Plot: Sadima is born in a world where magicians are just legends or frauds. Her father and brother hate magicians after one robbed them and left Sadima’s mother to die in childbirth. But Sadima may have true power; she can understand and speak with animals. When she encounters Franklin and Somiss who are trying to revive magic, she thinks that she has finally found people who can accept her for who she is. Centuries later, magic has been restored and Hahp has been sent to a mysterious school with 9 other boys where he is to be trained as a wizard. But this is nothing like the boarding schools he is used to. The wizards make it clear that only one of them will survive and any kind of cooperation will be punished.
The dual structure of the novel is a bit strange at first. The chapters alternate between the two narrators (even the style is different, Hahp’s chapters being in the first person and Sadima’s in the third, limited) and it almost feels like reading two different novels simultaneously. But slowly as the plot progresses, there start to be links between the two stories and this builds the tension quite effectively. I picked this book up on a whim (it was the title, I admit) but once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. My one complaint is that the first volume ends quite abruptly. It cannot stand on its own.