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The Scar by Sergey Dyachenko
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The Scar

by Sergey Dyachenko, Marina Dyachenko

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 2 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
I read this as an audible book and it was ably read by Johnathan Davis.
I was very pleased to finally finish this book.
An extremely egotistical city guard, who doesn't have a decent bone in his body, treats everyone as dirt and an appendage to his glory. He callously kills a young student who gets in his way and who hasn't a chance against him. Someone observes this and curses the protagonist with extreme and all-encompassing cowardice.
So far, so good.
We then observe the total degradation of this man as he realises there is no escape from this curse.
Throw in an evil cult society, a love interest, and the fellow's effort to survive his day-to-day life and a search for release from the curse and that's the story.
It just went on a bit too long for my taste.
Probably 2.5 stars. ( )
  quiBee | Jan 21, 2016 |
I'd recommend this book to lovers of fantasy focused on character growth. I loved reading The Scar. It was unlike anything I've read - truly. The plot was interesting, the characters were amazing (by the end!). I also really enjoyed the writing style, although I think that is something that people either love or hate. The book did take me a few pages to get into it, but I recommend sticking with it. This book slowly and completely took me over my thoughts. ( )
  RoseCrossed | Jan 22, 2015 |
This book came out of nowhere and really wowed. It's considerably better - and considerably more different - than the predictable grimdark, thousand-cast sagas publishers seem to be sticking with.

Egert Soll is an arrogant young soldier, toast of the town and pinnacle of his circle. But a terrible event (avoid reading blurbs as they cover a third of this book, much to my anger), changes his life completely, and he will need all his courage to overcome new, inimical foes.

That plot summary is hopelessly vague and cliched - but I really enjoyed the way this book unfolded its quite touching an humane story, and I don't want to spoil it for anyone else.

The Scar reminded me very much of a fairy tale in terms of its narrative building blocks. Magic curses, old wizards, and, yes, love, all make an appearance. But the way Dyanchenko deals with them - with seriousness, emotion and compassion - made the book really sing.

The characterisation is superb. Egert, and every other character, is believable, interesting and complex. Characters in fantasy novels are often very reactive (things happen to the,) or one dimensional (he's the angry one! She's driven by revenge! Oh, she's the funny one!). The Scar avoid this, given even small characters an internal contrast, and with that comes an almost exciting ambiguity; they react like real people, and their emotions frequently make the decisions for them. The characters (of which there are not many) form the heart of The Scar, and they are a great success.

They are also employed to drive a well structured narrative that provides excellent climax and resolution. I am unsure if this is the case in the novel's original Russian publication, but the book is effectively a stand-alone novel in English, and I was well satisfied with its resolution and overall narrative. Dyachenko has a nice sense of pace that serves up plenty of interest and even excitement without feeling monotone or exhausting.

The fact I genuinely cared about the characters made small, emotional struggles exciting - something far to few fantasy authors understand. Internal conflicts if done well can produce just as much tension it, and there's no need to serve up bombastic violence to get it.

The translation is also good. The prose is softly lyrical without being flowery or affected. It's different enough to be interesting, but not indulgent or strange for the sake of strangeness. It has a clean quality I really appreciate and it was obvious to me this is not Dyachenko's first book.

All in all, The Scar was such a refreshing read from a genre that gets very modish and stale at times. I'm disappointed - but not wholly surprised - it hasn't made more of a splash. ( )
  patrickgarson | Jun 22, 2014 |
Started to get predictable. Didn't like characters. Author was keeping secrets.
  malrubius | Apr 2, 2013 |

1. I listened to this as an audiobook and the narration was absolutely fantastic. This is definitely a book I would recommend to someone starting out with audiobooks.

2. The translator for this book did a bang up job. I (obviously) couldn't translate from Russian, so I have no idea how well or specifically Russian translates to English, but the world was complete, the word usage was never "off" or simple. I never felt like I was reading a translated book.

3. I don't know why they specifically referred to Hobb and Moorcock in the book description, I would not have (not that I don't love Hobb or Moorcock?)

And onto the review story-time.

This story is largely character driven. Not to say there isn't a crap-ton of action, it's just not the central point of the story. There are no great quests to get things done to win the girl. This is character. How a character changes and grows.

Egert is a bit of an ass. Like a stereotypic hero, he's big and beautiful and perfect. Brave and an excellent swordsman. Great lover in bed, and leader of men, blah blah blah. He's young and dumb, and in a duel kills a man. And he's cursed by a character only known as the Wanderer. He is cursed to become and know himself as the coward he really is. He leaves home, in search of a way to remove the curse and ends up at a university with the fiancee of the man he kills.

There are a lot of things going on. A religious sect that has lost power seeks to regain it, characters abound, life goes on. There may be a plague here and there, but in the end, it's about Egert and how he lives, and his search and desire to become the man he once was, if that's even possible.


The pacing was a little weird. Most of it was OK. There was the action at the beginning to set up the character and story of Egert. Then there was the distinct lack of action as Egert was no longer a man of action. And I was fine with all of it, because it made sense, but the end got a little rushed (and I'm not sure why).

I found the whole story charming, and deep. Serious and still fun. It's original and different, which I adore.

The only thing that bothered me (other than the random pacing issues at the end) was that the Dean specifically says he doesn't understand why the Wanderer deigned to curse Egert - apparently, the Wanderer is not someone you want to toy with, but at the same time doesn't just show up to randomly curse people. His reasons, or any reason, why he chose Egert to curse is never explained, and at best I can only guess that he cursed Egert so Egert would go to the university and take his place in the actions that occurred with the Cult of Lash and the whole plague and trial thing? So he can see the future, too? I don't know, that reason just seems like a stretch and I felt it was incomplete, although a minor quibble. This quibbly issue could probably be answered if the rest of the tetralogy were in English and I could read them.

I wish more of the Dyachenkos' works were available in English. I want to read more of their books so bad it hurts (especially knowing this novel is 2nd in a series of 4).
( )
  suzemo | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Reminiscent of Patricia McKillip's fairy-tale style, this elegant debut by a husband-and-wife team from Kiev combines the somber beauty of Russian literature with the allegoric power of a traditional folk tale. The theme of the double-edged nature of curses should appeal to readers outside the fantasy genre.
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Jackie Cassada (Jan 1, 2012)
 

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sergey Dyachenkoprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dyachenko, Marinamain authorall editionsconfirmed
Huntington, ElinorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 076532993X, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:45 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"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."--Publisher's website.… (more)

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