Shadow Scale

Shadow ScaleShadow ScaleShadow Scale (Seraphina) by Rachel Hartman by Rachel Hartman

Shadow Scale concludes the story begun in Seraphina, which I enjoyed enough to look forward to reading the sequel.

Unfortunately, Shadow Scale is a much weaker book, and it’s hard to recommend it, even to those who have read the first. I absolutely would not suggest anyone read it without reading the first – it won’t really make sense and you’ll miss out on the world-building.

In this book, Seraphina seems clueless, traveling about and just fortuitously having things happen to her, instead of making things happen. She’s also more self-pitying, and it gets tedious.

I don’t really like fantasy books where the hero has an all-powerful ally, and I also don’t like it when the antagonist is all-powerful. Jannoula ends up being that sort of foe, and I found myself rolling my eyes at the difficulties Seraphina found herself in because of Jannoula’s abilities. Fantasy novels are lots of fun for me, unless I reach a point where suspension of disbelief doesn’t work and it turns into ridiculousness. In that way, Seraphina worked for me while Shadow Scale didn’t.

The romantic triangle issue is resolved (no spoilers here, I can’t imagine anyone who didn’t think it would resolve in one way or another; this is a YA book after all), but it felt too neat. Does anything in life work out in such a convenient manner? It was eye-rolling, and telegraphed way too early in the book.

I did finish it, and so it was at least good enough for that (and at 600 pages, I did debate it.) It’s a quick read for all of it’s length, but ultimately a very unsatisfying end to a promising start.

Not recommended.

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Book Review: The Dark Enquiry

The Dark EnquiryThe Dark EnquiryThe Dark Enquiry (Lady Julia Grey series) by Deanna Raybourn by Deanna Raybourn

I keep reading on in Raybourn’s Lady Julia Gray series, because I enjoyed the first ones so much. After this last one, I think I’m finally ready to give up on it, and use my reading time for other books. Such a disappointment when a series I’ve liked fizzles out.

Initially the series grabbed me in part because of the time period and setting. Victorian London is familiar fictional ground, but I never get tired of it. I thought perhaps the last book disappointed me in part because it took place away from England, but this one is back in London, and it’s even worse.

In the first books in the series, Lady Julia was intelligent, spirited and refined. As the series has progressed, she’s getting more and more annoying. She’s no longer a strong character, she’s childish, ridiculous, petulant, whiny, emotional, manipulative, and all around annoying. I liked her once upon a time, but in this last book in particular I almost hated her.

This latest book also suffered from repetitive scenes. Brisbane just wants to protect Julia. She just wants to protect him. She does something foolish. He rescues her. Misunderstandings. Tears. They both love each other, really, they do. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I liked Brisbane too once upon a time, but I think the more he’s around Julia the worse they both get.

Unless I read a trusted review that says that any new books in the series have gone back to its strong beginning, I’ve got to say goodbye to Lady Julia and Brisbane.

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