Saturday, October 31, 2009
Duey, Kathleen. 2009. Sacred Scars. Simon & Schuster. 554 pages.
Sadima sat cross-legged on the cold stone, just outside the cage. She was holding her slate so the boys could see the symbol she had drawn. Most of them were trying to copy it. Two stolen lanterns hung from the iron bars above their heads, held in place by some Market Square merchant's missing tarp hooks. The rest of the vast cavern was dark.
Is magic good or bad? Is it more harmful than helpful? Should anyone be allowed to use it? Even if it is supposedly for the benefit of all? Sacred Scars is the sequel to Skin Hunger. Both books are complex. Not easily summarized. The book continues its dual narration. We have Sadima's story--her being torn between love and hate. Hating Somiss, loving Franklin, and being oh-so-confused about magic but wanting to preserve the (gypsy) songs all the same. We have Hahp, a young man, who among others, is tortuously being taught magic by the wizards. These teens (I'm assuming they are teens) are being deprived of so very much. (In a way, it reminds me of the cruelty of battle school in Ender's Game only this is five hundred times worse.) Their stories are generations apart at least--perhaps hundreds of years. Yet the two share overlapping characters. How can this be? Well, you won't really find any answers in Sacred Scars.
This is the second in the series. And I'm only assuming more is to come. Because the story does not have a resolution. Not even close. True, it doesn't end quite as cliff-hanger-y as the first one did. But still. No resolution. Over five-hundred pages and there are still more questions than answers.
I'm torn about this series. On the one hand, they're complex and (almost) always compelling. You don't always know what is going on. You don't have a clue where it's heading. But somehow you care anyway. Or maybe I should just say I cared anyway. But on the other hand, these are two very long books and we're not any closer to having the answers, to having the story make sense. I kept waiting for a time where I could finally say that all the pieces had come together. A place where I could come to appreciate the complexity of it.
One thing Kathleen Duey did do well with both books is make both narrators compelling. It's hard to do when the stories and plots are so different (in a way) from one another. In books set in two time periods it's really really hard to make the reader care about both (in my opinion). And Kathleen Duey did do that for me. So I can say it was well-written. I just wish I'd gotten more satisfaction from the experience.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews