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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.

554 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2009

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About the author

Kathleen Duey

136 books337 followers
Kathleen Duey grew up in Colorado. She loved riding her horses, hiking, being in the mountains. Reading was always important to her. Writing became a fascination early in her life. In the fourth grade, Kathleen began writing stories and told everyone who would listen that she was going to be an author. Then she did nothing about it until she was 35 years old. Writing was her passion and her dream-come-true.

from: fantasticfiction.co.uk

Kathleen died of cardiac arrest at her home in Fallbrook, California. She was 69. She had struggled with dementia in her latter years which prevented her from completing her Skin Hunger trilogy.


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Displaying 1 - 30 of 222 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
May 17, 2015

This is my first five star rating since Froi of the Exiles - so I hope you get some idea just how awesome this book is. I didn't even plan to review this book with it being the second in a series and not a new release, but then I thought it was such a step up from the first book that I had to say my piece.

Skin Hunger is a book of dark originality, there is cruelty and child abuse and magic. The best thing about the first book in the series is that I can honestly say I have never read anything quite like it. This second installment, however, had even more going for it. It was meatier - the extra two hundred pages undoubtedly helped - and the characters were developed further, it's full of mysteries and it's impossible to know who to trust. I was entirely captivated by the story.

There are two stories being told, each set centuries apart from the other but eventually starting to come together and paint the bigger picture. Sadima lives in a time long before Hahp's when magic is outlawed, but the evil Somiss and his assistant - Franklin - are attempting to restore it. But it is Hahp's story that most horrifies and enthralls me. Imagine if Harry Potter had turned up at Hogwarts and been told that he would have to magically produce his own food or face starvation. Imagine that he was subjected to a series of gruelling tests that could easily kill him... all to prove he is worthy of graduation.

I am very highly anticipating the climax to this series and I can only hope that Kathleen Duey knows what she's doing. These books are impossible to read alone, too many questions are left unanswered, but they are also unputdownable, exciting, horrifying and refreshing. Please, please, please let the next book be just as good!
Profile Image for Chris.
1,850 reviews73 followers
September 23, 2009
"He hates Somiss," I breathed. "So long as he knew we all cared about him and--"

"Hate is complicated," Gerrard interrupted me again.

"No, it isn’t," I whispered, and he didn’t answer me. He didn’t need to. I knew he was right.

Hate is complicated. So are all of our feelings and motives. And evil is insidious, finding a way to taint even the best of intentions. No matter how infrequently he actually enters this story in the flesh, Somiss is the primary influence on every character in it, worming his way into everything they think and feel and manipulating them for his own purposes and pleasures. I want so badly for Sadima and Hahp to find happiness, for Franklin to realize his dreams of using magic to fight injustice and end suffering, for all of the people we encounter in Limori to overcome, but that will never happen with Somiss around and I hate him for it. But it’s complicated.

Reviewing the middle book of a trilogy is always hard since it rarely stands alone, and that’s especially true in this case since neither book so far has had even the pretense of a resolution and this really is just the middle chunk of the tale. I will, however, say that this one didn’t seem to suffer for it as many do; I don’t think it would work as a stand-alone, but it was gripping and so much more than just a set-up for the big climax. It did not disappoint and was as satisfying as I could expect given its position.

As with my reaction after Skin Hunger, I don’t know how I’ll wait another two years for the next one. I’m compelled to know how this will all end. And I have no idea. I'm convinced the two stories will eventually fully converge, I have a vague idea how Sadima’s setting will develop since Hahp reads about it in his history book, and I feel it will all end in some way with the death of Somiss, but aside from those generalizations there is so much left yet to discover. The specifics constantly surprise, horrify, and--in rare instances--delight me. There are hints, clues, and pieces of the puzzle that are starting to fit together, but most of it is still a jumble. About a year ago I was anxious to find a release date for this book and came across Duey’s blog. Her top post at the time said something like she had finally finished a draft and even managed--just barely--to keep Hahp alive. I find it easy to believe that even though she knows the story, even she’s not sure just how it will all play out and whether anyone will be able to escape alive (hungry and scarred, but alive). It’s that complicated.

And let me add, even though I just said there is no resolution, that the juxtaposition between the end of Hahp's story in this book and Sadima's is amazing. My hope of anything truly pure and good has been both shattered and reaffirmed at the same time.

And because there's so much more than I know how to capture but I want to share my love of this series, a few quotes from other Goodreads reviews that I think say it well:

"Complicated, brillant and well crafted."

"I kept waking up all night wanting to continue reading this book. The labyrinthine passages in the academy of magic haunted my dreams and Sadima's loneliness, invisible captivity, and what she had to go through to hide her lack of aging through time made me ache for her.

"A Resurrection of Magic is outstanding and one of the most beautifully wrought stories I've ever read."

"It's riveting, compelling and terribly dark. . . . The characters are complex and fascinating. I passionately want to know what happens next."

"It is a huge, expansive read. Like Tolkien, she balances the personal struggle with huge geopolitical issues seamlessly."

"Duey’s writing is gripping, tense, and engulfing. She has created a world that is so dark, yet it has piercing moments of light, love and truth. Duey excels at creating characters with depth and dimension, then immersing them into a twisted story. It makes for a book that is not only impossible to put down but makes it difficult to breathe deeply while reading.

"This novel is filled with violence. Violence so shattering that it is hard to read, harder to process, and impossible to understand. She is an author who pushes it to a new limit, daring the reader to read on, dancing on the knife’s edge. All to great and dazzling effect. She is an author I don’t trust to keep my favored characters alive. In fact, I am constantly checking to see which of the stories is written in first person, hoping that guarantees survival.

"Though I have used some of the most powerful words I have to describe this novel, it is far more dark, disturbing and taut than I can express."
Profile Image for Heidi.
756 reviews175 followers
July 19, 2013
I turned to the final page of Kathleen Duey’s Skin Hunger with the most feeble kernel of hope burrowing its way into my belly. I dared not believe that Sadima and Hahp could emerge from those dark corridors with any happiness or spark of life, and yet, I could not let go entirely. Sacred Scars and I stared at one another for several months–me afraid to pick it up. I would look at it questioningly, knowing that it would kick me in the gut, and it would nod just barely. I’d wonder if it would be worth it, and Sacred Scars would just barely nod once again. So finally I steeled myself and opened book two of A Resurrection of Magic, and what I found has made that small kernel of hope flare up into a hope that can not be easily hidden.

The world of Kathleen Duey’s A Ressurection of Magic is so quiet, yet it is anything but than unassuming. It assumes everything. That you love, that you hate, that the very basic human instincts you were born with can be driven from you. Her stories therein are almost completely mental; despite the physical pains endured by the characters, the reality is that the bulk of the story takes place within the mind. Very little action occurs, and yet, this subtlety amplifies those moments when something does happen–the slightest smile, a stolen moment–to a bright light worthy of heartfelt reactions. Rarely has any author managed to make me feel so much with so little.

Oh Sadima and Hahp, how anxiously we await that moment when their stories will connect. Haph’s plight remains immediate and present, told in the first person and oh so real. His pact with Gerrard to learn everything in order to destroy the wizards is tenuous, even dangerous, for through them we learn that hate is complicated. As we learn the same of love from Sadima, Franklin, and Somiss. Slowly Sadima emerges as a player who understands the world around her–no longer wide eyed and innocent to the ways of men. She learns that though you love someone, and they love you in return, it doesn’t mean your problems are solved, or that life is simple. It is perhaps that moment of tacit acknowledgement–that acceptance that the one you love cannot imagine being free of their burdens long enough to set them down–that is the greatest turning point in this series.

Sadima and Hahp cling to their humanity in their refusal to bow to the hunger and whims of magic. We begin to understand how magic fools and blinds, how it can tempt you into believing everything is right and good when it isn’t, and corrupts the hearts it touches. Hahp is given brief glimmers of beauty, allowed to fall in love with magic just enough that he doesn’t even desire death anymore for fear of losing it. He dreams of a better world, but to make that world he must learn, and in learning may loose himself. Sadima is no longer the taciturn female only wanting to be loved, she has grown into a survivor, and her stalwart heart will keep her path on course.

Sacred Scars is terrifying and beautiful, much like the magic it reveals. It holds a crushing sense of cruel reality and the cyclical nature of history that leaves me uncertain of both where it will go and where I desire it to go. I want justice for Hahp and Sadima and all those others whose lives Somiss has touched, but how easily does power corrupt? Is magic truly terrible, or can it in some way be used to better the world around them? I don’t know. I do know that I read this book six months ago now, but I cannot get it out of my head. These characters and their plight will not leave me, and for that it has become a dear favorite. I need only to think on them for their heartaches and desires to become fervently real, and I know nothing but closure will satisfy.

Original review posted at Bunbury in the Stacks.
Profile Image for Eva Mitnick.
771 reviews27 followers
October 18, 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.
Profile Image for Kyle.
493 reviews22 followers
May 23, 2012

This review will be spoiler-free for people, even if you haven't read the first (fantastic) book in this (fantasic) trilogy, Skin Hunger.

Skin Hunger was a dark fantasy novel, and was not in any way a fun read. After the rather anticlimatic ending of the first book (don't let the word "anticlimatic" deter you, it's still fantastic!), we're thrown into a whole new ball park. We still follow or main characters Sadima Killip and Hahp, whose stories are set centuries apart.

For a book that clocks in at 554 pages, I was never bored, and while at times, for very brief periods, it could be slow, it never felt so slow I wanted to put the book down. The pages flew by, and I was enthralled in this world, these characters, this story, everything about it.

I do have some issues however. I do like the writing, and while it's good, I noticed that, especially when reading about Sadima, the sentences are very choppy. Normally that doesn't bother me too much, but in this book it did. Also, around 300 pages into the book, something happens to Sadima, and it completely changes her story, and even more so, her character. I didn't enjoy her as much in the second half, simply because she was so foreign to the Sadima I'd come to grow and love since the first installment. I mean, she still possessed traits that the old Sadima had, but some of her outlooks on stuff that she'd once believe in change, and something about her just felt off (and I know, something was off, but it really bugged me).

Yes, the way how time would fly by also annoyed me. One paragraph skipped five years into the future for Sadima! I know, her story covers over a large expanse of time, yet that doesn't mean I'm under any obligation to like it.

Yet I still love everything else about this book. While it's not the greatest climax to a book, the ending is stronger than the first one. The writing is also solid, when I wasn't getting annoyed by the choppy sentences (which weren't too frequent). The characters are unique, dark, and have depth and layers to them. The world, especially in this book thanks to the extra 200 pages added and the second half of Sadima's story, is more fully realized, and we learn more of the various cultures that inhabit her world during this time. It's atmospheric.

After that ending, I cannot wait to dive into the third and final installment, whenever that book comes out. So far, the only info I've heard is that a third book will come out. No title, cover, synoposis, releaste date, or estimated year of release, nothing. Just the publisher, and Untitled (A Ressurection of Magic, #3).
Profile Image for Sam.
81 reviews3 followers
May 26, 2010
Sacred Scars is the long awaited (well, to me and my husband anyway!) second part of Duey's YA series A Resurrection of Magic- the first installment was Skin Hunger which I love love loved and is one of my faves to get to fantasy loving teens. If you didn't read the first one, don't pick this up! You will have positively no clue what's happening as it takes off exactly where Skin Hunger left the story.

Sacred Scars continues the dual stories of Sadima and Hahp- Sadima as she works with Franklin and Somiss to resurrect the old ways of magic and Hahp as he struggles to survive in wizard's academy where Somiss and Franklin are teachers. Sadima et al are in hiding in a series of caves outside of the town of Limori, the very caves that Hahp is studying magic in so many years later. Sadima spends a lot of her time teaching magic writing to several street urchins that Somiss has captured claiming he will teach them magic- at least until she gets fed up and decides to do something to try and save the boys. Meanwhile, Hahp has come to the conclusion that none of the students will survive unless they work together, even if this does mean risking his own life to help someone like the horrible bully Luke.

My bottom line: Don't even think of touching this unless you read Skin Hunger and liked it! If you liked the first book, this one falls right in step and will leave you wanting for the next installment. One thing to note is if you have a younger YA fantasy fan, Duey goes a bit farther out in this one with regards to blue language and just some disturbing events. But still- A+, a YA fantasy that doesn't assume you have a dumb reader!
Profile Image for Wealhtheow.
2,431 reviews543 followers
February 28, 2010
The 2nd part in the Resurrection of Magic trilogy. The first book juxtaposed Hahp, a boy of wealth and privilege who is pledged to the magicians by his mercenary father, and Sadima, an impoverished farmgirl seeking a livelihood in the city. In Hahp's nation, magic is common (though highly expensive) magicians are feared enigmas. In Sadima's nation, magic is outlawed on pain of death. And yet--they live in the same nation...just hundreds of years apart.

The first book was almost unbearably grim. The things Sadima and Hahp live through while trying to survive and learn magic are almost too horrible to read. But Duey has created an intensely interesting world, a centuries-old mystery, and believable, unique characters. I tore through the first book in hours, and although I had to brace myself to read the second, it was equally well-written and enthralling.
Profile Image for Didi.
865 reviews288 followers
May 1, 2018
Even better than the first book, this series is original and this book kept me on the edge of my seat. The past colliding with the present is suspenseful and completely unpredictable! can't wait for book three, which looks like it's finally got a release date... January 2019... I hope this one sticks.
Profile Image for Tasha.
4,117 reviews104 followers
August 6, 2009
I adored Skin Hunger when it came out, despite it’s precipitous ending. Remember those debates?!

Now the second in the series has been released to help people recover from that ending. And it picks up right where the last book left off, in the midst of the drama and tension. The book has two interconnected story lines which are set 200 years apart. Readers get to see the rediscovery of magic in one of the lines and the harsh reality of it in the other. In both stories is Somiss, the aristocrat who struggles to find the key to magic and after finding it, runs a diabolical school to train young magicians. Franklin, his servant, also appears in both story lines, as servant, unwilling helper, and magician. At the heart of the stories is Sadima, who learns magic by reading Somiss’ documents and eavesdropping on his recitations. She yearns to escape with Franklin, her love, and the street urchins they have kidnapped and caged. But in this brutal world of magic, there are only desperate choices, evil around ever corner, and constant deception.

Nicely the novel manages to not rehash the first book at all, yet readers who have had a gap of a few years between the novels will find it offers just enough to allow you to remember the first novel. Duey’s writing is gripping, tense, and engulfing. She has created a world that is so dark, yet it has piercing moments of light, love and truth. Duey excels at creating characters with depth and dimension, then immersing them into a twisted story. It makes for a book that is not only impossible to put down but makes it difficult to breathe deeply while reading.

This novel is filled with violence. Violence so shattering that it is hard to read, harder to process, and impossible to understand. She is an author who pushes it to a new limit, daring the reader to read on, dancing on the knife’s edge. All to great and dazzling effect. She is an author I don’t trust to keep my favored characters alive. In fact, I am constantly checking to see which of the stories is written in first person, hoping that guarantees survival.

Though I have used some of the most powerful words I have to describe this novel, it is far more dark, disturbing and taut than I can express. Teens will love this world, react to its harshness, and eagerly await the third and final book in the series. Appropriate for ages 13-17.
Profile Image for N.T. Embeast.
218 reviews27 followers
November 16, 2014

What a fantastic, painful story. Honestly, the moment you begin to think it'll be alright, the moment you think you've seen it all and it can't get worse, the moment you feel you might be able to stomach this story, it hits you so hard that you're left empty inside. The pain, the horror of it all... is too great a burden to feel. It's in your bones, a hollow in your chest, a silencing of the tongue that you can never see past, because how could you speak of the things you've seen? How could you bring to light the evil you've had to commit because you had no other choice?

The one thing Sacred Scars does as well, if not even better, than its predecessor Skin Hunger, is to surprise you with how hard it hits. It does not hold its punches, and each one hits like a bulldozer to the gut--winding you of everything; everything, perhaps, besides that stubborn, angry light of hope. Because so much happens, so much happens and continues to happen... and you know that if you quit now it'll never get any better. It'll all be for nothing. ...God, it feels like Code Geass all over again. Everything just keeps going wrong and yet you can't turn back. Even if you wanted to you can't turn back-- because the things they've put you and so many other innocent people through... it can't all be for nothing.

I will say this: I'm very glad to hear that the author has restarted her work on the third and final(~) portion of this trilogy. Wherever it takes her, however long it takes her to finish it, I stand by this--that I am a deeply moved and loving fan of her work and her self. I cannot wait to read the third part of this story. But I will also happily wait however long it takes, because Kathleen Duey, your work is truly amazing. I'm constantly shocked at how wonderful and tragic and horrific and powerful it is. Thank you for sharing it with us, your readers. And to those who have not given these books a chance yet, please do so if it's up your alley, because you will not be disappointed.
Profile Image for Camilla.
1,363 reviews7 followers
June 30, 2016
I'm pretty frustrated with this story. It was VERY long and so little happened during the book that I'm baffled how more than five hundred pages could have been written. This installment was very similar to the first book: Hahp learns a teeny, tiny bit of magic and spends most of his days tortured and unhappy. Sadima loves Franklin and hates Somiss and works as a slave and in terror.

Even after she loses her memory and lives an eternal life as a cheesemaker, she is reliving the same life over and over again. I was so bored by the end of the book that I could barely make myself finish. There was no action, no story line, no PURPOSE to the story. As an editor, I kept trying to imagine which segments I would cut out of the book to make it shorter and more interesting. So much repetitive days and activities in both Hahp's life and Sadima's life. We read about the same things day in and day out for months and years and even decades across five hundred pages and STILL there is no point to the story! I can't imagine how Duey thinks she can create an actual plot in the third book to explain the first two books of the trilogy, but I'm not sure I care enough to find out. This was a disaster of a story and I wish I'd never started the trilogy.
Profile Image for Kary Rader.
Author 14 books131 followers
May 7, 2011
The jacket cover still scares the crap out of me. Life for these this hero and heroine sucks. No two ways about it. There is one common denominator for the suckiness -- his name is Somiss and every character in every timeline knows Somiss HAS TO DIE!!!!!

Hahp and Gerrard et al are now murderers? That is a hard dose to swallow as a reader.
Sadima is void of all memories and walks around like a hollow shell for 200 years?

This is by far the most depressing gut wrenching story I've every read. There was not a single chapter where Hahp is not in physical pain and emotional anguish.

I hate this story. I love this story. I am like the pitiful yet loathsome Franklin, guilty by my inaction. I disgust myself because when the next book comes out I'll be in line to read the damn thing.

I don't recommend this book unless you like human suffering, torture, moral delimma beyond comprehension and powerful writing.
Profile Image for Amanda B.
765 reviews80 followers
November 17, 2016
First read in 2010. Rereading in 2016. Literary high fantasy. Great world building, great characters. Rich language and an insightful plot that takes its time, leaving you yearning to know what happens next. Can't wait for book 3!
Profile Image for Alicia.
42 reviews11 followers
August 29, 2020
This is what all penultimate books should aspire to - character development to the degree that you have more questions about their true motivations, their development, their role in the story. This is a dark book, in no way shape or form is this going to have a puppies and rainbows ending - it was never set up to be that book. It delved deeper into what happens to a character when they exist in a dark story. It asked questions about life, friendship, the self, and it did it in a way that made the story richer, so much more saturated with depth. It asks us to examine the characters - and in the process, asks us to have a think on some subjects that are uncomfortable. There are discussions worth having about things that happen - and how they mirror in ways our world, our experiences.

I went into this book knowing that there wasn't going to be a third, I didn't realize how much it needed it until I finished and tried to figure it out on my own. I did find out that according to Kathleen Duey's blog, the final book was in production in 2015. So the book has been written and somewhere it exists (at least a draft).
Profile Image for Megan.
351 reviews35 followers
August 29, 2020
Forever in love with this book.

The Resurrection of Magic Trilogy, Sacred Scars in particular, is a reminder of why I not only love Fantasy, but YA. Kathleen Duey is an expert storyteller skilled in developing complex characters and giving them the nuance they deserve, alongside a well-paced, intricate plot, an interesting world and a darkly fantastical atmosphere. More than anything, this series takes a wholly unique approach to an extremely popular idea (magic school! Wizards! Beautiful farm girl with powers!). I’ve been trying to find something like it for the past decade and still have yet to succeed.

This second instalment expands and develops everything introduced in Skin Hunger, but in a way that heightens the intensity of both the danger and the mystery. I am an absolute sucker for alternating time-lines; when done well this is one of my favourite tropes because searching for clues between past and present is so exciting and rewarding. Sacred Scars is full of tid-bits, ones that are becoming clearer and more interesting as the gap between Sadima’s past and Hahp’s present lessens, but they always remain subtle and their mere existence adds to the depth of the story: Why was Sadima’s lamp left in the crevice? Is it there as a ploy, or was it truly forgotten? Franklin’s fairy-girl looks like Sadima, so what does he remember of her? Does Gerrard’s book have something to do with the papers Sadima hid? I have so many questions! This entire book is ripe with building tensions, to be cliche about it.

That being said, the relationships between the characters become further entangled and messy, making them all the more interesting. Franklin is a kind man who hopes to bring goodness to the world, but he is also cowardly and crippled by a love for someone he knows is evil, making his actions almost worse than Somiss’. Then there is Jux who never experienced kindness, let alone love until he found Sadima, and has proven he will go to lengths to keep her alive, but how far and in what way? While the first book suggested it might be veering further into the typical YA formula of insta-love + political take-down, Sacred Scars proves those expectations entirely wrong as the characters only grow further into their own.

The violence is never gratuitous or graphic, but Kathleen Duey shows again and again that she is willing to do absolutely anything to her characters, by illustrating the realities of people caught in dangerous, abusive situations. The trials both Hahp and Sadima face are terrifying (starvation, kidnapping, burning) and the way Duey describes their fear and how that affects them both physically and mentally makes it feel all to real. I never have a sense of knowing what is going to happen to them, which is rare for me, and the magic involved means that it could be absolutely anything (amnesia, flight, hypnosis —- anything! And there are no easy-cures, so whatever happens, that’s it!). She uses the character-driven YA style of voice, but never panders to the age-category by underestimating her audience; you could be 12 or 67 and this series would still be intense. In this way, she reminds me of authors like Neil Gaiman, Maggie Stiefvater, Suzanne Collins and Philip Pullman.
(Ex. She never shows the sailors raping Sadima, or Sommiss doing the same to the boys, the word is never even used, but small details like the blood on Sommiss’ bed suggest what is happening, but those who don’t understand the insinuation are probably too young, and therefore are not forced to see something they might not be able to handle).

Every chapter is short but purposeful; not a word is superflous as each carries such meaning that no more are necessary. Of course I want more, but that’s because I have been enamoured with this world for so long that I crave it.

Despite being unfinished (unless there is to be a posthumous publication, which I am fervently hoping for... Simon Pulse still has the 3rd book listed as a title, so I’m wondering what that means) Sacred Scars and its predecessor Skin Hunger remain sensational books that deserve to find new readers. Becoming trapped in this terrifying world that is still so full of love and hope is more than worth it! There’s a reason you can find this series on numerous lists of ‘The Most Under-Rated Books of All Time’.

(Maybe the lack of an ending is a good thing? This way we can never be disappointed and the possibilities remain endless).
Profile Image for Ryan Grooms.
146 reviews18 followers
July 19, 2012

Sacred Scars, my first 5.0 rating; and it deserves far more credit than it’s given. As well, again there are two stories of Haph and Sadima, just like in Skin Hunger. However, this far, far surpassed Skin Hunger. The torture and darkness that surrounded Haph and his new lifestyle dig deeper into the shadows and the pain and tragedy. As well, there is something about how he deals with everything, how the constant starving ensues.

Haph’s story took off right away, the darkness drove deeper into the core of everything. There was something about how Gerrard and Haph, as well as the other boys, deal with the life and death trials. Each of them being thrown off, like the boys are nothing more than simple toys, and there’s a lot of questions about why these events take place; what are the wizards, Franklin and Somiss, planning? As well, there is something about Franklin; the last time we saw him in Skin Hunger he had this kind, some sort of sincerity and now in Sacred Scars there some sort of weird sort of motive behind everything. I had some questions regarding his person.

Sadima is another issue; she’s back in the cavern with the boys Somiss and Franklin have captured. Teaching them all to write, and beginning to tell them stories, to me they all seem to be more of Franklin and her past. What I enjoyed most about Sadima’s tale is when she puts her plan into action, and there is a given event that passes. She manages to show back up in what would normally be the suburbs of Limori. However, with no memory of whom she is or what she was before; it’s almost like the story folds in on itself and starts over. This makes the story new, and the loop it throws as she lives for years and years, lifetimes and lifetimes.

Sadima’s story slowly closes the gap between her old one and Haph’s tale. This is the part that makes complete sense, the world around Sadima changes and her lifetime stretches far beyond that. There is just so much with this story and how it ends. There is a building, the world shifts constantly around Haph and Sadima.

Every part of the fantasy screams perfection. The dark twisted, starving tale of Haph will get your blood boiling and show you a side of Somiss and Franklin not nearly visible before. Then Sadima’s tale keeps the mystery going, there is the world that changes the friends. As well, the world changes around her, as well, her past slowly comes into question; who she is, what she’s done.

The book ends as any other middle book in a trilogy or a series. There are so many questions answered but nothing is so fully resolved that gives any sort of finish or end anything. There is a reason this book gets a 5.0 rating, and if anyone wants to reach for this pinnacle, pick up this book and take notes. The dialogue between the characters, the relationships change and even Sadima makes a decision that forever changes her life. The world building is fantastic; the darkness of Haph is breath-taking and original. The entire series deserves a lot of credit, and will more than always been on my top list of books.
Profile Image for Kim Zarins.
Author 3 books67 followers
August 3, 2020
How bittersweet to reread this brilliant book from an author and great soul I miss so much. Every line is compelling, every detail, every discovery, every painful step, all of it, is incisive and hard-earned. This fantasy. It's so dark, and you'd never know someone with a full laugh like Kathleen's could write something so unflinching. To be blown away by her imagination is both a sorrow and joy. And maybe this is what it means to have sacred scars. I've been in withdrawal for years now, and it will never end.
Profile Image for Jess.
2,458 reviews68 followers
September 14, 2009
When I read Skin Hunger, I wasn't terribly enthusiastic. It was disturbing at times, and I felt at a distance from the characters. But I couldn't stop thinking about the book, and wondering what would happen to them. That was in December of 2007, but the world of the book stuck with me so completely that when I picked up a copy of Sacred Scars from the library, I started reading it on the walk home. While I couldn't remember the plot of the first book in detail, Duey provides just enough information to remind the reader without doing a full recap. And, as I discovered, the world-building had been so successful that I was swept back up into it.

This time, I didn't feel a distance from the characters in the same way, even though Hahp, in particular, wasn't always likeable. The alternating storylines are set far apart in time, but how far apart we never quite know, and the distance shrinks quite a bit as the story progresses. Each storyline has its own tensions, but wondering when the two will meet adds a delicious third tension that made this nice fat novel fly by. Things wrap up a bit in the end, but it's definitely a middle-of-a-trilogy story with plenty of things left hanging.

In terms of plot, the second volume is less puzzling than the first, because we know more about the relationships between all the characters. I felt like I was able to put together several pieces of the puzzle here, which got me wondering about how many clues had been in the first book and if I was too distracted by other things to figure them out. So I suppose I can go back and reread (this is a series that begs rereading) while I wait impatiently for the final installment.

This is definitely a YA series, with language and violence and a sense of darkness that would make it inappropriate for younger readers. Although the worlds are very different, it might appeal to the Megan Whalen Turner crowd for its complexity and world-building.
Profile Image for Aparajita.
65 reviews3 followers
August 29, 2012
This book takes off where book 1 in the Resurrection of Magic trilogy (Skin Hunger) ended. Sadima is still trying to convince Franklin to escape from Somiss and now she wants to take the caged orphans as well. Hahp and his fellow students are still at the academy of magic and struggling to keep up with the challenges.

For the 1st 100 pages or so, this book was slow, building up on what the first book had already established - Sadima's love for Franklin and her frustration that he is bound to Somiss, scary challenges for Hahp and his companions and their building hatred for the academy. But, for me, it was slow in a good way and I enjoyed it, despite nothing much moving along. I was just happy to be back in Sadima and Hahp's worlds!

After that, things became fast paced very quickly. Sadima finally escaped and the rest of the story chronicles her life on her own. Kathleen Duey added a huge twist that changed Sadima's life in a big way, one that I did not expect it at all and I loved it! Unlike Skin Hunger, where I was very frustrated with Sadima, I spent this book cheering her on. She grew into a kind, loving, independent character.
Hahp's life became tougher with the challenges getting more and more bizarre. His character developed as well and grew up into a more grounded person, taking every obstacle head on. Gerrard remained frustrating and intriguing. I had a lot of questions about where he came from and who he is, but didn't really get any answers. I found myself loathing Somiss, my blood boiled everytime he appeared and Franklin remained as spineless as ever.

Compared to book 1, this one is darker and scarier. We get insights into Somiss' life and activities that are revolting and Hahp and the other students took a step that had me gasping in shock and fear. There was some interlinking among the two parallel storylines, but not a lot and mostly towards the end. I still have a lot of doubts and questions that I am hoping book 3 will answer! All in all, Scared Scars is a terrifying and exciting sequel and I loved it even more than Skin Hunger. I am anxiously awaiting the end of the series.
Profile Image for **✿❀ Maki ❀✿**.
581 reviews48 followers
July 29, 2016
Did I say in my first review that I loved my youngest brother for telling me about this series? Remind me to bludgeon him. There's still no information on when the last book is going to be out, though according to the author's blog, it was given to the publishers back in November of 2012. Maybe I won't have to wait long for the rest of this book. Maybe.*

*As of 2016 - still waiting.*

My only consolation there is that he didn't know the last one wasn't out yet, so now he's as miserable as I am. Because I'm evil like that. Erm, back to the review.

Sacred Scars was as hard to put down as its predecessor.

The flow in this one wasn't quite the same as the first, however. I see where Sadima's story is going, based on bits of history Haph reads, but the breaking point in her story seems a bit sudden. It trails off for a bit, before coming back to where it becomes part of the story explaining how the world Haph lives in came to be in its current state.

I really enjoyed the sort of...message of the story. Magic cannot be fair.

Also, just when you think you can't hate Somiss any more...the man continues to surprise me.

Haph and Sadima's characters grew a lot in this book. In Skin Hunger, both hated the situations they were in, yet they were scared to do much to change that. By the end of Sacred Scars, both have matured a bit, and are working their way towards standing up for what they believe in. They've become leaders.

They're not "the chosen one". They're not all powerful, or all-knowing. They're just two people. If they fail, they will die. But they choose to risk their lives anyway. That, to me, is much more powerful storytelling than having a god-like character who is pre-destined to save the world.
Profile Image for Kimberly.
226 reviews8 followers
July 20, 2010
For the first 175 (!) pages of this book I kept wondering when something interesting would happen. This book was 550-something pages long and we really could have done without the first 175 as they were just more of the same leftover from Skin Hunger: Sadima and Franklin struggle to live under Somiss's rule, Sadima continually copies the magic songs and realizes that Somiss is changing the words around, Franklin professes his love for Sadima and refuses to do anything about it, and the boys at the wizard academy are still super scared of everything and still won't talk to one another. Ugh! Fortunately, after about page 175 (I can't believe I had to read 175 pages for something to actually happen), the story picks up and becomes engrossing again. Despite this repetition at the beginning of the book, it would still be best to read Skin Hunger before reading Sacred Scars because of all the background knowledge one would need in order to get into Sacred Scars.
Profile Image for April Hochstrasser.
Author 1 book18 followers
January 7, 2010
I didn't like the ending of Sacred Scars because it left me confused. Was Thomas good or bad? He led all those people out of the city, but the guards waited for them. He was healed by magicians which was the very thing he preached against. Then he ran away. Sadima thinks he was good, but I'm not so sure. I can't wait for the third book of the triology. At no point did I want to skip any paragraph or word, and sometimes I had to go back and reread to make sure I got it right, unbelievable for me because certain parts of most books bore me and I speed read through those parts. Even though this book was long (550 pp) I read it slowly and carefully because it was full of detail that I didn't want to miss. Book One, Skin Hunger was good, this one was even better.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jordan Mohondro.
72 reviews
September 10, 2016
I gotta say that I love this series. It's real, it's intriguing and above all its SO GOOD. I hold back my five stars, but sometimes man. There are so many unanswered questions, but I love the flow of the book. I love the characters and their very real struggles. I love the world they live in and the creation of very real martyrs like Erides. You don't know who to root for entirely be it Hahp or Sadima in their quests with magic. Honestly I would recommend this series to a lot of people if they're looking for a good fantasy series. I will say the most frustrating thing is that it has been 7 YEARS since this book came out and I'm STILL waiting for the final book. If it lets me down I'll be pissed because these two are so good.
Profile Image for Michael.
Author 13 books68 followers
May 31, 2009
Book Two of Kathleen Duey's A Resurrection of Magic series is the sequel to "Skin Hunger" (the National Book Award finalist). It is a huge, expansive read. Like Tolkien, she balances the personal struggle with huge geopolitical issues seemlessly. It takes a broader view than the first volume, giving a terrifying glimpse into the endless wars between kings and magicians, and the even more frightening prospect of a manipulative priveleged class pulling all the strings and playing with the lives of millions. Read Ken Coles "Lamentation" while you are waiting for the August release, it will get you in the mood for this kind of "Big" fantasy.
Profile Image for Chloe J.
8 reviews
February 23, 2017
Fantastic. The semi accurate portrayal of magic and the self influenced super natural is wonderful. i especially enjoy the emphasis on intention and visualization, as well as the (less prominent but still clearly put) lesson of you dont always need to use magic to get what you need to do done. I also adore Sadima's journey of finding and losing family in this book as well as her reaction and life as a somewhat immortal. Its it has very mature themes put into simple portrayals and i would read this book a thousand times over if i could. NOW I JUST HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE THIRD, its chill tho, ive only spent like a third of my life waiting for it.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Barry.
37 reviews56 followers
May 4, 2009
Just as engrossing as the first book...loved it! Though as is usual with middle books in trilogies, it is going to kill me knowing I have to wait at least another year before I know how it will all resolve itself!
Profile Image for Bev Kodak.
77 reviews5 followers
July 2, 2011
This is one of the best books I read in 2009. Pick up Skin Hunger and Sacred Scars at the same time, because when you put the first one down, you'll want to immediately pick up the second one. Run to the bookstore right now, in fact. Go on, I'll wait.
Profile Image for Rain Misoa.
508 reviews70 followers
November 14, 2014
I really love this series so much! But this one ended in another cliffhanger! Ack! I need to know what happens next! Hopefully, the next book will come out soon! *Hopeful*

To read my full review, click here.
Profile Image for Alexandra Park.
11 reviews
March 30, 2018
I've definitely gotten invested in this series! I really hope the third one gets published some day.
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