Sadima has grown up in a world where magic, real magic, has been banned. Those who claim to practice magic are, at best, just trying to make a living and at worse, thieving con artists. A ban on magic can't destroy it, though, and from a very young age, Sadima is aware that her ability to communicate with animals is not ordinary.
Over 150 years later, Hahp, the seemingly useless younger son of a wealthy man, is sent to an academy for wizards. The parents who send their boys know two things: Only one of the ten boys accepted will become a wizard, and even if their son is the one, it is unlikely that they will ever set eyes on him again.
Fan-freaking-tastic. The two storylines intertwine and compliment each other, exploring class, friendship, obsession, sacrifice, and charity. Both parts of the story are full of suspense, and Somiss, who appears in both parts of the story, is a fascinating (if, so far, quite unlikable) character.
The end left me desperate -- and I mean desperate -- for more. I have so, so, so many questions. Not the least of which is: When, oh when, will Book Two be available?
Highly recommended to those who like their fantasy dark and character-driven. The first four chapters are up at Kathleen Duey's website. Give 'em a try -- if they're to your liking, I guarantee that it'll just get better and better.