Have you read Seraphina? What are your thoughts? If not, what are you waiting for?!