The 2nd part in the Resurrection of Magic trilogy. The first book juxtaposed Hahp, a boy of wealth and privilege who is pledged to the magicians by his mercenary father, and Sadima, an impoverished farmgirl seeking a livelihood in the city. In Hahp's nation, magic is common (though highly expensive) magicians are feared enigmas. In Sadima's nation, magic is outlawed on pain of death. And yet--they live in the same nation...just hundreds of years apart.
The first book was almost unbearably grim. The things Sadima and Hahp live through while trying to survive and learn magic are almost too horrible to read. But Duey has created an intensely interesting world, a centuries-old mystery, and believable, unique characters. I tore through the first book in hours, and although I had to brace myself to read the second, it was equally well-written and enthralling.