Chris's Reviews > Sacred Scars

Sacred Scars by Kathleen Duey
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's review
Sep 22, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: dark, fantasy, ya, not-graphic, adult

"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."
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 22, 2009 – Shelved
September 22, 2009 – Shelved as: dark
September 22, 2009 – Shelved as: fantasy
September 22, 2009 – Shelved as: ya
September 22, 2009 – Shelved as: not-graphic
September 22, 2009 – Shelved as: adult

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Leslie Chris,
You did a wonderful job of reviewing this book!

Chris Thank you. :-)

Darian I think I'm the only one who thinks this...but I think Gerrard is.. idk maybe Sadima and Franklins son and we just don't know it. He is very mysterious.

Chris Oh, I definitely think there is a link between Sadima and Gerrard. I don't want to speculate on the exact relationship, but I'm pretty sure he is her tool, sent to bring down Somiss.

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