Publisher: Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry/Osprey
Publishing Date: September 2013
Publisher Description: While out tagging one night, Meg witnesses the dying moments of a fox… a fox that shapeshifts into a man. As he dies, he gives Meg a beautiful and mysterious gemstone. It isn’t long before Meg realises that she’s also inherited his power to shift and finds an incredible new freedom in fox form.
I really liked this novel. Great character development, solid story line and inventive prose. You really feel for Meg in all her chubby angst. Her mom embodies the ire of a wicked step mother along with an invisible father and back stabbing house maid. Reviewers complained that the character development was weak, but I attribute that to the novels length vs. the developing subject matter that was a bit compressed. I really like how the thoughts of a human inside an animal translated into expression. The foxes head butting each other etc. was inventive. There were some subject flaws. Foxes do not have retractable claws that they hide in sheaths. Only cats do. There were repeated referents to unsheathing or sheathing claws. Minor, but there.
Due to the shorter length of the novel in which to purvey the story line, the author sets up a sequel. I think this would have been a good stand alone novel with some story line changes and a well developed culmination. As it is, another novel to complete the saga may have to be stretched and edited with filler (internal dialogue). Hopefully the author keeps the action and adventure persistent.
The author loves the cover art symbol. The cover art was weak whereas the 6 people walking in a tunnel ruins the symbols effectiveness. Just keep the Skulk logo, emboss it and your done. Any subsequent novels get the same treatment but in a different color and slight change to the design to include the other shifter groups since Meg is the metashifter.
I gave this a solid 4.0. I had originally made a scathing review on the publisher, mainly due to their lack of following through on free source material for established reviewers that meet their criteria. My bitching must have paid off, as the novel(s) I had previously requested, arrived. Perhaps they are so inundated with requests, that it is hard to keep track of it all.
Buy this novel with confidence in hopes that the sequels deliver in good measure.