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Skin Hunger: A Resurrection of Magic Book One    by Kathleen Duey order for
Skin Hunger
by Kathleen Duey
Order:  USA  Can
Atheneum, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Skin Hunger is the first episode in a rather dark fantasy series, A Resurrection of Magic. In it, Kathleen Duey alternates between parallel stories separated by centuries but linked by key characters - who appear in both eras - and by cause and effect.

In a time when the first Age of Magic has been long forgotten, a family is devastated when an old charlatan of a magician (hired to help with a difficult childbirth) robs the household and leaves her patients to die. The baby, Sadima, survives but her mother does not. Her father is never the same, but Sadima's brother Micah nurtures and loves her, though he does not believe in her ability to communicate with animals. Sadima's talent leads to a meeting with Franklin (who's researching various forms of magic). After her father's death, Sadima seeks Franklin out in Limori. There, she helps him and the fanatical, aristocratic Somiss (to whom Franklin is bound) record magical songs. Sadima's love for Franklin grows, as does her dislike for Somiss and distaste for his cruel methods.

In the future, Hahp, the unloved son of a wealthy merchant, is forced by his father to enter an academy of magic. There he's paired with Gerrard, a ragged boy from a poor family. The students are treated with incredible cruelty (to the point that many do not survive) and threatened to discourage them from helping each other. They - and the reader - wonder what is the point of this starvation and abuse. As this first episode (rather abruptly) closes, Hahp and Gerrard defy their wizard masters to aid each other, while far back in time, Somiss, Franklin and Sadima discover - and descend into - 'the ancient home of magic'. I look forward to seeing this Resurrection of Magic plot evolve.

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