Saturday, October 17, 2009

Review of Sacred Scars by Kathleen Duey

Duey, Kathleen. Sacred Scars (A Resurrection of Magic, book 2). Atheneum, 2009.

As anyone who has read at least the first quarter of the first book in this series, Skin Hunger, knows, Sadima not only does isn't able to stop Somiss, but 200 years later he and his magicians are still torturing and killing young boys in the name of magic. In Sacred Scars, we find out why Sadima did not succeed and what happened to her, as the timeline of her story gets closer and closer to student Hahp's time.

Meanwhile, Hahp and his fellow students continue to survive, but only just barely, as they struggle to master the skills taught to them by a small group of enigmatic, and often cruel, magicians. Hahp's attempts to understand the mysteries of the academy and to link all the boys together in a pact to destroy it are both hopeful and horribly frustrating.

This book, like the first, is painful to read, both because so many people are vilely treated and because of Sadima's failure to rescue Somiss's young prisoners (this isn't a spoiler - readers of Skin Hunger already know that Jux is one of Hahp's magician teachers). The brutality and cruelty of the magicians is breathtaking, and Sadima's fate, though it has many wonderful and redemptive aspects, is awful as well (especially since it renders her unable to act against Somiss for so many years).

Sacred Scars ends on a more hopeful note that did Skin Hunger. I figure that the academy may well be overthrown, or at least transformed, in book 3 - but I have this awful feeling that a bunch of pain and suffering is coming, too. It'll be worth it, to see Somiss brought down. Go Sadima and Hahp!

Highly recommended for all those who devoured Skin Hunger.

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