Review of Snakeskins by Tim Major

Caitlin Hext’s first shedding ceremony is imminent, but she’s far from prepared to produce a Snakeskin clone. When her Skin fails to turn to dust as expected, she must decide whether she wishes the newcomer alive or dead. 

Worse still, it transpires that the Hext family may be of central importance to the survival of Charmers, a group of people with the inexplicable power to produce duplicates every seven years and, in the process, rejuvenate. In parallel with reporter Gerry Chafik and government aide Russell Handler, Caitlin must prevent the Great British Prosperity Party from establishing a corrupt new world order.

Firstly, I would like to thank Titan Books for sending me an advanced copy of this amazing book, I was totally sold on the blurb and the comparisons to the T.V show Humans – it was everything I hoped it would be.

The Fall in 1808 was a seemingly spectacular event, an event which led to the rewriting of modern history, as whilst Snakeskins is a contemporary setting it is very far from the UK that we know today. It has a feeling of being trapped in time, an 80’s vibe at times but with a dystopian feel.  The effect of The Fall seemingly stifling the UK on the world stage as it holds closely the legacy of that wonderful yet terrifying day. Whilst we learn very little about what caused The Fall itself, pretty much just one sentence, it helped to lend an air of intrigue throughout. Usually as a reader I hate not being in the know, but once I realised that this story is very much based in the now, I let the narrative immerse me and I just went with the flow.

With 3 intertwining stories, I was kept on my toes throughout. I was struck by the divided society, the eliteness of the charmers and the fact that the country is run by a select few who’s ancestors just happened to be in the right place at the right time. The concept of self segregation by virtue of the financial prowess of the first families of the fall is stark. Catilin as one of only two charmer children at her state run school shows that it is very much a case of the haves and have not’s, and it’s not surprising that we are in a world with a country divided – perhaps not so different to current climes after all.

As well as the impact on societal structure, there is the snakeskins themselves. For a moment in time a new person is formed, a clone taking all the faults of the charmer with them, leaving the charmer anew. For a period of time, even if mainly fleeting, there is a mirror person sharing memories, experiences, scars and all. It was the expendability of the snakeskins that stuck with me the most, a discarded shell waiting in the winds, never having the opportunity to be more, to be accepted for even a few seconds as a person in their own right. As the story progressed I found myself feeling more empathy for the Snakeskins and more horrified and terrified at the reveals. As the divides reach a crescendo, Caitlin takes the biggest risk of all to understand the depth of the secrets at play and I admit I felt frightened for her.

There are heartfelt moments too though, the night of Caitlin’s first shedding was so emotional and beautifully depicted. Given the bleak landscape, it gave the event an almost ethereal feel. There are also people fighting for the rights and well being of those who are different, which restored a little of my faith in humanity. There is so much more I want to talk about but I think I’m pushing to the bounds of spoilers as it is. I was left exhilarated at the conclusion though, the book had a feeling of unease deftly woven through the pages throughout, which made the thriller style conclusion all the more breathtaking. I loved the way everything came together and the setting for it.

Snakeskins is a heart stopping and thought provoking read, which will make you question how you would see your own identity in those circumstances and challenge your perceptions of acceptance.



Bookish Ramblings: May TBR!

Hello bookish lovelies! As it’s the first of May I thought I would let you know what I’m planning on reading this month – as always if you want to read along with me then send me a message, I’m always happy to buddy read – especially after 2 awesome experiences in April! I am determined to make May the month I finish Priory of the Orange tree too. I’m trying to be realistic given that I have half of that to read still and I want to get back to reading at least one Indie title a month too, so thats a good place for me to start!

Dark and Bright by PM Hernandez

I discovered PM Hernandez a couple of years ago and I’m a big fan of her Earthborn series. Dark and Bright is a new series for maturer YA readers of 16+ because of the themes it covers, but given that I really enjoyed her earlier books, I have high hopes for this.

Caroline Franx lives in isolation because her father, a world-renowned geneticist, worries about her fragile health. Despite having everything her heart desires, her days are sometimes lonely and tedious. Sacrificing a normal life for safety never bothered her until she meets a handsome gardener who makes her want to experience the world beyond the confines of her home.

Ethan Ramirez is no gardener. He’s at the Franx estate to unearth the atrocities his team is certain the good doctor is committing and bring those crimes into the light of day. The pretty Caroline seems like an angel, but Ethan soon wonders if she’s cloistered on the estate for her protection or for everyone else’s. 

Finale by Stephanie Garber

One of the buddy read’s I completed in April was of Legendary as I wanted to have the series fresh in my mind for when Finale released. I struggled with Legendary on my first read as it continued on directly from the closing stages of Caraval and I sadly couldn’t remember the finer points – I’m good to go though now and I’m so excited to find out how it all ends! I’ve also got a pre-order from Waterstones to get the full set of hidden covers 🙂

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…all games must come to an end.
It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.
Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancé, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finaly, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.
Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win…and those who will lose everything. . .

To Best the Boys by Mary Weber

This was the March Fairyloot pick and as usual it’s perhaps not a book that I would have chosen myself, the title if i’m honest didn’t inspire me. However, I love the cover and the premise sounds good, although the last time I read characters in a maze Cedric Diggory didn’t do well (and don’t get me started on the maze in the podcast of “my dad wrote a porno” bleugh)

Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. Every year, the poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.
In the province of Caldon, where women are trained in wifely duties and men are encouraged into collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her Mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.
With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the maze

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

This is a book that I saw everywhere on social media for it’s release – Titan books really know how to run a good campaign. The cover is beautiful and I loved the blurb. I managed to pick up a signed hardback copy from Forbidden Planet in February and I’m excited to step into this world!

January is a dying planet – divided between a permanently frozen darkness on one side, and blazing endless sunshine on the other. Humanity clings to life, spread across two archaic cities built in the sliver of habitable dusk. But life inside the cities is just as dangerous as the wastelands outside.Sophie, a student and reluctant revolutionary, is supposed to be dead, after being exiled into the night. Saved only by forming an unusual bond with the enigmatic beasts who roam the ice, Sophie vows to stay hidden from the world, hoping she can heal.But fate has other plans – and Sophie’s ensuing odyssey and the ragtag family she finds will change the entire world.

As I said, if you want to read along with me for any of these just let me know, and I’ll change up my schedule to fit – Happy Reading!