Sunday, 8 September 2013

Skulk review

SkulkSkulk by Rosie Best

Book Synopsis

To some, Meg Banks’ life might look perfect – she lives in a huge house in West London, goes to a prestigious school, and has famous parents. Only Meg knows the truth: her tyrannical mother rules the house and her shallow friends can talk about nothing but boys and drinking. Meg’s only escape is her secret life as a graffiti artist.

While out tagging one night, Meg witnesses the dying moments of a fox… a fox that shapeshifts into a man. As he dies, he gives Meg a beautiful and mysterious gemstone. It isn’t long before Meg realises that she’s also inherited his power to shift and finds an incredible new freedom in fox form.

She is plunged into the shadowy underworld of London, the territory of the five warring groups of shapeshifters – the Skulk, the Rabble, the Conspiracy, the Horde, and the Cluster. Someone is after her gemstone, however, someone who can twist nature to his will. Meg must discover the secret of the stone and unite the shapeshifters before her dream of freedom turns into a nightmare.

Shona's review 5 of 5 stars

Let me start by saying I was totally sucker-punched by the ending, which in fairness could have been simply because I was reading an unfinished ARC (thank you Strange Chemistry), but there I was completely engrossed in the story and BAM! despite the many pages left in the book the story was over. I actually shouted at it. The book doesn't end in a cliff hanger per say but it ends before the story is over. Which means while I was annoyed at the way it ended I YAY'd at the idea of a sequel because I truly loved this story.

The story itself is so utterly unique I honestly am struggling to think of anything that might come close. This isn't simply 'a bunch of people are able to shift into animals and look how cool this world is'. This is a secret society of people who are destined to protect a weapon from falling into the wrong hands, but the people don't understand (or haven't been told) their history and what they are supposed to be doing. It's Meg who asks questions and starts to unravel the mystery.

Meg, poor beautiful Meg. I actually cried at the way her mother treated her. She suffers so much at the hands of one of the people who are supposed to ensure she stays safe, but she doesn't let this get her down. And despite her 'rich girl' status she is able to stay down to earth and thoroughly likeable. When she discovers her new ability she takes it upon herself to find out more, to try and protect her new 'family'. Even later when there are life and death choices to make she chooses the option that saves her friends. A true Heroine.

With this book we get a wonderful mix of mystery, fantasy, a little romance and London as the beautiful backdrop. It's refreshing to have a book set in the UK, so many of the books I read are set in America, and while I am still able to enjoy them I do love the extra connection to the characters and story that comes from knowing a little of the places we see in the story.

Claire's review 4.5 of 5 Stars

Hmmmm where to start. This was another review that I found extremely hard to put into words. The skulk is an amazing shifter story which took shifting to another level in my eyes. I often find a lot of shifting books to be quite juvenile but this I just loved! Also being set in London was a very nice change of the usual American settings as I knew all the places mentioned, infact I used to live very close to Finchley growing up and worked there briefly, so it was nice to have the familiarity when visualising the story.

As well as the shifting element, I loved the way the story portrayed Megs relationships, from the loyalty she had towards her family despite the way her mother treated her, to her growing feels for Mo, and how she wasn't portrayed as a stereotypical rich girl and was in fact a down to earth teenager.

Now for the reason I couldn't give this a full 5 stars, despite the fact I loved the story and the writing.....I felt the ending needs more. I think (hope) that there is a second book to this, as it left a lot of questions unanswered, and to me felt like it ended half way through the book, with rather an abrupt stop.

I am looking forward to reading any continuations to this book, as well as more of Rosie's work in the future.