Skulk by Rosie Best

Just finished reading Skulk by Rosie Best which was a good, entertaining read.

Skulk is the tale of Meg (Margaret to her mother) who whilst out late one night encounters a wounded fox.  Unbelievably the fox shifts to become a man, equally as injured as the fox.  In the man’s dying moments he hand’s meg a strange precious stone.  Little does Meg know that she has received much more.

The story starts with Meg sneaking out of her bedroom window at night.  At first you think she’s going to a party and indeed this opinion is reinforced as she almost bumps into her two friends all glitzed up for a night on the tiles.  But Meg is virtually unrecognisable in her hoodie and passes on without being seen.  Meg is a graffiti artist and on the above night  in question is about to create what she thinks of as a masterpiece – on her school’s walls.   However, her plans go somewhat awry after the arrival of the fox and with a naked dead man now on the scene she is forced to flee home.  A few days later Meg is the victim of a mugging but as the would be thieves are about their business Meg herself, full of adrenaline and fear changes into a fox – her attackers are a little surprised to say the least and take off.  From there onwards all sorts of strangeness occurs.  Spiders, red eyed pigeons and even crows seem to take an unhealthy interest in Meg and her comings and goings.  Basically the author has come up with a new (to me at least) world of protectors, five sets of shifters, butterflies (I know!), foxes, spiders, crows and rats.  Each group has six shifters, no more no less.  I won’t go too much more into the whole workings, whys and wherefores as I think it is best revealed during the story.

Now, firstly, I enjoyed this.  It’s an entertaining read, I felt like it was fairly original (and yes, I’ve read about shifters before but this seemed quite a unique concept so far I believe).  What I really liked is that the author has stepped outside of the realms of normality in terms of her main protagonist, particularly in terms of the YA genre.  Meg isn’t perfect.  She’s from a very wealthy, some would consider privileged background, but behind closed doors a different story is revealed with a very controlling and abusive mother who expects nothing less than perfection and a father who is apparently ignorant of what is going on in is own home, or worse, chooses not to care.  That aside Meg’s not a perfect size zero or absolutely gorgeous.  Frankly, she’s normal.  She has a normal figure, maybe a little plump(ish) and a pretty if not outstanding face.  What a breath of fresh air is that!   In terms of her school life – she’s not a super bitch but equally she’s not without friends or the victim of bullying.  She isn’t the object of attention of the most gorgeous boy in the school and – oh well, I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this!

So, onto my niggles!  I think my main niggle with the story was how quickly Meg adapted to everything and the fact that nothing ever phased her.  In general, I liked her character, she’s quite unassuming, she cares about people and even though her family are far from ideal – they’re still her family –  but I think she needed a lot more emotional development.  She was far too complacent about the extraordinary things that were taking place around her.  See a fox turn into a man – yep, no biggie there!  I would probably have ran like an athlete off that school property, not be standing around waiting to see what happens next.  Okay, so maybe I’m a wimp – but just supposing I stuck around to listen to the naked dying guy’s final words and let him pass me what was probably a priceless gem (okay maybe I should stick around more often in these situations) – I still think watching a person die might dwell on the mind a little bit.  Not to mention turning into a fox – whilst being mugged!  Come on, I needed a bit more emotional depth with these bits – surely you would be panicking a little if you were changing into an animal?  No pain.  No confusion.  That’s all I’m saying.  On the reverse side of course I can see that Meg had a very unhappy home life and was so overwhelmingly happy to enter a world that was new to her that she seemed about ready to accept anything.

I think on the whole that sums up my niggles – the emotional aspects of the story need a little bit more input.  I realise I’m not the target audience for this of course so I could be wrong but I wanted a bit more range from Meg.

Otherwise this was a fun read.  I never felt the need to put the book down.  I was at no time bored with the story and it was fairly quick paced.  I think the target audience will love this and I will probably read the 2nd book just to see how Meg adapts.

I received a copy of Skulk through Netgalley.  This review is my own opinion.

I am submitting this as part of Stainless Steel Dropping’s  RIP event.  Details here.

3 Responses to “Skulk by Rosie Best”

  1. TBM

    I think Meg’s quick acceptance would surprise me. Maybe that’s because I’m a skeptic about everything.

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah! Not to mention if you were turning into a fox I think you would be panicking a smiddgen – after all what if it turns out that you cant turn back!
      Lynn 😀

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