Reading level: Middle Grade/YA
Size: 512 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Stand Alone or Series: 3rd (and final) book in the Skinjacker Trilogy
Source: Audiobook from Audible.com
Rating: 4/5 stars
This is the third and final book in The Skinjacker Trilogy. It ends the series well and continues to be an extremely creative series that delves into interesting questions surrounding life and death. I listened to this on audio book and it was very well done.
Mary Hightower has been sent back to sleep as an Interlight, Allie is strapped to the front of Mary’s train, Mikey is on his way down to the center of the earth, and Nick (the chocolate ogre) has been blasted to pieces. This book starts out a little time after the second book ended. Things are falling apart; Allie wants to defeat Mary’s army of Afterlights in hopes of stopping Mary’s plan to destroy the living world but she is trapped on the train carrying Mary’s sleeping body. Some new characters are added to the fray; enter Jix an Afterlight sent to retrieve Mary by the King of the City of Souls and Clarence a skin-wraith that can extinguish Afterlights with just a touch.
There is a lot that happens in this book. The characters are all acting how they think is best, but they don’t know what the other characters are doing so there are a lot of twists and turns as their story threads come together. There are a number of things in this story that happen and you think, huh…what did that have to do with anything? In the end though everything in this story had a purpose to serve. Shusterman does an excellent job of creating a complicated story with numerous story threads that all come together nicely to create a well-thought out book.
The characters continue to be a mix of good and bad and are very human. Mary has decided that to save everyone she needs to destroy the living world; she is evil in her intent but her reasoning makes sense to her and this makes her surprisingly human. The same can be said of many of the characters. Ally is trying to save the living world, but in doing so ends up being just as ruthless as Mary in some cases. Mikey has tried to leave the monster part of himself behind, but can’t quite stop playing the monster. All of these characters are shades of grey and they are all doing what they think is best for humanity.
Jackin Jill plays a large role in this story, as does Jix an Afterlight that has taken on decidedly Jaguar features and is present at the request of the king of The City of Souls.
Shusterman pays a lot of attention to detail so all of the mechanics behind Afterlights and inanimate objects going over to Everlost are well explained and interesting to read about. This is a well thought out and very creative book. The book is tied up nicely and the epilogue ties up all of the characters loose threads.
At times it did seem like too much is happening, so it took the story a long time to spin itself out. Everything did happen for a reason, but some of the diversions the characters took (for example the whole Wurlitzer part) got a bit lengthy.
Overall fans of this series should find this book to be a very satisfying conclusion to the series. The plot is well done, the characters very life-like, and the world incredibly creative. There were a couple times that I thought side stories were drawn out too long; the characters all take very twisty paths to the final battle. I am in awe of Shusterman’s ability to think through the complexities of this world and in awe with his creativity. I will definitely be picking up some of Shusterman’s other books to read.