by Rosie Best
Published by Limited on September 19, 2013
Genres: Young Adult Paranormal
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Overview from Barnes & NobleTo some, Meg Banks’ life might look perfect – she lives in a huge house in West London, goes to a prestigious school, and has famous parents. Only Meg knows the truth: her tyrannical mother rules the house and her shallow friends can talk about nothing but boys and drinking. Meg’s only escape is her secret life as a graffiti artist.While out tagging one night, Meg witnesses the dying moments of a fox… a fox that shapeshifts into a man. As he dies, he gives Meg a beautiful and mysterious gemstone. It isn’t long before Meg realises that she’s also inherited his power to shift and finds an incredible new freedom in fox form.She is plunged into the shadowy underworld of London, the territory of the five warring groups of shapeshifters – the Skulk, the Rabble, the Conspiracy, the Horde, and the Cluster. Someone is after her gemstone, however, someone who can twist nature to his will. Meg must discover the secret of the stone and unite the shapeshifters before her dream of freedom turns into a nightmare.
London has become a magical city for me because of my favorite series Harry Potter and The Infernal Devices. And now thanks to Skulk! When I came upon this book in Netgalley I thought this would be another teenage shapeshifter story, but I am happy to say I was wrong!! Yes, the heroine Meg Banks is a teenager who stumbles upon the secret shapeshifter world, but she works along side adult and pre-teen shapeshifters. And surprisingly, Meg is the most mature of the lot and the most determined to take action against the evil enemy.
What I really loved about this book is its diverse characters. Meg Banks is 16 years old and has been abused by her mother, primarily because of her weight. Meg is a size 16 and I was really impressed that the author did not choose to have that be a major focus in the storyline. Meg’s mother ridiculed her for her weight, but this was not an issue for Meg’s friends and the other shifters. And losing weight wasn’t a goal for Meg, she found happiness in her graffiti and later focused on more important things – like trying to stay alive! Skulk is filled with characters from different social classes, ages and ethnicities which makes this story interesting and more realistic.
Story-wise, I thought Skulk was amazing and original! It has action, suspense, and some scary and creepy parts. At first I was a little confused as to Ms. Best’s choices for the shapeshifters: the Skulk are foxes, the Rabble are butterflies, the Conspiracy are ravens, the Horde are rats, and the Cluster are spiders. I found it strange that she selected foxes since I thought it would be odd seeing a fox run around the city (wouldn’t a dog or a cat be more inconspicuous?). But as the groups interact with each other I forgot about what was more logical and I couldn’t help but smile at the whimsical image of a fox speaking to a butterfly. But there were some parts I found confusing. Since each shapeshifter group has 6 members I thought it was a little confusing to keep track of who each person was. But overall this is a great story!
I highly recommend Skulk and I can’t wait for the sequel!