September 15, 2017

REVIEW| A Skinful of Shadows

A Skinful of Shadows
Frances Hardinge

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Release: 29th September, 2017
UK Publisher: Macmillan Children's


This is the story of a bear-hearted girl . . .

Sometimes, when a person dies, their spirit goes looking for somewhere to hide. 
Some people have space within them, perfect for hiding. 

Twelve-year-old Makepeace has learned to defend herself from the ghosts which try to possess her in the night, desperate for refuge, but one day a dreadful event causes her to drop her guard. 

And now there's a spirit inside her. 

The spirit is wild, brutish and strong, and it may be her only defence when she is sent to live with her father's rich and powerful ancestors. There is talk of civil war, and they need people like her to protect their dark and terrible family secret. 

But as she plans her escape and heads out into a country torn apart by war, Makepeace must decide which is worse: possession – or death.


The Cover:

This cover doesn't fall into the usual design of Hardinge's books. Such as The Lie Tree (see right), The Cuckoo's Song and Face like Glass. Instead it's reminiscent of Katherine Arden's The Bear and the Nightingale

It's interesting use of mirroring of the animals and nature references that occur throughout the story. In my notes I said something about the reflection on yourself and consciousness. There is something in that.

It's an attractive, intriguing book cover and suits the mood better than previous cover art.

The Content:

You know that feeling when you read someone's writing and it just feeds your soul, and like a three course meal you can't help but feel well fed and satisfied at the end. You pop open the top button on your jeans and just sit there, bloated and happy and unable to move. But, that's okay. Cause your appetite has been sated for a few more hours. This is how I would describe Hardinge's A Skinful of Shadows.
"The pale light prised at her eyelids  and the whispers seeped and licked at her ears and the air was thick with them."
I saw the quote on the back of the book and knew instantly that this was prose I was going to love. Its full of rich, dark, eerie, gorgeous writing that evokes the imagination. I think that's what makes this book successful; as well as, how they can appeal to an older reader like myself and older than that.

A Skinful of Shadows is a window, looking into the English Civil War, through a supernatural-fantasy lense. Seeped in British history, without the need for major historical turnpoints. The use of social constructs and Purist names such as Makepeace. But, refraining from becoming the entirety for the plot. 

I absolutely fell in love with Makepeace. The seeds planted for her to grow throughout the story kept me reading.
 She became that feisty, intelligent being with an independent mind that I wanted. She was a joy to read and to experience her journey through her eyes. 

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