Saturday, August 7, 2010

Review: Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey

Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey
Published by Atheneum (imprint of S&S)
Date Published: July 24, 2007
Rating: 4/5
Sadima lives in a world where magic has been banned, leaving poor villagers prey to fakes and charlatans. A "magician" stole her family's few valuables and left Sadima's mother to die on the day Sadima was born. But vestiges of magic are hidden in old rhymes and hearth tales and in people like Sadima, who conceals her silent communication with animals for fear of rejection and ridicule. When rumors of her gift reach Somiss, a young nobleman obsessed with restoring magic, he sends Franklin, his lifelong servant, to find her. Sadima's joy at sharing her secret becomes love for the man she shares it with. But Franklin's irrevocable bond to the brilliant and dangerous Somiss traps her, too, and she faces a heartbreaking decision.

Centuries later magic has been restored, but it is available only to the wealthy and is strictly controlled by wizards within a sequestered academy of magic. Hahp, the expendable second son of a rich merchant, is forced into the academy and finds himself paired with Gerrard, a peasant boy inexplicably admitted with nine sons of privilege and wealth. Only one of the ten students will graduate -- and the first academic requirement is survival.

Sadima's and Hahp's worlds are separated by generations, but their lives are connected in surprising and powerful ways in this brilliant first book of Kathleen Duey's dark, complex, and completely compelling trilogy.
Skin Hunger is the first installment of a magic-based trilogy called A Resurrection of Magic. The book alternates chapters between the stories of two separate protagonists- Sadima, a farm girl, and Hahp, the second son of a well-to-do family. Sadima was in search of answers to why she was different, but instead found out how she could help bring magic back. Haph hated his wealthy upbringing, but was soon cast into unnatural circumstances where he had to learn to survive.

Overall, I really liked this book. It starts out unfortunately slow, muddling through Sadima's back story with a colorless narrative. However, once it gets going it is totally enthralling. The characters are well defined and the world is quite vibrantly described. Chapter after chapter, I would find myself reading faster and faster trying to find out what was about to happen. As the two stories tie together toward the end, the book leaves you totally satisfied waiting for the next installment! I would recommend this book to a slightly older teen audience just because of the dark nature of the book, as well as a vocabulary that is a little more advanced. Though don't let that be a deal-breaker.


  1. Love, love, LOVE this book. The second one is even better, but a lot darker as well.

  2. I agree- bit of a slow start, but an awesome story!