Release Date: 2007
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Bookstore
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 by Kathleen Duey is going to be a hard book to review. Not because it was bad, not at all! I really enjoyed it, but its one of those books that’s hard to put into words. You just have to read it for yourself, but saying that doesn’t make for a good review, so I will try to get my thoughts on it out there.
This is a high fantasy book and I think if you are not a fan of high fantasy already then Skin Hunger is not for you. What makes the book so fantastic is the world building. Its a lot like your common worlds found in fantasy, but Duey makes it her own by adding small elements from the real world and by making it very character driven.
Something that I think a lot of people wouldn’t like about this book is that there’s really no action. The characters aren’t fighting epic battles or even small ones. They are just going through the motions. There’s something so captivating about that. The story is told from alternating perspectives. Sadima and Hahp live generations apart, but as their stories are told and the puzzle pieces start falling in place, you can’t help but turn pages. You must know more. You must find out what happens in Sadima’s time that makes the things in Hahp’s life possible.
Skin Hunger is a dark and gritty novel. The characters do not have easy lives and Duey makes you understand that clearly. I think this book only scratches the surface of how awesome this trilogy is going to be. It’s days later and I’m still thinking about it. I can’t wait to dive into the next book, and if you are a fantasy fan I suggest that you read this as soon as possible!