Pleasant afternoon to you, thrill seekers! Today’s Read-it-if is just a little bit special – it’s my first ever ARC (that’s Advance Reading Copy for the uninitiated…but of course, you already knew that…) review. Many thanks to Strange Chemistry for the opportunity to get my paws on this one pre-release!
Skulk is a new urban fantasy tale by Rosie Best, to be released on the 1st of October in e-version, and print version in the US and Canada, and on the 3rd of October for the UK and the rest of us Outlanders.
In Skulk we are introduced to Meg Banks, an ordinary lass who suddenly becomes extraordinary during a standard, run-of-the-mill, after-hours excursion to deface her school grounds with social-commentary-oriented graffiti. Meg is interrupted during this mission by the entrance of an injured fox, who promptly morphs into a human male before dying in front of her. Later, Meg discovers that she has somehow inherited the ability to shape-shift into fox form and at this point, things begin to go seriously pear-shaped for all concerned. But mostly for Meg.
Cue a crazy, sadistic sorceress, a merciless army of pigeons, a menagerie of urban shape-shifters and a creeping, flesh-eating fog!
Read it if:
* you have long harboured a sneaking suspicion that the particularly hirsute gentleman who sits opposite you on your daily commute may actually be a gorilla in human form
* you have a strong aversion to foggy weather – both for its natural potential to reduce visibility for motorists, and its supernatural potential to explode the heads of the unwary
* you are attracted to pretty, glittering objects….like egg-sized gemstones that have the power to alter your perception and/or assist in your plans for world domination
* you believe the words “pigeon” and “sky-vermin” are roughly interchangeable
Skulk is the perfect choice for your entry-level explorer of urban fantasy. It has a nice spread of fantasy elements and the history behind the fantasy is explained in enough detail to keep the reader immersed in the story, but without so much complexity that one requires a wall-mounted genealogical tapestry to follow how the situation came to be. In case you’re wondering about appropriate reader age, I would definitely keep this one in the “older teens” section, due to graphic violence, mentions of drug use and parental abuse. Having said that though, Skulk is also a great option for adult readers who want a slightly lighter read in the style of Ben Aaronovitch or Mike Shevdon.
Can I also mention how much I love the cover art? How good is it? Well done to all concerned for proving it is possible to have a young adult novel featuring a teen female lead character, without resorting to the tired and over-used “long-haired girl with vacant expression” option for the cover. Plus, that fox symbol would look fantastic on a t-shirt!
If I’ve whetted your appetite for all things foxy, stay tuned, because Rosie Best will be guest posting here at the shelf on Monday – that’s September 2nd for the calendar buffs among you. And you can check out my Goodreads review here!
Until next time,
Click here to follow this blog and view my other followers…