The author of National Book Award finalist Skin Hunger, Kathleen Duey continues her breathtaking Resurrection of Magic series with Sacred Scars.
Sadima, Franklin, and Somiss, driven out of Limòri by a suspicious fire, are living in a cave hidden within the cliffs that overlook the city. Somiss is convinced the dark passages of the caves were the home of ancient magicians, and his obsession with restoring magic deepens. Sadima dreams of escape - for her, for Franklin, and for the orphaned street boys Somiss has imprisoned in a crowded cage. Somiss claims he will teach these boys magic, that they will become his first students, but Sadima knows he is lying.
Generations later, Hahp is struggling to survive the wizards' increasingly dangerous classes at the Limòri Academy of Magic. He knows the fragile pact he has forged with his secretive roommate, Gerrard, will not be enough to put an end to the evil. It will take all the students acting together to have any chance of destroying the academy. Building trust, with few chances to speak or plan, will be almost impossible, but there is no choice.
I find this series completely compelling! For all that it's won awards, it still feels like something of a hidden gem. A "dark and twisty" hidden gem, often set in all sorts of dark and twisty tunnels and caverns! At the moment it's listed in the teen section, but it belongs first and foremost in fantasy. This is not just for young adults! I'd say it was a pyschological fantasy, if I could make up a genre, in which some of the characters happen to be young adults (sometimes!).
The writing is excellent and the characters are all interesting. I won't say "likeable" as even some of the protagonists can behave in ways you wish they wouldn't, but you can always understand their motivations. Nobody in these books is in an easy situation! Everything seems well thought out.
This series is not fast, not flashy, but it's very, very *interesting.*
Much like that previous book, the atmosphere is one of mystery flavored with desperation, frustration, hope and determination. At the beginning of the book, Sadima is still trapped with Franklin by Somiss, and now a group of captive street children are trapped along with them. In the other timeline, Hahp and Gerrard have made a tentative pact to work together to attempt to survive the Limori Academy, but their resources are slim. Grim beginnings, but the story moves along. That's the thing about these books -- I find myself waiting for the slightest hint of progress in Hahp's or Sadima's magical journies, and I'm happy to be doing so. There's one place where one storyline makes a fast jump forward. It didn't really put me off, since it seemed appropriate for that storyline to move forward about then (and I suspect we'll have to catch the first storyline up to the second somehow), but it did stand out as a slightly abrupt change of pacing. And by the end a lot of progress had been made, much of it in ways I didn't see coming!
The author has been leaving messages on her blog that she's almost finished writing the third book in this trilogy. It's not out yet but it's on the way! Sooner rather than later, I hope. I haven't bothered to hunt down many release dates for books lately, so you can tell how much I want to know what happens!
I'm still very pleased with the narrator, and I hope he reads the third book too! I have a credit waiting for that third book whenever it makes it's appearance.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
ugggghhh! I need moooorrreeeeee! this cant be the end!!! it took me 6 years to finally find the second book.... I'm feeling unfinished.
it's hard to say what about the performance was so good except that it felt as engrossing as reading. I've loved this series for a few years. It is emotionally complex with well thought out characters. I do like the sequel better than book one, though book one is also wonderful. Can't wait for book three but the audiobook helped me enjoy this world again.
I enjoyed the first book a lot: Sadima's origins, Happ's fear and incorporation into the school of magic, the dark aspects of the story. However, this second book becomes extremely repetitive, especially Happ's side of the story: wizards knock on his door, he goes to class, is hungry, afraid, and mad; and, he has problems with. That accounts for almost all of Happ's story. Sadima's side is better; there is more suspense.