Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Book Review (ARC): Skin; Ilka Tampke.

I read this book in preparation for an exciting event at the end of the month that I can say nothing about right now, but I'm very much looking forward to. Aside from that, it had been so long since I had last read Historical Fiction that I was relishing the opportunity to read a story from the past. Luckily, this did not disappoint. The author, Ilka Tampke, is actually originally from (and currently living in) Australia. This fits nicely with this month's Motif, 'Take A Trip'.

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Skin
AUTHOR: Ilka Tampke
SERIES: Song Of The Kendra (#1)
PUBLISHER: Hodder
PAGES: 356
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Adult

RATING: 4/5 Stars

Blurb:
For the people of Caer Cad, 'skin' is their totem, their greeting, their ancestors, their land.

Ailia does not have skin. Abandoned at birth, she serves the Tribequeen of her township. Ailia is not permitted to marry, excluded from tribal ceremonies and, most devastatingly, forbidden to learn. But the Mothers, the tribal ancestors, have chosen her for another path.

Lured by the beautiful and enigmatic Taliesin, Ailia embarks on an unsanctioned journey to attain the knowledge that will protect her people from the most terrifying invaders they have ever faced.

What I Liked:
  • World-building, particularly in historical fiction, is a vital aspect of the novel and I found that Tampke did a really good job with this one. I don't have an awful lot of knowledge on Britain's tribes during the Iron Age but I feel like I learned a lot from this book, particularly concerning their beliefs and lifestyle. My favourite thing about ancient Historical Fiction is that it will often read like Fantasy, with input from folk-tales, religious beliefs and Gods/Goddesses. This book was no different, and it really added to the plot.
  • The characters were really likeable in this book. The heroine, Ailia, had a lot of spirit in her which is refreshing to read from a female perspective. Her ferocity, independence and passion kept her as a believable, relatable narrator. I liked the relationship between her and Taliesin, and even with Ruther too, because it was the kind of love triangle that wasn't there just to be a plot device. In fact, it aided the plot! Other characters impressed me too, Heka being the most enigmatic who I couldn't decide whether I pitied or hated.
What I Disliked:
  • This book did take a little while to get going, I'll be honest. I had no real idea in which direction the plot was actually going at first, and it came across as just a sequence of events that had very little structure to them. About halfway through it really picked up though, and the plot as a whole was a good one. I just wish it had taken a little less time to get to the point.
Overall Conclusion:
This book really did impress me, and I'm so glad that despite a slow start I stuck with it to the end. The world-building really gave me an in-depth look into Britain at the time and I really found it interesting. The characters too were likeable, and their interactions were really well written. The ending hinted at a sequel and I'm really hoping for one because I really need to know what happens next!