Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Resurrection of Magic: Book One – Skin hunger

A Resurrection of Magic: Book One – Skin hunger

Kathleen Duey
Fiction  Series
For ages 14 and up
Simon and Schuster, 2008   ISBN: 978-0689840937

Sadima has a gift which she does not dare let anyone know about; she can communicate with animals. Unfortunately her father hates anything to do with magic and magicians. A magician was responsible for her mother?s death on the day when Sadima was born and this same magician also stole from Sadima's family. So Sadima keeps her gift hidden and dreams of a day when she might be able to talk freely about it.

Than a young man called Franklin comes to her farm and invites her to join him in the city of Ferne. He talks about working together to "gather up the magic" with his friend Somiss. It all sounds so wonderful and exciting and after her father dies, Sadima takes him up on his offer. She walks to Ferne and finds Franklin.

Unfortunately Somiss is not as good and as kind as Franklin is. Indeed Sadima does not like the strange and frightening young man and comes to realize that Somiss has a dreadful influence over Franklin. Over time she discovers that Somiss' search for the magic of the past in the old songs and texts is out of control and that he will do anything to get what he wants. He does not care who he hurts in the process. Sadima wonders if she will ever be able to separate Franklin from the poisonous Somiss.

Hundreds of years into the future there is Hahp, the unwanted son of a merchant. The merchant decides to place his troublesome son in the academy of magic. Against his will Hahp finds himself in the company of a small group of boys, only one of whom will be allowed to become a wizard of the academy. The boys are made to wear scratchy woolen robes and they are deprived of food. They are terrified of a wizard called Somiss who tells them that they will starve unless they do as they are told. They need to achieve certain goals and until they do they will go without food.

The boys do the best that they can. Hahp's room partner works very hard indeed studying the books that he has been given. All the boys attempt to make food in the way Somiss taught them but none of them can. And then Hahp has a break though. He is able to conjure up apples and is finally able to eat. He has been told not to feed the others and is too afraid to defy Somiss. They are all too afraid to help one another. The boys start to die. Hahp can hardly believe that he has been sent to this horrific place where he too may be one of the ones who will be condemned to die of starvation - or worse.

In this sometimes very dark and troubling book, the stories of two very different characters are tied together in a very interesting way. Alternate chapters take us back and forth through time between the story of Sadima and that of Hahp. As we read we begin to see points of connection between the two accounts. Superbly crafted, this is a compelling first book in what promises to be a thrilling and widely read trilogy.