Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Skulk by Rosie Best - Paul's Review

*I received this book as an eARC from Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Title: Skulk

Author: Rosie Best
Year Published: 2013

Interview with Rosie Best!
Ashley's REVIEW of Skulk
Ashley's PRE-READING of Skulk

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 realizes 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.

Review: Have you ever passed by an urban animal and wondered its story? Why is this fox outside a jewelry store? Is that spider following me? What if those weren't animals, but humans in disguise! Skulk takes that idea and mixes it into a wonderfully gritty story.

This book takes place in London with all the nuances that make the city. I felt like I took a quick visit to London just by reading this book. British slang and spelling appear throughout the book. Some of the differences took me a second to figure out. Others I had to look up to determine their meaning.

In many contemporary books, the characters never seem to have cell phones or their batteries are always conveniently dead. The characters in this book actually utilize technology. When Meg is presented with so many questions about this new world she's been flung into she Googles it. That's what a modern teenager would actually do. Facebook, YouTube, and other modern resources are also mentioned. It made the story feel more real. 

Graffiti is a big part of this book. Best perfectly paints a clear image of the designs. In our interview with Best, she provided some of her inspirations. You can check out the interview HERE

The perspectives of the animals were captivating to read. The senses change and different things are noticed. 
When a shapeshifter dies, the power transfers to the nearest person so fate alone chose the members. This means all different types of people are in the groups. I enjoyed the diversity of the characters. Their human appearances contrasted their animal personas.  The characters were so well written that I loved to hate many of them. I disliked them for real reasons I dislike people in real life. 

Although some things were predictable, I absolutely loved this book. There was great foreshadowing and a few times I was unexpectedly surprised. Best gives a glimpse into this amazing alternate side of London. I can't wait for the sequel. I give this book a 5/5.


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