Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead

Kit Livingston's great-grandfather appears in a deserted alley during a tumultuous storm. He reveals an unbelievable story: ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legend or the weekend hobby of deluded cranks—they're pathways to other worlds. To those who know how to use them, ley lines grant the ability to travel the multi-layered universe of which we ordinarily inhabit only a tiny part.

Well, I should've known this would be a unique book as soon as I saw that the description used the term, "the stuff of legend." There is no way anyone in their right mind would use a term like that in their book description. Okay, maybe they would, because they would need to be in their right mind if they were to write a book as... interesting as The Skin Map was.

The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead is the story of three people. Or should I say, it is three stories, each with their own character, and only connected in subtle ways. One story follows Kit Livingstone, a very confused man who is not in his own world. The second story follows Wilhelmina Klug, a very confused woman who is not in her own world. Kit and Mina were very close at one time, but then were separated into different worlds and lost. The third story follows Arthur Flinders-Petrie, the man who created the legendary "skin map", and who also died a long time ago.

The Skin Map isn't a bad book, it's just filled to the rim with plot holes. It's obviously a British novel, as a lot of it takes place in London, and it has British spelling rather than American. It is one of those books that starts each chapter name with, "In which...," which is very annoying, in my opinion. Not only is it not necessary, but it sometimes gives away spoilers.

The book was long and, to tell the truth, boring at many parts. Through the entirety it felt as if the whole, long book was only leading up to where the story actually began. This was confirmed, as it seemed like the story just finally began in the last few chapters. Too bad for me, I need to wait until the second book comes out (The Bone House, coming in September) to see what the story actually turns into.

In short, the book was long, boring, and hard to get through. It was filled with plot holes, but every once in a while there were some really cool parts. The very end was good, but that was because the entire rest of the book simply led up to it. Three storylines, later turning into four, all started merging at the end... but then, you know, the book ended. It wasn't all that well written, either.

Would I recommend this book? Well, I can't tell you that until I've read the sequel. The Skin Map leads up to it in a way that I doubt someone who started the series with the second book would understand. So if The Bone House is good, then yes, I would recommend The Skin Map.

The Skin Map was publicly released on September 1, 2010, but was re-released for paperback on May 31, 2011.
This book was sent to me for free from Thomas Nelson Publishing. http://www.BookSneeze.com/

For any of my readers who are Facebook friends with me, I wrote a document talking about some of the major plot holes in The Skin Map. If I knew how to change the settings so that everyone, not only Facebook friends, could read it, I would. The document can be found here.

Reuben Horst

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