Today I have a spoiler-free review of Skin by Ilka Tampke for you! I had high expectations going into this book, and thankfully I was not disappointed! It follows Ailia, a girl without ‘skin’ in 43 AD Celtic Britain and is such a unique and cleverly written story.
Skin by Ilka Tampke
- UK paperback – 356 pages.
- Release date: 25th February 2015
- Published by Hodder & Stoughton
- ISBN: 9781472616431
- Goodreads page for Skin here!
In this book, a person’s Skin is like a totem which they have depending on what their family has, for example a dog or a salmon. No one know’s who the main character Ailia’s parents are so she is without skin, and not allowed to be educated or marry. I was a little unsure about the ‘skin’ at the start of the book, but everything is soon explained.
I really loved the way Tampke wove this idea of ‘skin’ into her version of ancient Celtic tribes in Britain, weaving in magic throughout the story. The world-building was great and I was surprised by how brutal and realistic the world was. The author did not shy away from the reality of how harsh and difficult life would have been back then, which made it a lot more exciting to read as anything could happen.
The story is told in first person by Ailia and I found that I really liked her storytelling. It was interesting that she was uneducated as that meant the reader was also clueless about much of the world, and learnt as she did. The character development, of both Ailia and the other characters in her village, was great throughout.
It’s clear that the author did a lot of research on Celtic Britain and ancient druids before writing this book, and that really helped the writing. Although there was a lot of magic woven into the story, I never felt like it was unrealistic or too far-fetched. The story was very clever, and full of twists and turns so I could never guess what was going to happen next!
I hope you enjoyed today’s post, I really recommend this book, especially if you are a fan of Juliet Marillier and Celtic stories!