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Skin Hunger (Resurrection of Magic) [Paperback]

Kathleen Duey
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

7 Jan 2008 Resurrection of Magic
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 rumours 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.


Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books (7 Jan 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847381340
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847381347
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 483,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Kathleen Duey has written more than forty books for children. The Unicorn's Secret is based on a dream she had when she was at school. She lives in southern California.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too 10 Nov 2007
By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Despite what the cover may say, Kathleen Duey's SKIN HUNGER, first installment of her fantasy trilogy A RESURRECTION OF MAGIC, is not a novel. It's a third of a novel. Or maybe it's two novels. Maybe it's a sixth. But anyway you slice the cake, it's not enough.

The book alternates chapters narrated by Sadima, a farm girl, and Hahp, a second born son of a cruel merchant. The catch is that they live several generations apart. One in a world that desperately needs magic and the other in one saturated and corrupted by it.

The story opens on the night Sadima is born. Her family is cheated by a fake magician, who instead of assisting in the birth, steals their valuables and lets her mother die. Unsurprisingly, Sadima grows up in a family that hates magic and she is forced to hide her gift of understanding animals. Franklin, a servant of a young nobleman named Somiss, finds her and tells her about his belief that magic will solve all the problems of the world. Together, the three try to rediscover magic. Hahp is sent to an academy of magic. There are nine other boys. Eight of them come from wealthy families and the ninth, Hahp's roommate, is a mysterious peasant named Gerrard. Unlike Franklin's lofty ideals of teaching everyone magic, here everyone must earn the right to learn. And those who do not or cannot will die.

I think this book will appeal to both boys and girls. Initially, each protagonist seems to represent the traditional story of their gender. For Sadima, the girl, it is a love story and for Hahp, the boy, it is an adventure story. At first, I thought the sweetness of Sadima's part was a nice balance to Hahp's grittier and darker part. Over time, the two stories blur together.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt and intense 17 Sep 2007
By Lynn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a high school librarian, I get frustrated when a few books get a lot of attention when there are so many high quality books for young adults out there. This book is one of the quiet gems that I want to share with all of my students because Duey has created characters that are truly resonate with teenagers. Even though the situation Sadima and Hahp are in may not be familliar in time or place, there are so many aspects of who they are that mirror teens that I see every day. I, myself, adored Sadima and her heartfelt love and connection with animals. Hahp's pain and desperation is physically painful to me, as a reader, because Hahp is such a "real" person.

One of my students took the book on Friday, and when she returned it this morning (Monday), she said that she hasn't found a book that she got so lost in in a long time. And this is one of my most prolific readers, so she had a broad frame of reference.

Share this book with teens (and adults) in your life! It's one of the better young adult books published this year!
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too 10 Nov 2007
By TeensReadToo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Despite what the cover may say, Kathleen Duey's SKIN HUNGER, first installment of her fantasy trilogy A RESURRECTION OF MAGIC, is not a novel. It's a third of a novel. Or maybe it's two novels. Maybe it's a sixth. But anyway you slice the cake, it's not enough.

The book alternates chapters narrated by Sadima, a farm girl, and Hahp, a second born son of a cruel merchant. The catch is that they live several generations apart. One in a world that desperately needs magic and the other in one saturated and corrupted by it.

The story opens on the night Sadima is born. Her family is cheated by a fake magician, who instead of assisting in the birth, steals their valuables and lets her mother die. Unsurprisingly, Sadima grows up in a family that hates magic and she is forced to hide her gift of understanding animals. Franklin, a servant of a young nobleman named Somiss, finds her and tells her about his belief that magic will solve all the problems of the world. Together, the three try to rediscover magic. Hahp is sent to an academy of magic. There are nine other boys. Eight of them come from wealthy families and the ninth, Hahp's roommate, is a mysterious peasant named Gerrard. Unlike Franklin's lofty ideals of teaching everyone magic, here everyone must earn the right to learn. And those who do not or cannot will die.

I think this book will appeal to both boys and girls. Initially, each protagonist seems to represent the traditional story of their gender. For Sadima, the girl, it is a love story and for Hahp, the boy, it is an adventure story. At first, I thought the sweetness of Sadima's part was a nice balance to Hahp's grittier and darker part. Over time, the two stories blur together. What Sadima does is now inextricably connected to Hahp's outcome and the future explains the past.

The book is extremely vivid and well thought out. Kathleen Duey creates many unique, strong, and complex major characters. It is undeniably a very dark book, but the main characters are too optimistic and hopeful to make it depressing. Even though it is 357 pages, the font is larger than normal and I finished it in one sitting. And as hinted in the beginning, (and I hope I'm not giving too much away), the story ends with a teeth-gnashing cliffhanger.

I really like how the story is aimed at ages twelve and up, but does not dumb down or gloss over the grittier aspects of life, such as the death of a loved one and the difficulties and consequences of making your own decisions. At the same time, I hesitate to recommend this book to grade school and possibly junior high students. If it were a movie, the violence would probably give it an "R" rating. However, the blood and gore is never gratuitous and always serves to improve the story. I have seen more graphic writing in historical fiction aimed at this age group, such Donna Jo Napoli's STONES IN WATER. It also has the same amount of emotional turmoil in any of the later HARRY POTTER and HIS DARK MATERIALS books. Not for the faint of heart, but still a great first book in what seems to be an addictive trilogy.

Reviewed by: Natalie Tsang
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Now these are some very dark wizards! 30 Oct 2008
By Jenine M. Cafarella - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When I first read the description for Skin Hunger, it sounded intriguing. Now, having finished the book, I can definitely say intriguing is only the tip of the iceberg. This was a very unusual fantasy set in a world of wizards much crueler and warped than anything Harry Potter could have dreamed of. In actuality this is really two separate stories in one, paradoxically intertwined by common characters in a way not completely revealed, at least not in this first volume.

In the first part we are introduced to Sadima, saved and raised by her brother who loves her but cannot believe in her gifts. The second story is of a businessman's youngest son, Hahp, who is sent to a strange and horrifying academy to learn wizardry, or die trying. I would hate to give anything more than this away as I believe the story is best read with blinders on going in.

I will say that it is a very dark, well written, young adult fantasy. It is descriptive but not overwhelmingly complex. The author feeds you clues, bits and pieces as the story goes along, that reveal how tightly woven the two stories are. Although this seems like it would be frustrating, the result is actually quite engrossing. There is a little bit of romance in here, although I would not, by any stretch of the imagination, say this is a girly tale, and it actually feels a bit fatalistic. You're left highly questioning the possibility of a happy ending which is unusual, and a little disconcerting, but adds to the overall tone of the book. After reading one of this author's earlier works and not being totally impressed, I have to say that I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the storytelling here. Although this is another series starter which leaves off on a cliffhanger ending, I didn't find it as objectionable as I have with other series in the past.

I'd highly recommend this story to teens and adults, both guys and girls, who enjoy dark fantasy stories with a cerebral edge and don't overly mind being left to wonder what will happen next.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 14 Aug 2007
By D. Stockley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Skin Hunger is a smart, challenging, character driven fantasy that deals with difficult issues of abuse, deprivation, love, and misplaced loyalty. Fans of LeGuin's Earthsea series should take note.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark YA Fantasy that holds up for an adult reader 31 July 2009
By Ruth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Skin Hunger is two stories in one. Told in alternating chapters, Skin Hunger follows the story of Sadima, a farm girl who can speak to animals. Her mother died when the magician hired to heal her instead stole the family's few valuables and left her to die as she gave birth to Sadima. Seeking to find someone who can understand her abilities, she runs away to the distant city Limòri and starts keeping house for two budding magicians. The second story concerns Hahp, a young man sent to the Magical Academy in Limòri by a father who wants to get rid of him. Set several centuries after Sadima's story, Hahp lives in a time where magic is strictly controlled by a secretive enclave of magicians. In any class of students, only one becomes a magician, and the other students are never seen again.

I picked up Skin Hunger before I went to bed, intending to only read a few pages. Two hours later, I finally made myself put the book down, knowing that sleeping late the next morning was impossible. I picked it back up as soon as I woke, and sneaked in chapters between other tasks throughout the day. I was mesmerized by the story. It didn't bother me that Skin Hunger flipped back and forth between two separate stories because they were both incredibly well written and compelling. As interconnections between the two stories appeared, it drew me even deeper into the tale.

Though written for a YA audience, this is not a light or easy novel. The magicians at the academy psychologically and physically torture their students to the breaking point. Watching these young men falter and fail was emotionally painful at times. Duey does not shy away from some of the grimmer realities of family and romantic relationships, setting up a bizarre love triangle between Sadima and the two magicians. Considering that half of the book takes place in a magical academy, there is very little actual magic done in the book. Instead, Duey relies on the characters to create a breathtaking, and heart-aching, story.

Visceral and dark, Skin Hunger is a National Book Award finalist. It is the first book in a planned trilogy, and ends on a cliffhanger. I am very interested in finding out what happens to Sadima and Hahp in their separate stories, and to see if their plans come to fruition. I would like to believe that a happy ending is possible, but right now I'm not sure how they will accomplish it. I highly recommend this book to any reader, YA or adult, who enjoys dark, character-driven fantasy.
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