Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Review: In the Skin of a Monster by Kathryn Barker

In the Skin of a Monster
Behind 304 Pages
Released: August 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
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At the Other End:
What if your identical twin sister was a murderer? Does that make you a monster too?

Caught in a dreamscape, mistaken for a killer ... will Alice find a way home?

Three years ago, Alice's identical twin sister took a gun to school and killed seven innocent kids; now Alice wears the same face as a monster. She's struggling with her identity, and with life in the small Australian town where everyone was touched by the tragedy. Just as Alice thinks things can't get much worse, she encounters her sister on a deserted highway. But all is not what it seems, and Alice soon discovers that she has stepped into a different reality, a dream world, where she's trapped with the nightmares of everyone in the community. Here Alice is forced to confront the true impact of everything that happened the day her twin sister took a gun to school ... and to reveal her own secret to the boy who hates her most.

Kathryn Barker was born in Canberra, but growing up there involved plenty of travel. She started primary school in Tokyo (the only kid with a sandwich in her lunchbox) and finished high school in the woods outside Olympia, Washington State (aka that rainy place where Twilight was set). In the years that followed she went to university, became a lawyer, changed her mind, re-trained as a film producer and worked in television. Kathryn currently lives in Sydney with her family, and In the Skin of a Monster is her first novel.

Find Kathryn:

Website  |  Goodreads  |  Facebook
A stunning and raw debut that proves that there are still original stories to be told. This exceptional book was one of them, with its mix of a contemporary and paranormal plot, with a dash of romance.

I was really surprised with this book. It was brilliant and it was completely unpredictable. Because of its original story line I couldn't predict anything that could have happened or what did actually happen. I felt completely blind the entire time, and I was getting really impatient just waiting for all my questions to be answered because another part of this book is the mystery behind it all. Not just about in the Dreamscape but in the normal world too. We never really know what happens that day three years ago with Alice's sister, it gets revealed to us slowly like we already knew about it. Technically, because the book is like a journal to her sister Alice assumes we do, but eventually we find out about a whole heap of things and the end just makes the book bigger and better.

The only part about this book that let it down for me was the fact that we never actually find out what Alice's twins name is. I know it shouldn't be that important, but after reading this book and not knowing her name I feel a bit short of really finishing the story. The other thing (it's only because of me) was how confusing I felt when the Alice entered the Dreamscape. I'm pretty sure it's just me because I was reading this bit at work on lunch.

I'm happy that Alice acknowledges what's wrong with her after that day, she finds herself in the Dreamscape and it's enough to help her fix reality for herself and for the town as well. She becomes a better person after the Dreamscape and we get to see her change and be more comfortable in her own skin. She moves on from letting her twin sister define her to become her own person, and it's amazing to see unfold.

The voice is a bit different that what I've seen lately. The book is kind of like Alice's journal to her sister about how she has grown and her experiences after that day. After you finish you realize how much this style of voice suits this book, and it just further proves that this is one original book. It's great to say that because honestly, there are hardly any completely original books out there now. Everything is now a mix of this or a hint of that, and with this book I can't think of anything that it's similar to. It has a bit of everything to suit both contemporary fans and paranormal fans alike.

The ending was brilliant. It told us everything that we needed to know, and it also provided a outlook for what things are now going to be like in reality and in the Dreamscape. I really hope that this book gets the justice it deserves and that everyone should get their hands on it. It's a must buy and a book that I'll remember for a long time.

This novel was received for review via Allen & Unwin. This review is entirely my own, no bribery or any deals have been made to sway this review or change my personal opinion of the novel.

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