Sunday, April 24, 2011

Invasion of the body snatchers! REVIEW of "Skin Thief" by Sonnet O'Dell

Skin ThiefWhy this book?: Author asked for a review, and I really enjoyed the previous book in this series, "Lost Innocents" (click the title to find my review). This is the third book in the Cassandra Fairbanks series. You can purchase this "Skin Thief" here.

Disclaimer: The author sent me a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

Type: Series, Paranormal Investigator, Witches, Police Investigation, Paranormal Mystery, Urban Fantasy

Book Description: Deciding to put her recently discovered magical powers to use, Cassandra Farbanks has started her own Paranormal Investigation business, and now she’s handling her first official case.

A prison inmate has used a magic amulet to escape his incarceration and seek a bloody revenge on his enemies. But what is his true purpose, and what’s the connection between the victims? It's up to Cassandra to find out. Cassandra is desperate to track and stop him whilst trying to juggle a deteriorating relationship with her boyfriend, the half elf Magnus, and her bond to the vampire Aram.

Even as she finds her way to closing her first real case, Cassandra’s troubles aren't over. As she discovers, the magic of an amulet is too tempting for some—and it could ruin everything for Cassandra.
My Review: As with the previous novel in this series, I was reading along, mildly interested, and then suddenly the author hooks me, and the ending shocks me with its cleverness. There is a lot of interesting character interaction, and each character is given their own little quirks - things that make them seem genuine and real. The way characters act and are described while together is part of the fun of a novel, and you get that in "Skin Thief." For example, while eating dinner together, Cassandra and Magnus play with each other, and make faces at one again - cute little things that just add to the story.

I will say that there are a lot of side characters to keep track of, and if you're new to the series, it's difficult to keep up with all the names. However, this issue is easily solved by reading the series in order, starting with book one. There are some series that allow readers to pop in and out whenever, but for the full effect of Cassandra, her powers, and her posse - be sure to read the whole thing. You won't regret it.

I find "Skin Thief" to be an interesting case - a mobster that gets ahold of a magical amulet, and uses it to pass from body to body. This makes the killer that much more elusive and harder to find, and the mystery that much deeper. This book also contained some great quotes and possibly one of my favorite descriptions of relationships and the people involved to date. I'm including it because I enjoyed it so much (and no worries, no spoilers!).
"Magnus was like earth, wholesome and natural - it came from the elf blood in his veins. It was dark elf blood, so sometimes I worried about him being more like oil, and with me being fire I was more often afraid I would burn him up. I had set him on fire once, but it hadn't been my plan to do so; sometimes when things get a little hot between us, they literally get a little hot.
Aram, on the other hand, was like air, which was bad and good in equal amounts. If I were only a small flame, like a candle on a birthday cake, a simple breath would be enough to put me out. If I was a smoldering flame, he could feed me, help me grow stronger, become more than I am. But he too ran the rick of the inferno, of being consumed by me." (pg 67)

As mentioned earlier, the ending caught me by surprise. I expected the case ending to be the end of the story, but Cassandra's journey certainly wasn't over, and the final climax of the book was emotionally painful and artfully done. I eagerly anticipate another book to see how Cassandra deals with the turmoil that happened between her and another character - you'll just have to read it yourself and find out what happens.

Recommendation: Fans of the early Anita Blake novels will really enjoy the Cassandra Fairbanks series. Really good urban fantasy that will keep you guessing. I strongly recommend reading the previous novels first.

Final Rating: FOUR POINT FIVE out of FIVE (4.5/5). Good urban fantasy with an ending I didn't expect.

Have you read "Skin Thief" or another novel by Sonnet O'Dell? Share your thoughts in the comments! Would you like to pick up a copy? Get it from the link at the top of the review, or at (available in print and ebook, I believe)!

Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda ~!~

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