ABOUT THE NOVEL:
Title: SKIN DEEP
Series: The DARKWORLD Series
Genre: Urban Fantasy - NA
Publication Date: 30th APRIL 2013
Format E-Book :
**** **** ****
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As a valkyrie-wanna-be at heart I of course loved Ayer's Valkyrie novel trilogy. So I did have some misgivings when I started her latest supernatural book but my fears proved weak as Ayer plunges you into the chaotic and secretive world of the skin walkers (aka shapeshifters). Not of the dog kind but of the feline kind and even then she surprises you with the other types such as foxes, cougars, lynx etc.
Then she introduces you to another secertive character who is a mage that works within the police force to keep these two versions of reality colliding and causing bloodshed. Yet it is bloodshed which leads these worlds to collide, interestingly neither the mages or the skin walkers are aware of each others existence; and this one mage and one skin walker don't seem able to detect the equal amounts of supernatural about the other. This personally irritated me a little bit but it was always forgotten when Ayer ignites quite literally the fiery passions between them which should ultimately have revealed a lot of magic to the panther skin walker Kalin but it only seems to confuse her about his feelings towards her. However this heated interaction proves to have devestating consequences when the reader learns more about the personal history of this particular mage.
Despite a series of kidnappings, mysterious drug use and murders filling at least one half of the book when that series of events reaches it dramatic conclusion it seems the reader isn't allowed a chance to breathe a sigh of relief. As Ayer has Kalin learn more secrets and charge into more danger, to do with the increase in Wraith attacks due to her acting as a secret Wraith hunter. These secrets to me felt too deliberate, staged almost, especially when they are presented to Kalin by the utterly elusive grandmother character. It does serve the purpose to lead Kalin to discover an even bigger secret in the form of one character who is mentioned a lot in the build up. But ultimately the reader nor Kalin for that matter is offered any reason or explanation as to why this particular character is located in the particular area they were found. Nor at the very end when a lot of relationships have been rebuilt or started does Kalin actually reflect on one other important character who is trapped in the same place as afore mentioned character.
Ultimately though the plot is full of twists, particularly demonstrated by the switching points of narration, from one person in the form of Kalin and third person when told from the mage's point of view. There are of course clan politics when dealing with animal based characters which are portrayed nicely and not stereotypically with the felines showing they have as much inner strength and power as the wolves. Kalin does show some of the expected mouthy, independent, rebel qualities of a young woman standing on her own but she also shows some vulnerability in body and spirit especially in the many battles she gets caught up in and when her friends and family prove to be in danger. The characters are intriguing and entertaining and there is always something happening in each chapter propelling the reader forward through to the end leaving them breahtless and perhaps asking for more. It's a good book that is a blend of urban fantasy, crime thriller and supernatural battles with a dash of romance thrown in.
**** **** ****
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I have been a writer from the time I was old enough to recognise that reading was a doorway into my imagination. Poetry was my first foray into the art of the written word. Books were my best friends, my escape, my haven. I am essentially a recluse but this part of my personality is impossible to practise given I have two teenage daughters, who are actually my friends, my tea-makers, my confidantes… I am blessed with a husband who has left me for golf. It’s a fair trade as I have left him for writing. We are both passionate supporters of each other's loves – it works wonderfully…
My heart is currently broken in two. One half resides in South Africa where my old roots still remain, and my heart still longs for the endless beaches and the smell of moist soil after a summer downpour. My love for Ma Afrika will never fade. The other half of me has been transplanted to the Land of the Long White Cloud. The land of the Taniwha, beautiful Maraes, and volcanoes. The land of green, pure beauty that truly inspires. And because I am so torn between these two lands – I shall forever remain cross-eyed.