Book Review: Sacred Scars
A Resurrection of Magic, Book 2
by Kathleen Duey
Warning: This review is slightly spoilerish to the fist book, Skin Hunger, so if you haven't read Skin Hunger, I recommend you stop now and read that book first.
My review of Skin Hunger
As with its predecessor, Skin Hunger, Sacred Scars tells two stories, separated by many years and yet linked together. Sadima is in hiding with Somiss, Franklin, and the boys; she does what she can to protect the boys and prepare for the day that she and Franklin can leave, and escape Somiss' cruelty forever. But she begins to suspect that day will never come; that Franklin will never be able to defy Somiss enough to leave.
Amidst the parallel cruelty of the Limori Academy, Hahp attempts to forge an alliance with the other students, in defiance of the restriction on helping each other. But alliance is nearly impossible when communication is forbidden, loyalties are uncertain, and even reality difficult to ascertain.
In Sacred Scars, we begin to see more and more the connections between Sadima's story and Hahp's story. I suspect that in the third book, we'll find out that these stories are connected in ways even deeper than we realized. Kathleen Duey's attention to detail is amazing! The smallest things are vested with meaning: names, chairs, and even cheeses.
This is a powerful book, and a dark one. In one chapter, I felt physically ill at what happened to one character, and had to stop reading for a short break to pull myself together. Sometimes I wondered how Duey could bear to write about the things that happen to some of her characters. And yet, there is hope and love and friendship, at least for brief respites.
Although Duey has set up an apparent good-evil dichotomy, with magic on the evil side of the split, she simultaneously raises the question whether it's really that black and white. If Sadima has an inborn magical talent that's as natural as breathing to her, how can all magic be evil?
Sacred Scars is an intense, readable and fascinating book that surpasses its predecessor. I'm looking forward to reading the third book.
Disclosures: I purchased a copy of Sacred Scars after being unable to obtain a review copy. The links above are Amazon.com affiliate links, and I earn a few cents on copies of the books purchased through these links. Neither of these things influenced my review.