Skin Taker is the second book in the new Wolf Brother series, and is another masterpiece: powerful, riveting, and breath-taking. I was completely captured from the opening pages which immediately drew me back into this richly-drawn and evocative Stone Age world, taking me on an unforgettable and gripping epic adventure.
Disaster strikes the Forest when a cataclysmic event, which the Clans call ‘Thunderstar’, decimates its people and land. With the devastation caused by the Thunderstar, the Great Forest is in danger of dying. Torak, Renn and Wolf find themselves in a race against time to save the Forest, a venture that will see them pushed to the edge of their endurance as they face danger, betrayal and a vindictive evil that threatens the lives and souls of the Forest and the Clans.
I was on a knife-edge as I devoured this story; the tension and sense of foreboding is palpable as the story unfolds; as Torak, Renn and Wolf make terrifying discoveries, as they confront their fears, and strive to survive and protect each other in the midst of great upheaval.
The world-building is exceptional, giving a fascinating insight into the lives of the Stone Age Clans: their lifestyle, customs and belief system, and their affinity with the world around them. I found the metamorphosis of some of the separate Clans into an amalgamation of Chosen Ones through the manipulation of an evil presence both terrifying and absorbing. The destruction caused to the forest is heart-breaking, not only as it causes imbalance in nature, but also as it threatens the essence of the Clans.
The prevalence of the supernatural throughout was at times stirring and at others frightening. I found the Clan belief system compelling with its affinity to animal spirits, belief in demons and in protecting the dead. The Clans have a depth of reverence for their spirit animals and respect these animals in their day-to-day life. I was intrigued by the way others exploit these beliefs for very different purposes.
Torak and Renn are incredible characters who have certainly found their way into my heart. They are mates who have a deep bond, but a bond that is tested by the impact of the destruction of the Forest. Torak, a spirit-walker, is changed by the event and has a darkness within him that leads to fractious exchanges, but never enough to sever their bond. The strength, courage and resilience that they show, and their first instinct to protect each other, is genuinely moving. Torak is prepared to put his life and souls at risk in order to save those he loves whilst Renn fights for him, using all her ingenuity and Mage powers, to save him from great evil, and from losing himself in the spirit world.
The connection between Wolf and his pack-brother Torak is just beautiful with each caring so deeply for the other that they sometimes feel their loyalty to others torn.
Skin Taker is an astounding, action-packed adventure: a tense, emotive and mesmerising fight for survival amidst the chaos of natural and supernatural destructive forces that absolutely held me enthralled from start to finish.
Thank you so much to ed public relations and Zephyr Books for inviting me to be part of the Blog Tour for this absolutely stunning book and for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
Skin Taker by Michelle Paver is published 1st April 2021, published by Zephyr, an imprint of Head of Zeus, price £12.99 in hardback.
Do check out the rest of the Tour: