Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Pattern Scars” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
The Pattern Scars
Caitlin Sweet
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read eBook* *Different edition

The Pattern Scars

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  176 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Nola is born into poverty in Sarsenay City. When her mother realizes that Nola has the gift of Othersight and can foretell the future, she sells her to a brothel seer, who teaches the girl to harness her gift. As she grows up, she embraces her new life, and even finds a small circle of friends. All too soon, her world is again turned upside down when one of them is murdere ...more
ebook, 375 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by ChiZine (first published January 1st 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Pattern Scars, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Pattern Scars

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 633)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Lorina Stephens
Feb 29, 2012 Lorina Stephens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It would be very easy to wax poetic about Caitlin Sweet's, The Pattern Scars. Deservedly so. From the first sentences Sweet demonstrates her craftsmanship by translating the reader into a richly and perfectly realized world, populated by people who are very human despite extraordinary and sometimes dark abilities.

With astonishing subtlety, Sweet presents a relationship between a clairvoyant girl who is employed as a seer in a brothel, and a psychopathic and megalomaniacal seer who holds the tru
Shall we begin with the warnings? If any of these (spoilerish) elements disturb or trouble you in any way, you should probably run back to reading The Princess Diaries or something equally scary: abortion, abuse, blood play, child abuse, cutting, death, dead babies, lying, murder, necromancy, paedophilia, physical abuse, psychological abuse, prostitution, rape, scars, slavery, zombies.

Now that all of the sane, self-preserving, healthy people have moved on, that just leaves the creepy mentally
Nola, with the ability to view the future, is adopted by a powerful and ambitious mentor. The Pattern Scars could only exist in the specific. The convincing magic system and themes of complicity, coerced consent, and abuse function in perfect harmony; rather than contrived, Nola's inescapable situation has an inevitable, claustrophobic logic. It's one of the most pointed and effective speculative works I've ever read, sympathetic, discomforting, and intentional. The Pattern Scars is unlovely to ...more
Not giving this a rating, because I thought the writing was generally very good but the story just got too bleak for me to listen all the way through. I listened for over two-thirds, then went to the last few chapters. I had to give up at the point because there had just been too many chapters depicting Nola's utter powerlessness at the hands of the creepiest of villains (no names, as it's a bit of a spoiler, though by the time it comes out who he is, it's not a big surprise), and her powerlessn ...more
Oct 31, 2011 Anncleire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
“The Pattern Scars” è rimasto per un sacco di tempo nei libri da leggere, lo avevo richiesto ma poi come sempre mi era passato di mente perché presa da altre letture. Finalmente ci ho messo mano e devo dire che è stata una piacevole sorpresa.

Il libro si sviluppa come una sorta di diario e racconta le vicende di Nola da quando era una bambina. Nola è una Otherseer, una sorta di veggente, o comunque una ragazza che è capace di leggere il futuro o meglio il Pattern delle persone, con la cera, con l
Mar 06, 2012 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really love this book, for a variety of reasons. I think it does what spec-fic needs to do, and it does it well, in that it takes something fantastic, like the power of foresight, and portrays it in a new and different way that really makes you think about the human psyche. Of course, it's also a really great book; there's a good balance of action, contemplation, romance, and conflict in here, and Caitlin Sweet's characters are all very well developed in a way that makes them not only three di ...more
When Nola’s mother cuts herself badly with a knife while fixing dinner, and blood cascades over the cutting board, 10-year-old Nola is swept up into a vision that changes her life. She has no choice but to tell her mother what she’s seen, even though she knows her ability to Oversee means the end of her life with her family. Her mom promptly sells her to a Sarsenay lowtown brothel to apprentice with Ygranzi, the Overseer there and learn to train her powers. Read the rest of my review at http://p ...more
Jul 03, 2012 Barbara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Waaaay creepier than expected, it was actually quite hard to finish it.
Jan 02, 2013 DMS rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 23, 2014 Lani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't say anything that will do this book justice. I found the free excerpt on here months ago, a few weeks ago I started reading it on a whim. I've read a few other excerpts and they never held me the way The Pattern Scar did--I was instantly enthralled in the magic of the Otherseers. I was in love with Nola and Bardrem and I wanted to see how their story unfolded. So I ordered the book, and I read it pretty quickly considering that I'm a slow reader and it's been awhile since I've read a nov ...more
Aug 17, 2013 Hannu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel held the top of my Must Read-list for a very long time, and now that I've finally got a change to read it, I was really pleasantly surprised: It was even better than I expected.
This is an exquisitely written novel of literary fantasy that will linger in the memory long after the last page.
Although The Pattern Scars hardly belongs to the "grimdark" or "edgy" school of fantasy, it's still a very dark tale. But the novel's somber undertone stems more from its exploration of the darker si
Sandra "Jeanz"

Nola is born into poverty in Sarsenay City. When Nola's mother realizes that Nola has the gift of Othersight and that she can foretell the future, she sells her to a brothel seer, who then teaches the girl to harness her gift. As Nola grows up, she embraces her new life, and even finds herself a small circle of friends. All too soon, Nola's world is again turned upside down when one of that small circle of friends is murdered. When a handsome, young Otherseer from the castle promises to teach he
Sep 25, 2011 Steph rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 Stars

This is one of the most somber stories I’ve ever read. It took me an extensive amount of time to get through this book, probably because of its somber tone. Well written, but if you like your stories to have some glimmer of hope or happiness, you’ve come to the wrong place. This is a standalone book written in 1st person POV, about Nola, a common girl who has a strong talent to see into someone’s future.

After being sold by her mother to a brothel for that purpose, she finds that her
Oct 13, 2012 Nighteye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone and persons who like not so typical Fantasybooks
Recommended to Nighteye by: Anna Bark Person
Shelves: favorites
"Predicting the future dosen't mean you can prevent it..." are the words on the backcover and these words are mirroring the book well!

I meet the auhtor at Swecon and then read her book, we talked a bit about the book after I've been reading a bit into it. The book is about a young girl who's mother sells her to a brothel when she discovers that her daughter is a seer, a person who can foretell the pattern of the future for a person .
Then she lives there a time, dreaming to come to the chaste, an
Apr 19, 2012 Will rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a hard book for me to read, not just because of the control issues, but also because of the "predestination" and visions -- the book is set up so that you know various horrible things are going to happen... and then they do, and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

It has a lot in common with Octavia Butler's Kindred, in that the female protagonist is in a situation where other people have near complete control over her -- and in fact, part of the plot is based around the idea of con
Gina Stephens
Aug 25, 2012 Gina Stephens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book yesterday and have already finished it -- I couldn't stop reading! As other reviewers have noted, the lavish prose draws the reader deeply into the story and keeps them there through all of the nail-biting tension as the novel careens toward completion. I haven't enjoyed a book this much since I stumbled upon Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian! One of the things that I especially enjoyed was Caitlin Sweet's ability to create believable, three-dimensional characters. This is ...more
Apr 12, 2012 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
It was good. Very good even, and I could easily see other readers enjoying it still more than I did. The ever present seductiveness of the story and its tall-dark-and-handsome villain, though titillating at times, is probably aimed more at readers who can easily connect with the young, female protagonist. Some of the dialogue occasionally bordered on the melodramatic, but was generally overshadowed by author's otherwise lovely prose.

This was the first book I read by the author, and would certain
The Pattern Scars is a book that has so much going for it - prose, narrator, world building - that I kept hoping the author won't partly squander that by keeping it a one note novel to the bitter end; but sadly the novel while starting promisingly, morphs into a s&m - ok mostly psychical and magical, not purely physical, but that's beside the point - relationship that takes precedence over everything else.

A page turner and well written but its one dimensionality keeps it from being more tha
Jul 03, 2012 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had no idea what I was picking up when I bought this book.
I thought it was a run of the mill fantasy book. Young girl, born into poverty, saved from a brothel, taught in the castle, groomed for court life, etc. Yeah, no. This book takes you on a dark journey into sex, power struggles, damnation, ruin, and death. This is no fairy tale, not the kind you tell children. But good, so very very good. I couldn't put it down until it was done. Very good, you should read it.

Gina Stephens
Aug 24, 2012 Gina Stephens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly original book. It was so good that I couldn't put it down (I read it over the course of a single day)! Nice to know also that Caitlin Sweet is also a Canadian author who also lives in Toronto. I highly recommend this book.
Aug 17, 2012 D. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Masterfully done, a tale full of intrigue and darkness, of the desire for power and fate, both fixed and mutable. Our narrator Nola weaves a compelling story high on drama if not sympathy.
Dec 10, 2011 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I could give this book twenty stars, I would happily do so. I stayed up 'til after three a.m. to finish it, and cannot recommend it highly enough. What an absolutely gorgeous book.
Feb 11, 2012 Shazinca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely mesmerizing. The writing is so beautiful in this book, it seemed to cast a spell on me. I could not put it down, even as I cringed in horror at parts of it.
Oct 06, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A dark fantasy about a seer who can see the future but can doing nothing to change it. I really enjoyed it.
Feb 11, 2012 Shay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
...I had typed a review, and then this window ate it. *sigh* Will redo later.
Aug 21, 2015 Cryptid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Nola, you must get it out of you. It's bile-poison, remember? Vomit it out, than, right here. Bleed it onto paper. Promise you'll try, at least. Promise!"
Which is what this book is all about - although Caitlin Sweet's writing has really nothing to do with vomit in any way (unless reading about blood actually makes you uneasy)... It's basically about a young girl Nola (living in a fantasy world where people have strange names) having a fortune-telling ability called "Otherseeing" and quite soon
I'm giving this book 3 Stars because the book itself merits 4.5 stars but I personally didn't like it and would give it 1 star.

Here's my timeline in trying to read it:

December 2012. I'm having a hard time getting into this book at the moment. Right now, I need light reading, or non-fiction, or no reading, until the holidays are over.

January 2013, Update: I checked it out from the library again. It sat for three weeks until I returned it, unread. I couldn't make myself read it.

February 2013, upda
Book Two of my "peruse through the library shelves" expedition. It was nice to read a novel by a Canadian author that isn't one of the typical heavyweights of Canadian literature, and I'd definitely be interested to read her other published works. This was a very very very very interesting novel. To be quite honest (without sounding melodramatic), I don't think I've ever read anything quite like it. It's an extremely unique, original and beautifully vivid book, while simultaneously being super c ...more
Jun 18, 2013 MA rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Pattern Scars was exquisitely written and very well crafted. I am sick to death of stories about brothels, but Sweet's writing was so delicate and evocative that I talked myself into giving it a try. The main character, Nola, is sold to a brothel as soon as her starving mother discovers that she has the gift of prophesy. There, she is apprenticed to the brothel seer, and makes friends with the cook's son and, later, a young prostitute who is inexplicably hiding her own gift of prophesy.

Jun 11, 2016 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Compelling storytelling - I put this book down only once, and finished it (devoured it) in two sittings. The Pattern Scars reminds of me some of Robin Hobb's books in both voice and the world-building, although the stories are very different. I'll be definitely trying more from Sweet.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 21 22 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Napier's Bones
  • The Fecund's Melancholy Daughter
  • The Door to Lost Pages
  • Rasputin's Bastards
  • Heaven (The Book of Thomas #1)
  • A Walk Out of the World
  • Westlake Soul
  • Sarah Court
  • The Choir Boats (Longing for Yount #1)
  • Babylon Steel (Babylon Steel, #1)
  • Bullettime
  • A Tree of Bones (Hexslinger, #3)
  • Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies (How To End Human Suffering #1)
  • The Tangled Bridge
  • The Best of Kage Baker
  • Katja from the Punk Band
  • The Delphi Room
  • The World More Full of Weeping
Caitlin Sweet’s first fantasy novel, A Telling of Stars, was published by Penguin Canada in 2003. Her second, The Silences of Home, was published in 2005. Between them, they were nominated for Aurora Awards, a Locus Best First Novel Award, long-listed for the Sunburst Award, and ranked in the top 5 of SFSite’s Best Novels of 2005. For a few years she was deluded enough to think that she might writ ...more
More about Caitlin Sweet...

Share This Book