The Skin by JE Hannaford

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I am coming out of my reading slump y’all! This book helped me along the way since it was something fairly different from what I’ve read previously. I read a lot of books, so when I happen upon a book that does something I haven’t seen before, it definitely makes it stand out.

So, the world-building is what made this more unique, (and the type of POV we had — which was a selkie). I’ve heard of selkies, but when it comes to the books I’ve read, they’re usually off in the background, rarely getting any page time. Here though, they get an abundance of page time considering selkies are our main POVs. The themes of humans being awful and buying/trading mythical creatures is nothing new, but the juxtaposition between a post-apocalyptic world and an ocean-based mythos system was something I hadn’t seen done.

It makes a lot of sense, the Earth heats up, fucks over the humans, it becomes a water planet even more than it already is, and so the Selkies and Sirens thought they’d have rule of the planet… but humans suck and so they the richest of the bunch have been capturing “Old Ones” and displaying them in their private collections. The problem with this is the Earth needs the Old Ones to keep it’s magic stable, without the Old Ones, the Earth is doomed to die. So, our main POVs set out on an adventure to find and free lost Old Ones to keep the planet from dying.

There’s a notable style to the prose and a strong voice the author has cultivated. The prose can get very descriptive and in some places, more flourishing. There was a definite theme with the word use/choice and metaphors were all related to the sea or water. I’m not really a fan of seafood, and I’m a very “sense” sensitive reader — and what I mean by that is I can hear/smell/taste things vaguely as I read. The crunchy squishy scenes where she eats live/raw seafood made me squirm a bit, lol. However, that does mean there are effective prose in place to make me squirm at all. This is actually a compliment of a well written scene.

I felt that the pacing was pretty solid, there were just a couple times where I felt a mild drag, but mostly plot points and tidbits of info were placed in a way that kept me reading steadily from start to finish. I did feel like the ending was wrapped up a little too easily, but that’s better than it not making sense or being cut off and left for the next book. The world building was mostly natural, with just a few mini info dumps here and there, but they were spaced out and didn’t bother me too much.

As far as the audiobook though, unfortunately I didn’t gel with the performer. She has a softer voice without a ton of vocal range, and at points it was almost like she was whisper-speaking if that makes sense. It sounds kind of story-tellery, but I tend to zone out for those kinds of audios. I kind of had to force myself to pay attention more than normal at the start. I tend to be someone who needs a narrator that’s really animated and attention getting so I don’t drift off — some people will find that style jarring, so it’s really very subjective.

Overall, I really liked this and will look for more works by this author!


  • Plot: 11/15
  • Characters: 11/15
  • World Building: 12.5/15
  • Writing: 12/15
  • Pacing: 11/15
  • Originality: 12.5/15
  • Enjoyment: 7.5/10

Final score: 77.5/100