Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review: The Scar by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko

The Scar by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko.

Book Synopsis: "Reaching far beyond sword and sorcery, The Scar is a story of two people torn by disaster, their descent into despair, and their reemergence through love and courage. Sergey and Marina Dyachenko mix dramatic scenes with romance, action and wit, in a style both direct and lyrical. Written with a sure artistic hand, The Scar is the story of a man driven by his own feverish demons to find redemption and the woman who just might save him.

Egert is a brash, confident member of the elite guards and an egotistical philanderer. But after he kills an innocent student in a duel, a mysterious man known as “The Wanderer” challenges Egert and slashes his face with his sword, leaving Egert with a scar that comes to symbolize his cowardice. Unable to end his suffering by his own hand, Egert embarks on an odyssey to undo the curse and the horrible damage he has caused, which can only be repaired by a painful journey down a long and harrowing path.

Plotted with the sureness of Robin Hobb and colored with the haunting and ominous imagination of Michael Moorcock, The Scar tells a story that cannot be forgotten."

Date Read: December 23 to 26, 2011  
Five out of Five!

Full Review: In full disclosure, I won an Advanced Uncorrected Proof edition of this book as part of a Goodreads Giveaway.

This book is the story of Egert. He begins as a confident, somewhat cruel, aggressive, womanizing youth who is a member of the guards. One day, he kills the fiance of a woman he is pursuing and as a result is challenged to a duel by a mysterious stranger. The stranger leaves Egert with a scar and a curse that leaves him a coward. The bulk of the book deals with Egerts downfall and attempt to overcome his curse.

There is no hint that this book has been translated from another language. It is beautifully written the language is almost poetic at times. A big congratulations should go to Elinor Huntington who wrote the translation, and to Sergey and Marina Dyachenko who wrote the original story. The details are fantastic, close attention has been paid to character traits, for example, after Egert has been cursed, he has a number of habits that he has to perform to help him overcome his nervousness in a stressful situation. The descriptions of the locations and events are also wonderfully detailed and helps the reader visualize the world.

The pacing of the book is excellent. Egert goes through a number of stages during his journey and each is just about the right length. Not so short that you feel like you missed out or that he takes unrealistic jumps in his development, not too long as to become dull. Although I would like to have seen shorter chapters (each chapter is about 30 pages long) as it would make it easier to get to the end of a chapter in a single sitting.

The character of Egert is interesting, initially he is quite unlikeable but for several reasons this is okay. We know this is a story of redemption so he needs to start off with some bad traits, he is only bad for the early part of the book and he is loved by those around him so his character for the setting he is in, isn't seen as a bad person.

From reading the outline of the book I was concerned that this would be more of a romance story, this wasn't the case however. It was more of a fantasy with romantic elements in it, no more than many other fantasy novels. It was done much more intelligently than in other fantasy stories and was much more believable.

The ending is fantastic, the tension is really cranked up and you cannot stop reading because you want to find out what happens to the characters you have grown to love.

This is more of a thinking-persons fantasy story than a action adventure, which as it turns out is actually a good thing unless of course you want to read only high action stories.

The book is excellent, the story is very interesting and so very intelligently written with superb details and descriptions. With so many great qualities and hardly any problems I can confidently give this book 5/5 stars.

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