Friday, September 27, 2013

ARC Review: Skulk by Rosie Best

Title: Skulk
Author: Rosie Best
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Release Date: 1st October, 2013
Source: Strange Chemistry. Thank you!
Goodreads | The Reading Room

When Meg witnesses the dying moments of a shapeshifting fox and is given a beautiful and powerful stone, her life changes forever. She is plunged into the dark world of the Skulk, a group of shapeshifting foxes.

As she learns about the other groups of shapeshifters that lurk around London – the Rabble, the Horde, the Cluster and the Conspiracy – she becomes aware of a deadly threat against all the shapeshifters. They must put aside all their enmity and hostility and fight together to defeat it.

Review by Nara

Basically, when I first heard about this book being about shapeshifting foxes, I was like *grabby hands*. I love foxes, and shapeshifting foxes? Gimme, gimme, gimme!! However, the book wasn't really what I expected. I'm going to say that overall, it was a very...shall we say "safe" read. By which I mean it was a very predictable read. I still did enjoy the book though. It was engaging enough, and quite action packed.

For some reason, the entire time I was reading, there seemed to be some sort of plothole that I couldn't quite put my finger on- the rules of the shapeshifting somehow didn't seem quite sound. I'm probably being a bit vague right now, but it's hard to define properly- there just seemed to be some lacking in the explanations about how the shapeshifting came about, and how it was passed on and such. Also, I was thinking fair enough for shapeshifting foxes, rats and ravens. But one of the other two groups were spiders. SPIDERS. Seriously, man? That would be the worst. What if you're in spider form and someone brings out the ole rolled up magazine?? And the last group of shapeshifters were butterflies. BUTTERFLIES?! That is the freaking most useless thing ever. They're not even fast. What the heck could you do as a freaking butterfly??

And the stones. Basically, each of the five shapeshifting clans (is that even the right term for them? Can't actually remember lol) had a stone of power that they have to protect. I really wasn't convinced about the idea of these. Why does no one really know what they do? Why is there some idiot in basically every clan that seems to think it's a good idea to casually sell off the stone?? Seriously, when they were first inducted, did they not get some sort of speech about how freaking important the stones were?? Surely as a shapeshifter, you'd tell all the other shapeshifters in your clan all the necessary knowledge in order to make sure that you can properly protect the stones! But nope, apparently, for some unknown reason, all the knowledge has been lost. Seems sketchy to me.

I quite liked the characters. They were somewhat stereotypical, I guess, but still interesting enough. And while Mo's identity was totally predictable (not even going to explain who he is, except that he's the love interest, because I don't want to possibly spoil it for people who haven't read the novel- although I guess most people would easily guess it) I did like the interactions he had with Meg. I guess I should say that on the whole, I did like the characters, but I wasn't particularly wowed by any of them. None of them were particularly unique. And actually, I can't really remember much about most of the minor characters. Not even the ones that died.

While I wasn't completely convinced of the rules of the shapeshifting, and the power of the stones, I did like Skulk overall, and will probably read any sequels (I think there are going to be sequels...the ending didn't really seem that conclusive).

Liked it

Overall: 7/10
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 3/5


  1. Ugh... plot holes are annoying. But it sounds like you found enough to enjoy in the rest of the book. I'm not sure if this one is for me (shapeshifting spiders? Ewww!), but I can see that it might be appealing to other readers. Nice review!

    1. It was enjoyable overall, but I probably wouldn't reread it. It's quite likely that I'd read the sequel if I saw it at the library or something, but I wouldn't buy it.
      Yeah...shapeshifting spiders would be disgusting. *shudders*

  2. Oh sounds like such a bizarre and unique story! Haven't heard of this one before. Glad you ended up enjoying it. Great review!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    1. I think it's not that well known a title! It's from Strange Chemistry, and I think they're not that well known as an imprint.
      Thanks Jeann :)

  3. I was debating whether I should have requested this on NG so bad, but then finally, my TBR pile won out. Besides, I've never REALLY been into shapeshifting, but I know lots of people who are. *shrug* Glad you enjoyed this overall, though the predictability would probably get to me quite a bit.

    "there seemed to be some sort of plothole that I couldn't quite put my finger on- the rules of the shapeshifting somehow didn't seem quite sound." - Ugh, PLOT HOLES. I have to admit that I'm not THAT good at spotting them, but once I do, there's just no getting over 'em. And this is particularly disappointing, since shapeshifting is a huge part of the book.

    LOL about the spiders! Basically I hate anything with more than six legs (or anything without legs [fish included, though I like them with chips]), so it would be pretty darn unlucky for a shapeshifting spider to be in a house with me. Think about it, though - at least they aren't cockroaches. I mean, some people love and even collect arachnids. But cockroaches? No one likes them.

    "Why is there some idiot in basically every clan that seems to think it's a good idea to casually sell off the stone??" - MORE PLOT HOLES. This sounds way too convenient to me, especially since you mentioned that everyone was told how important these stones were. Gosh, having someone think that giving away the stones is a good idea is just a convenient way to introduce trouble. And we know trouble brings more drama. :/

    Surprisingly, I'm quite okay with stereotypical characters, but they have to be stereotypical for a reason. Not just because. Does that sound confusing? At least the characters weren't bitchy or totally unlikable, because I think that's even worse than unremarkable ones. And the main character's name is MEG?! Oh no! :(

    So... not sure if I'll be giving this book a try, because I'm STILL not that interested, and I don't think I'll be able to take the faults you pointed out. Hats off to you for being able to finish the book, though! I know - Meg = super impatient and picky. Bad habits I really need to try to change. Fab review, though!

    1. I like shapeshifting in general, but it was more so that there were foxes in it that I was like *requests* haha.

      Yeah, the shapeshifting was such a major aspect and the rules just weren't explained properly! I would have liked at least one of the characters to kind of know what's going on. I guess overall though, it wasn't necessary to explain the rules, it's just that I don't like there being too many loose ends!

      FISH AND CHIPS IS DELICIOUS! hahaha. But yeah, every time I see a spider I get out the old magazine/shoe/fly swatter, because that buddy's going down. I would feel so guilty if it turned out to be a person though lol. Ugh cockroaches. Or slugs. SLUGS WOULD BE DISGUSTING.

      I think it was Meg short for Margaret, not Megan haha. She wasn't particularly memorable though, I must admit. True, at least she's not a bitch!

      Thanks Meg :)

  4. Sounds like a lot of characters

    1. There weren't that many I don't think. Not compared to a lot of other books e.g. A Game of Thrones

  5. This sounds like a promising start to a new series. It is frustrating when the characters don't stand out though. But it is good to know that you're willing to read the sequel.

    1. Yeah, the characters weren't that memorable. But I feel like I still want to know what happens to them, so I probably would read the sequel :)