By Kathleen Duey
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Paperback, 9780689840944, 368pp.)
Publication Date: September 30, 2008
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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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.
Kathleen Duey's works include the middle grade series American Diaries and Survival, and the well-reviewed chapter book series The Unicorn's Secret, with a companion series, The Faeries' Promise, launching in Summer 2010 on the Aladdin list. She lives in Fallbrook, California.
"Beautifully written, fierce, and unforgettable."
-- Holly Black, author of Tithe