Skin is the début novel of Australian author Ilka Tampke and it is one that weaves historical fiction with fantasy. Is is the first book in a duology but I think it can definitely be read as a standalone. And, on the whole, I loved this given the fact that it was actually a cover buy on my part!
This is set in Iron Age Britain (43AD) on the brink of invasion by the Roman empire. Our protagonist, Ailia, who works in the kitchens of the Tribequeen. Ailia is unskinned, as a foundling she has no knowledge of her family and as a result of this is forbidden from learning and she is keen to do just that, she is inquisitive and bright, she longs to know her skin so she can be a journeywoman.
I really enjoyed this. It was written beautifully, I could scarcely put it down. However it was predictable. I found myself expecting what was coming, I put two and two together before things were revealed. It didn’t really spoil the book for me but I didn’t feel myself meandering with the story, I was a step ahead of it for most of the books – the twists that people in other reviews didn’t see, I saw a mile off! I don’t think that was a big problem on the whole though because the writing was beautiful and the plot was just a device to push great characters further.
The fantasy element of this was neither here nor there. I found it more spiritual than fantasy, not in a preachy kind of way but the fantasy explored is based around the spirituality of the time and I actually really liked that. As someone who has not read much fantasy at all, I found this very easy to understand and it was really interesting to read too.
On the whole I liked this book a lot and I will definitely read the sequel when it is released in the UK. While this wasn’t perfect, I’m happy to say this was a 4/5 book for me and that I would recommend it to people who like both historical fiction and a bit of fantasy, or even people who have no particular liking to either but want to try something out of their comfort zone.
I love a good read-a-thon so I’ve decided to take part in Bout of Books 14.0 next week! If you don’t know what Bout of Books is:
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team
So, I’m really excited because I really want to get a good chunk of reading done over the next week and also, read-a-thons mean TBRs and I love making TBRs! So, below are the books I want to get around to or at least have the pick of over the next week! I doubt I will read them all but I’d like to get some of them started and/or finished. Without further ado, a TBR pile:
Two of these books I am currently reading (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and Skin) but the other four are books that I just want to read sooner rather than later. I always like to throw some du Maurier in to a readathon TBR so, while Hungry Hill is the next to read chronologically, I picked The Parasites because it is considerably shorter. Then we have two off of me August TBR The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ and also The Montana Stories. Topping it off we have another Persephone book and some Virginia Woolf to boot in Flush: A Biography.
So that’s my TBR for the week. I doubt I’ll get through all of these books but I’m aiming to complete 3, maybe 4, and make headway in to the others. I know I won’t finish Strange & Norrell this week but I’m 200 pages in and haven’t picked it up since the start of the month so just want to make a further dent in to it!
I’m really excited to be taking part in this and I shall update with reviews over the course of the week and my wrap up at the end. But YAY! Read-a-thon!