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The Scar (Скитальцы #2)

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  955 Ratings  ·  150 Reviews
Reaching far beyond sword and sorcery, The Scar is a story of two people torn by disaster, their descent into despair, and their reemergence through love and courage. Sergey and Marina Dyachenko mix dramatic scenes with romance, action and wit, in a style both direct and lyrical. Written with a sure artistic hand, The Scar is the story of a man driven by his own feverish d ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Tor Books (first published 1996)
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Dec 24, 2014 Gavin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was a unique and beautifully written story. It was more like a dark fairytale than a regular epic fantasy. It's the story of a vain and selfish man's painful journey through the depths of despair in order to find both redemption and love.

Egert Sol is a cold, cruel, and arrogant young lieutenant in the Kavarin Guard. His good looks, bravery, and martial prowess have made him incredibly popular in his home town. They overlook his every fault. Sol's selfishness leads him to chase the beautifu
Bob Milne
Mar 20, 2012 Bob Milne rated it really liked it
The Scar is one of the most original and most intriguing fantasy novels I've read in quite some time. It's a shame that the cover blurb tries so hard to compare it to the likes of Robin Hobb and Michael Moorcock, because the comparison really does the novel a disservice. I love them both, but they are truly unique authors with a style that's almost entirely their own. If you make the mistake of reading The Scar with those expectations, you're bound to be disappointed. However, if you go into it ...more
Mar 21, 2012 H. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spec-fic
The Scar is the type of book that makes you weep for the limitations of sub-genre delineations. Not epic in scope and apparently intended to stand alone despite being part of a larger cycle. The epic and fantastic elements that presumably tie together the larger cycle are there, but very much in the background. This is really a novel about three people. Where so much fantasy is so very epic, The Scar is incredibly intimate. At the same time, it does not share the heavy reliance on action and vio ...more
Feb 12, 2013 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Dostoevsky and Patrick Rothfuss
Wow. What an unexpectedly great read. I was hoping for some basic fantasy that might be a little bit different since this novel was originally written in Russian. The Scar is indeed basic fantasy — basic, solid fantasy with no great innovations in worldbuilding or ideas, nothing that fantasy readers aren't thoroughly familiar with — but the writing, the descriptive details, and the character arcs that drive the story, are all so deft and evocative that The Scar is like a shiny, perfect apple sit ...more
Sep 19, 2016 Tosh rated it really liked it
The Scar is the second book in a series that was originally published in Russian, and the only one of the series translated into English. Not to worry, if you've been thinking of picking it up. With the exception of one character, who definitely deserves his own book, this reads as a standalone. And, hopefully with enough reader interest maybe the publishers will see it in their hearts to make the translations available in the future.*fingers crossed* But for now this is all us English speakers/ ...more
Mia Darien
May 12, 2012 Mia Darien rated it it was amazing
It's like when you see a beautiful performance, but one that is sad or haunting. Someone singing or dancing, some artistic expression, that moves you profoundly, but in such a way that when it's over, you don't know if you should applaud or not. It is not a performance that inspires a burst of jubilation, but it was so good that you know you should applaud.

This book had an interesting meandering quality to the plot. Something I think that if it had been presented to an American publisher, they m
Robert Delikat
Aug 14, 2012 Robert Delikat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was one extraordinary book, one that I could not stop reading / listening to.

While this husband and wife team have been writing and receiving awards for books since 1994, their works are, for the most part, in the Ukrainian and Russian languages. Written in 1997, The Scar is apparently the first to be translated into English and has only come to Western shores this year. While this is the middle book of a trilogy, unlike other trilogies, this installment stands quite well on its own though
Сергей Бережной
Some 15 years ago I'd got the original manuscript of THE SCAR from Marina and Sergey - it meant to be published soon, one of the novels initiated "Spellbound Worlds" series of Russian fantasy books, Terra Fantastica and AST publishing houses joint project.

In 1996 I'd read Dyachenkos' debut novel already, THE GATE-KEEPER, and I liked it. Some of their shorts and novellas were really nice too. But THE SCAR turned to be something completely different. Absolutely new level of artistry. Not just goo
Feb 22, 2012 Phil rated it liked it
Here's a extract from my review, full link:

It is not evident to witness and follow the setbacks and adventures, which are not particularly extravagant, of a person under this wasting condition during a whole novel. The feelings of the young and pitiful captain are at the heart of the account and the complete pallet of possible reactions and state of mind come to pass. Sergey mentioned that he added a layer of psychology and even
Dec 25, 2014 Desinka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of an arrogant and villainous young man who happens to get cursed for killing an innocent man and then walks all the way to love and redemption.

I started The Scar without many expectations. I actually thought I would find it easy to associate with because of the Russian authors. What I got was a dark and a bit weird story that read more like a fairytale than a fantasy book.

I had a hard time with the book to start with. I was horrified by the grotesquely negative MC, Egert, st
Jun 20, 2015 Aliette rated it really liked it
I came to this cold, more or less (it came heavily recommended by a couple of friends, and I'd enjoyed Sergey and Marina Dyachenko's fantastic "Vita Nostra", but I had no idea what to expect). This is the story of Ergert Soll, a braggart and bully who goes one step too far and accidentally kills Dinar, the fiancé of student Toria. Egert finds himself cursed by the Wanderer to be a coward--so swamped by fear he's totally unable to function. Meanwhile, Toria struggles with the loss of her fiancé; ...more
In full disclosure, I won an Advanced Uncorrected Proof edition of this book as part of a Goodreads Giveaway.

This book is the story of Egert. He begins as a confident, somewhat cruel, aggressive, womanizing youth who is a member of the guards. One day, he kills the fiance of a woman he is pursuing and as a result is challenged to a duel by a mysterious stranger. The stranger leaves Egert with a scar and a curse that leaves him a coward. The bulk of the book deals with Egerts downfall and attempt
K.M. Weiland
Sep 16, 2016 K.M. Weiland rated it really liked it
This is such a unique book. It has a fable-istic, almost Grimm’s fairy tale feel to it, with its story of a proud, selfish young man humbled by an arbitrary magician’s curse of cowardice. It’s beautiful and well-plotted, with just enough weirdness to feel original. The downside is that it does grow tedious following the poor, cowardly wretch around all book long—but it’s worth it for his redemption scene in the end!
Luke Burrage
Jun 21, 2012 Luke Burrage rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Luke by: Jonathan Davis
Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #161.

Just so you know, this is a *really* fun book! I understand why Jonathan Davis (the narrator) recommended it as one of the most interesting books he has read recently.
Tudor Ciocarlie
Jul 10, 2012 Tudor Ciocarlie rated it it was amazing
Great story about redemption with a gorgeous eastern-european perfume. The english-language SFF genre desperately needs this kind of infusion.
Sep 30, 2012 Michael rated it it was amazing
I haven't read a book quite like this before. The themes of pride, arrogance, justice, cowardice, love, forgiveness, and redemption are all familiar, of course. But the use of language is stunning—especially when held up against most modern fantasy writing. There is a formality to the writing that is rare—I can only compare it to some of Michael Scott Rohan's magnificent prose in his Winter of the World trilogy. But beyond formality is the rich use of metaphor—yes, metaphor, not it's lesser cous ...more
Tom Callaway
Mar 28, 2012 Tom Callaway rated it it was amazing
I wasn't quite sure at first what to make of the odd way that the words flowed in this book, almost poetic or musical in nature, but once I got accustomed to it, I became enveloped in this tale of redemption, magic, mystery, and death. At times, I had to slow down a bit to understand a few things, but I attribute those moments to translation choices. I found myself finishing this book long after I should have gone to bed, still moved by the ending. This book is unlike practically any other fanta ...more
Jeff Miller
Apr 13, 2012 Jeff Miller rated it it was amazing
This novel is more like a folk tale than traditional fantasy. Egert is a young man who is on top of his world. A womanizer and a talented duelist. Full of pride with no empathy for others. His prideful actions seeking one women leads to an action that troubles his conscience in no way, but a later encounter with a mysterious man changes his life forever.

Just a wonderfully told story with a strong moral depth. Held me captivated throughout.
Apr 30, 2016 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
I very much enjoyed this book. To me, this is what fantasy could be if people got away from only caring about cool magic. Much of this book is a character study. I enjoyed the development of the characters and the broader ideas presented. It is one of the best books I've read in fantasy according to my taste. It's a shame the authors haven't translated any more of their books!
Jan 24, 2014 Paul rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
The Scar seemed a little one dimensional to me. I liked the first part of the book a little past the point that he meets the Wanderer (for the action), and I liked the ending. But, the middle was a bit directionless and agonizing.
Jun 11, 2016 Dani rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Fantastic. Unexpectedly fairytale-esque, which turned out to be a really good thing.
Jul 15, 2014 Melody rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, owned
Absolutely captivating.

8/5 stars is what I'd give it. No other words can describe how much fun it was to read The Scar. It was such a rush and I just don't even know where to start. Egert Soll is the best character in the oddest of ways. He's the best because he's a man who was once great, and became a coward. He was great in all the physical aspects. Egert once held an incredible power over the soldiers in Kavarren, where he's from, he's handsome which has lots of women entertaining him, and h
Mar 22, 2013 Ryan rated it really liked it
Several people whose opinions I respect gave this novel high marks, and I agree with them. The Scar was originally written by Ukrainian authors in the 1990s, and has a folkloric, parable-like character that makes for a somewhat different reading experience from typical American or British fantasy.

Its protagonist is a young, swaggering nobleman named Egert, who’s quite skilled with a sword and at seducing the wives of other men, but has little real respect for anyone. After making a bullying pass
Jul 12, 2012 Dana rated it it was amazing
I immensely enjoyed this book, and I'm thankful to Tor for bringing good science fiction from Russia to English readers! It's a breath of fresh air because the characters and situations are not quite like what you would expect from American writers.
Specifically, "The Scar" is an exploration of an anti-hero. Can the other characters in the story understand and forgive somebody who has done something unforgiveable? Can you, as the reader? Can he redeem himself? There are some echoes of "Crime and
Jan 08, 2012 Kai rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
This book "The Scar" is added to my "bestest" book library. I cannot get over the story. This story has depth of human tragedy and the ability to conquer one's fear to arise to the become a hero. It is a story of redemption, forgiveness, and love.

Egert Soll, a elite guard, is the town Kavarren's golden boy. Anything he does, whether it's a cruel practical joke or something daring, the town people worshiped him. All the girls and women fawned over him until Toria came into town. She was one woman
Sep 11, 2013 Pence rated it it was ok
I expected a lot more from “The Scar”. The idea of a book translate from Russian and being hailed as a ‘breath of fresh air’, but all I seemed to receive was a face full of hot air that has been spewed from the mouths of aging plots and characters countless times. The main character is painfully mundane, the classic overconfident and conceded soldier that is praised throughout the first twenty or so pages by local townsfolk as he duels with his enemies and bathes in glory and praise. Then, of co ...more
May 17, 2012 Mike rated it it was amazing
The Scarby Marina and Sergey Dyachenko appears to be the authors’ first translation into English. The Dyanchenko’s are rather prolific in the non-English European market and particularly in those states whose members are part of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Translation isn’t an easy thing but I’m always saddened when it takes works like this (well reviewed, and a recipient of prestigious awards in its home market) more than a decade to get translated and even further depressed by the ...more
Fantasy Review Barn

Sometimes grabbing things off the shelf randomly pays off. Sometimes translations are done seamlessly. Sometimes collaboration’s don’t completely suck. Sometimes the guy behind my computer screen doesn’t have a damn clue how to open a review.

Perhaps with comparisons to other well-known fantasy works of recent history? I guess I could try. Egert has the wit and brains of Locke Lamora combined with the arrogant assholeness of Jezal dan Luther... Scratch that comparisons are no g
Mar 11, 2013 Ryandake rated it it was ok
what a pity.

one of the great thrills of reading international fiction is that when the writers are good and you are lucky, you run across a lot of juicy new ideas, new takes on old ones, a different slant of seeing that more than makes up for any effort expended on trying to understand a different culture or viewpoint.

you won't get that here.

the main character, Egert, is about as stereotypical as a young swordsman can be. vain, thoughtless, and cruel, but lovely and skilled with a blade, yadda y
Jun 04, 2013 Ryan rated it liked it
This is one of those books that leaves a reviewer conflicted: "4 stars! but, well, maybe not..."

The book has an enjoyable Russian folklore feel, especially in the beginning, and in the enumeration of the curses. The protagonist's descent into obsessive-compulsive behavior to cope with his psychological burden is great, and triggers twinges of sympathy. The relatively sparse cast and constrained settings let the authors evoke what was there more colorfully and thoroughly. I liked the way the main
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The Geek Society ...: The Scar discussion 1 3 Mar 09, 2015 03:15PM  
Booktrailer for THE SCAR 1 11 Feb 22, 2012 01:47AM  
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Marina and Sergey Dyachenko - co-authors of novels, short fiction, plays and scripts. They write in Russian and Ukrainian languages with several novels published or soon to be published in translation in the United States. The primary genres of their books are modern speculative fiction, fantasy, and literary tales.
More about Marina Dyachenko...

Other Books in the Series

Скитальцы (4 books)
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  • Преемник (Скитальцы, #3)
  • Авантюрист (Скитальцы, #4)

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“He called out to the heavens for help, but the heavens remained dark, as is sometimes the case at night.” 3 likes
“It is no misfortune if you do not know where you are going; it is far worse when there is no longer anywhere to go. He who stands on the path of experience cannot step away from it, even when it has come to its end. For the path is without end.” 2 likes
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