Wednesday, June 27, 2018
A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge
No one is more surprised than me to find that I was able to give this book three stars. No less than four friends - FOUR! - put this book down fairly early into it and another friend only gave it a two star rating. If it weren't for the fact that it has been nominated for a reading program and that I wanted to have read it in order to be able to vote against it, I never would've even picked it up in the first place. As the book went on I found myself mentally raising my rating until by the end I was up to three. However, the beginning of the book is much too artsy and slow and I can't think of the student I would hand this to who would be delighted with it. Not only is there WAAAAAAYYYY too much lead in to get to the really evil family and ghosts, it is historical fiction set in the 1600s with an English civil war pitting the king against Parliament. It's like the author was looking for the the things teens care the least about. Also, the daily life of a kitchen wench at that time. Finally, though, we learn exactly what the Fellmottes are up to and why Makepeace is there. From that point on, the book picks up speed with nasty ghosts, possession, aliases, betrayals, and spying. There are also the ghosts Makepeace takes in willingly who help her through all of those other issues along with the ghost of a bear she had accidentally acquired earlier.Watching her work her way out of so many seemingly dead end situations with the help of her spirit companions was fun and I eventually just skipped over the boring war sections to keep the action moving. So, the last half or so was not a bad page turner but getting to that point kills any interest from all but the most dedicated readers.