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.
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
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.
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.
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 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
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.