by Kathleen Duey
September 30th 2008by Simon Pulse
Paperback, 368 pages
0689840942 (isbn13: 9780689840944)
rating: 3 of 5 stars
DO NOT READ THIS BOOK.
For those of you who don't know, I have a rule that I neither buy, check out, borrow or otherwise read books whose sequels have not been published. I just get too darn impatient for the continuation of the series.
Well, I did not realize that Skin Hunger is a trilogy. Yes, it says so right on the book. Yes, I really can read. But I didn't. Big mistake.
Skin Hunger tells two stories, alternating chapter to chapter between the two. The first is the 3rd-person narrative of Sadima, a young woman with the ability to talk to animals in a place and time in which such magic is strictly forbidden. The second story is the 1st person account of Hahp, a second son sent to wizarding school, centuries after Sadima.
Skin Hunger is not like The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which has a sequel but is a perfectly complete story in its own right. It's not even like Paolini's Inheritance Cycle, in which each book does a respectable job of tying up a few plot lines before moving on to the next volume.
Instead, Skin Hunger introduces the two storylines, as well as the four main characters: Sadima, Franklin, Sommiss, and Hahp. These are difficult enough to learn, with the back-and-forth points of view. Indeed, it takes at least a third of the book, if not more, to even understand why there are alternating points of view. For a 350 page book, it's too confusing; it may be more appropriate for the 1000 page novel that the trilogy will become.
Then, just as you settle into the flip flopping and characters and their possible motivations, the book ends. The story doesn't end; in fact, I thought I'd maybe purchased a misprinted copy. The reader is left with more questions than answers and with severe annoyance at the abruptness.
Still, Duey's book won Newbery honors, probably because of her original concept and well-paced writing. I am definitely looking forward to the second volume Sacred Scars, but I strongly encourage you to wait until the third book (as yet unwritten) is released before diving into the trilogy.