The next book I'm going to review is Shadow Scale. It's part of a duology. The first book was called Seraphina and it was amazing. The main character is named Seraphina. Here's the description:
"Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.
Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life."
I would give it five stars. I fell for Seraphina right away, her love interest is a great character, so is her uncle. The book talks about music, self acceptance, secrets and what they do to you. She was witty, strong, a loner, creative. I loved her. So of course I read the 2nd book. And.... It was terrible. Now I'm going to do this review in two parts because of how much I want to talk about. Is the first book good enough to read the 2nd and ignore all of its sins? No. You can't read a masterpiece and then read its terrible sequel without it forever tarnishing the way you see the first. So either you read Seraphina and ignore its sequel, or read what happens next on the internet. Or read Shadow Scale. But let's get on to the review.
1. The way the love story was resolved.
*sighs* I have never seen a love story concluded this horribly before. Seraphina falls in love with Prince Lucian and he with her. He is supposed to marry his cousin Glisselda. Glisselda is maybe at the most three years younger than Seraphina from what I recall. I don't recall how old Lucian is. Glisselda is the heir to the throne. In book 2 Lucian and Seraphina don't completely act life themselves, but it's more Lucian. Their love story was not as intense. In the 1st book Glisselda and Seraphina are just friends. there is no hint of anything else. Unexpectedly in book 2 Selda kisses Seraphina. Is she bi, a lesbian? We're never told. After the kiss Seraphina says she feels something. What? Again, we're never told. Now here's when everything goes wrong: At the end the characters have a private conversation about their love lives. We don't read that private conversation, but we're told it happened. By the end Seraphina hints, but we're not explicitly says, that she will remain in a relationship with Lucian. First of all I'm against polyamory. But here's why also that's such a big problem: Seraphina is half-human, half-dragon. Now the 1st book is about her coming to accept herself and not live in secret of who she really is. It was a terrific and inspiring message. But now a huge part of her life will be a secret, the fact that she's the Kings partner. The Lucian that I know from the 1st book would have insisted that it was wrong for her to live a lie again, and would not have continued the relationship. But no, he acts ooc. Lucian and Selda get married. They could have for their people gotten married, and Selda would have been in a better place since it seems life she doesn't like guys. But then one has to wonder, if Seraphina felt something after the kiss, and Selda likes her, will she also be in a relationship with Selda? We're never told. The book is very slow and boring, with details about Seraphina's travels, and the author couldn't bother telling us anything. So here she is again living a lie, while Selda and Lucian get to rule the kingdom. They will need to have a heir. And what if Seraphina and Lucian have a child? That child will have to live a lie. The heir of Selda and Lucian will have another women in their lives who is in a relationship with their father. On top of that we're supposed to believe that Selda is okay with Lucian being with Seraphina. And if Seraphina and Selda are together, that Lucian is okay with it! By the end they are not the characters we have known. Seraphina could have gone on and had a family with someone else! Be free and not live a lie! But the author went against her own message! And for what? No details, ooc (out of character), and frankly disgusting. It's adultery. And ever if eventually Selda and Lucian would cheat on each other (because they're more like siblings), does it have to include Seraphina? Grow some backbone Seraphina! Don't imprison yourself with the shackles of lies and secrets that you just recently became free from! A man isn't worth it. No one is. Your freedom isn't worth it. Lucian from the 1st book was a moral character, and then the author ruined him. I loved these characters, and the ending ruined such a great work of fiction. And if we're supposed to believe they would make this decision, why not let us in on the conversation? So now people know she's half-dragon, but her relationship with Lucian (and maybe Selda) will have to be just between them. It might be an open secret though. I hope she left them eventually. Hopefully before she has a kid.
2. The bad guy continually kept getting powerful and from what I remember kept getting powers. Also Seraphina unlocks the power within herself to defeat the bad guy at the last second. It was confusing and also a huge deus ex machina. It's the type that some would laugh at.
3. Repetitiveness. Seraphina goes to a new land. She meets a new half-human half-dragon. The bad guy takes control of their mind and body (of maybe brainwashes them with their powers that reach great distances). They join her. Repeat. Details about the land. You know what's going to happen. Repeat. I don't think the bad guy could control Seraphina.
4. Helplessness. She has no control of what's happening, and that's okay. Not every character should be overpowered. But it was so slow. And nothing really interesting happened for a long time. No mention of music. She wasn't completely herself. If she's helpless, give us something! Not the same thing over and over. Not being ooc.
Part two coming soon.