Tag Archives: Rachel Hartman

Shadow Scale

I know, I know. I said that Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina was a standalone, and better for it. I was so wrong. Here is the sequel, Shadow Scale, and it is at least as marvellous, if not better. Whereas the reader won’t have that delicious sense of surprise that they ought to have got from Seraphina, here you have the satisfaction of finding out why we met certain characters in the first book.

Rachel Hartman, Shadow Scale

I mentioned some imaginary people. Hah. Now that Glisselda is Queen and she is betrothed to Prince Lucian, they ask Seraphina to help against the looming war with, well, I think some, but not all the other countries. It’s not as simple as dragons versus humans. Seraphina is half dragon and half human, and so are quite a few others. Those ‘imaginary’ characters, for instance.

It is believed that the ityasaari, as the half and halfs are called, have special skills, and need to be gathered in one place, so that they can do what is necessary to save the country of Goredd. Seraphina is sent out to the rest of the world to find them and bring them back.

Not all ityasaari want to be collected or to help, and there is a Judas figure, who uses all her skills to thwart Seraphina and the royal couple. If you forget that the dragons are dragons, and the ityasaari are ityasaari, you find instead the same kind of differences we have here on Earth, in our world. There is prejudice and there is coexistence, and none of the ityasaari is the same as another.

As is often the case, it was a bit hard to get back into the swing of things; remembering who’s who, and all that. Shadow Scale comes with the best ever quick summary of what has happened that I have seen in a novel. (Thank you!)

Very, very exciting, and there are some beautiful friendships, as well as more romance, and not exactly as you would have expected, either.



Seraphina is a story that provides you with romance and crime from an old-fashioned vein which I almost thought we’d never see again. It is also a fantasy featuring dragons, which isn’t the first thing you expect from a romantic mystery. Rachel Hartman writes so well, and with such humour, that I began rejoicing by the third page.

Rachel Hartman, Seraphina

Set in a fantasy past, 16-year-old Seraphina lives with the royal family as the music mistress in a country where humans have had to learn to co-exist with dragons, who can take on a kind of pretend human form, but who are very different from the humans. One of the Princes has just been murdered, and people fear it was done by a dragon.

Because Seraphina has special talents, and has more knowledge of dragons than most, she ends up searching for the murderer along with Prince Lucian and his betrothed, Princess Glisselda. Seraphina’s lifelong mentor Orma provides her with support, as do some imaginary creatures Seraphina needs to deal with on a daily basis.

Needless to say, Seraphina has a dreadful secret, which must remain a secret. And she falls in love. It’s a classic love story, and it’s not until you encounter one, that you realise they are as rare as gold dust these days.

Very satisfying. I believe this is a standalone book. There could conceivably be more, although personally I’d like to leave things here.

(When the paperback arrived, I looked at the cover, read the blurb and skimmed a few pages, and decided it wasn’t for me in more ways than one, and quickly dispatched it to ‘the other room,’ from which it was rescued the next day after some chatter on fb persuaded me to do The Second Look thing. Very glad I did. And I’m a little surprised to have heard nothing about the hardback last summer. Or anything at all.*)

* It is, of course, on the Carnegie longlist…