Author: D.E.L. Connor
Author website: www.dellaconnor.com
The Scarring is the second book in the “Spirit Warriors” series, picking up shortly after the near drowning of the main character, Emme and the death of one of her closest friends, Lilly.
As in any series, especially young adult, the characters must grow to give the story life, and in this aspect Connor does a wonderful job. Both physically and supernaturally, the young group of friends continue to develop as the story unfolds. Even still, the book is capable of standing alone without need of reading the first book in the series, The Concealing.
Not to read the books in order would be a mistake, not so much from the standpoint of missing parts of the plot, but because doing so would be akin to feeling your heart miss a beat, or breaking your gait in the middle of a race only to fall on your face. As with the first book, the second has its own unique heartbeat. There is a rhythm that fits perfectly with the first book. You can skip the first book, but if you were a fan of the first, falling into the second is like sliding into bed in your favorite pajamas after a long day. It’s a comfortable and inviting experience that takes you away to a world that’s hard not to love.
The world of the “Spirit Warrior” series continues to grow as one of the main character moves to a local Indian reservation, and as such new characters are introduced and the series comes closer to its American Indian roots. This is a great addition and natural progression of the story that gives a new dynamic to the quirky group of friends that do things such as drive around in a “headbanger pickup” or a “rat-mobile”, and suffer from maladies such as “barking spiders”.
Young adult issues continue to be a driving force within the overall story line. At times there is a melancholy feel as they reflect back on the suicide of Lilly, and a love triangle quickly develops involving Emme. There is also religious undertones of youth trying to find their faith, and one character struggling with being gay in a small Montana community.
The bad guy known as the “machayiwiw” continues to leave a surprisingly small footprint within the story. Even so, the story line turns darker than in the first book, the action ramping up quickly and much more in your face. Emme and Charlie discover more about their supernatural abilities, and when the bad guys do interact it tends to leave a more definitive mark on the reader than the first book does.
All in all, the strength of the series is detail within the life of young Emme. Where most authors tend to leap over the little details of life, Connor continues to include every little thing. Right down to just about every time Emme takes a shower, making her possibly the cleanest character in the history of literature. Strangely, these details are what makes the reading so wonderful. Combined with the rich world drawn in rural Montana, you find yourself coming back to the book time and again to lose yourself in the wonderful comfort of a world full of nature and youth.
Bottom line: A great young adult series along the formulaic values of the “Twilight” series. Also a wonderful book for adults who want to immerse themselves in a world full of youth and American Indian heritage.