I just finished reading Kathleen Duey’s SKIN HUNGER, the first book of the trilogy: A Resurrection of Magic.
First off, the book follows two stories separated by time: Sadima who lives in a world where magic was long gone and met with people who wanted to resurrect it; and Hahp (centuries after Sadima’s story) who enters the academy of magic where he is taught by magicians. . . . the hard way.
I would have to agree 101% with Holly Black that this book is BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN. There are elements in Skin Hunger that is new for me but they came to me with familiarity. I had not had a difficult time accepting the fact that there are two alternating stories and that both of them had different kind of narration.
Well, personally, if I was made to choose which of the stories I liked better, I can easily say that it is Hahp’s story. I saw Sadima’s story as anti-climactic (though that may also be true for the whole book). But what I am amazed at is that I can’t help falling in love with both stories. They are separate tales that support each other, at first they do not make sense but as the book progress, they do meet (and hopefully still at the next two books).
There is very little climax that can be seen throughout the book, yet it can still be considered as a lovely tale. There is no powerful action and fight scenes here that are usually seen in YA books but the characters themselves are enough to magnetize the readers to love this world carefully created and crafted by Duey.
Through the eyes of Sadima and Hahp comes a portrait of the world that is surely to be loved. The book is a place where magic is definitely magical with characters that can be felt—it is a world carefully written and told.
I can say that the two stories can run independently, but the two stories make up for the lacking element that the other has. They make up for one another, and they were balanced at that note. In Hahp’s story, I felt tensed and excited while in Sadima’s, the story seemed to lay low from the suspenseful story but providing the more significant and informant bits.
Thumbs up for Duey’s characterization. Hahp and Sadima were depicted greatly throughout the course of the book, and it also holds true for the supporting characters. Hahp’s story was told using the first person point of view which I did not expect this because the author is a woman but she chose to use the first person narrative in the story of Hahp. Nevertheless, it was executed fine. While in Sadima’s, Duey used the third person narration which she also done well.
A complex story told in a simple manner. The idea of using two different stories in one book sounds unique but the question that mostly comes first is “would it be confusing?” For Skin Hunger, it did not. The two stories come alternately between chapters and since the chapters of the book were so short, you wouldn’t even feel that you have left the other story before resuming it. Another thing is that since the stories use different types of narration, it would definitely be hard to mix them up.
It was certainly a ride. The emotions held in the book were so raw, the familiarity stings.
I am very much excited in reading the next two books in the series. The book’s ending is certainly a cliffhanger! Leaving me looking forward to see what will happen to the two main characters of the trilogy. Hopefully I get to see a head-on clash between the both worlds where every piece of the puzzle will fit in together.
In a short description:
Skin Hunger is entertaining, lovely, and magical in its own unique way.