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Monday, September 5, 2011

The Skin Map by Steven Lawhead

Clearly, The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead will be a definitive work in the author’s career. Residing in Oxford himself, Stephen realistically, clearly, and picturesquely paints a picture of the city’s atmosphere and people giving his story the perfect backdrop. The book starts with a clever narrative paragraph referencing the desire for oneself to have an umbrella when starting out on an adventure into another universe,  and then. . . The Skin Map thrusts forward into an intricate mosaic of universes and realities.

Simply put, I enjoyed The Skin Map. I have previously steered away from a selection of Lawhead’s books due to personal reader discretion, but felt compelled to try The Skin Map when the second book in the Bright Empires series, The Bone House,(Unfortunately another macabre title) was up for review at Booksneeze.com, Thomas Nelson’s blog review program.

The Skin Map is a book with content I can actually recommend to relatively anyone from around the fourteen year-old age and up. Violence was kept to sparse amounts throughout the book and moral slippages due to the fairer gender being around. . . were blissfully absent! The intensity level of the book was relatively low and definitely cemented it into the speculative fiction or fantasy genre rather than a possible hunt-for-the-treasure thriller.

I had heard complaints prior to my own reading of The Skin Map directed at the ‘lack of anything happening’, as well as the failure of the map to play a large part in the book. Truly, the book is not a rip-roaring read, but I did not presume it was such a reading endeavor and so was not disappointed to find  it without a heart stopping pace; for example, Traveling and daily life are normal occurrences in The Skin Map, not exactly adrenaline racing, however they are artfully done and in Mina’s case, the reader, has a sense of slight foreboding throughout. In regard to the map not playing a large part, this should have been obvious even before reading the book as the back cover makes that detail clear; “the map is just the start.”

I came in a caution reader and I finished a cautious reader.   I finished cautious because I have seen far too many series run into the muck and mire after a solid first book. I am currently reading the second book in the series and happily have not had to gasp in horror, yet. I will retain my opinion on this series until The Bone House is finished.

The book’s narrative is clearly directed at an adult audience due to styling and vocabulary and does not have the snappy and dare I say, twitchiness? of a young adult book. The slower prose combined with the, at times, highly cognitively challenging ley travel in the book puts it out of reach of the standard young adult. However, if you fancy a mental joust and a deliciously long read, you are welcome to try!

With a title as potentially gruesome as “The Skin Map” it required several peers reading it as well as delving into the book’s content online before I decided to read it. I assure you that there is not a gruesome nasty map that lounges around the book sickening discerning readers.

Do I recommend it? Yes, both to the exceptions in the young adult market, and to relatively all adults.

Purchase here and find other books like it here


Jon M. said...

Definitely going to read it! (It's $1.97 on Amazon for Kindle... that's pretty good).

Millardthemk said...

Hey John!

Man, I love that price!! I'm banging my head against the wall while trying to decide to buy it or not..Gaaahhh!

Jon M. said...

I got it right when I saw it. Can't wait to start reading it!