You have what he wants! Reclusive nineteen-year-old Rosie Shields hopes for a new lease of life that will free her from the stigma of her debilitating skin condition. Making a pilgrimage to the Amazon rainforest, Rosie experiences a new world beyond her wildest dreams among the mysterious Myahueneca tribe. But Rosie's dreams soon turn to nightmares when she embarks on a ritual vision quest that takes her to the very heart of darkness. Trapped between murderous hunters and raging forest fires, Rosie will be thrust into a fight for survival, a struggle that awakens an ancient evil stirring in the shadows...the demonic deity known as The Skintaker.
Frazer Lee is a novelist, screenwriter, and filmmaker whose debut novel The Lamplighters was a Bram Stoker Award® Finalist. His film credits include the acclaimed feature film Panic Button. Frazer resides with his family in Buckinghamshire, just across the cemetery from the real-life Hammer House of Horror.
Childhood trauma starts this immense novel with a powerful, fiery opening. A phenomenon in horror fiction that is truly chilling. Frazer offers the reader so much more than a book, he guarantees an experience.
After a tragic accident that kills both of her parents, Rosie is left under the supervision of her aunt and uncle. But this is no fairytale, neither aunt nor uncle are loving, caring or generous. They are simply doing the Christian thing by taking her in. Rosie also suffers from a skin condition triggered by heat, and you sympathize greatly with her because of this. Especially when they head for the Amazon so her uncle can renovate a chapel and spread the word of God as far and wide as possible, Amazonians not being an exception. But neither of them have prepared for the tropical terror hidden in the Amazon.
A sensory experience as the author describes in great detail, using our five senses to produce a clear, powerful image in our mind. There is an expression that we don't need holidays or vacations, we just need the right book. In this case I have to agree. After reading this I won't need a vacation for a long time, I've experienced enough excitement. A blazing triumph for Frazer Lee as we are given a pure adrenaline rush.
The themes of religion and belief are constant in this novel. We take a look at traditional Christianity and delve into what the locals of the rainforest see as religion. Along with observing some traditions and rituals, which I found particularly entertaining.
The Amazon is great for culture and travelling as Rosie finds out, but it hides a dark secret in amongst the animals and sweltering heat, that goes beyond your wildest nightmares.
The characters and conflicts as a result of opposing opinions are entertaining enough. But then you add in the skintaker and it makes an outstanding tale and buts the F in fright. An excellent mix of characters. A missionary and his wife. Rosie whose battling a skin condition as well as her complicated relationship with her guardians and their strong wills and firm beliefs. A professor with a keen interest in cinematography, and a bunch of tribesmen. Not exactly your everyday run of the mill group is it? They are bound to have contrasting attitudes and theories. But as they say, seeing is believing. So when they see an unexplainable entity, how can they deny its existence? They have no choice but to admit defeat and be justly terrified.
The sensory descriptions help you feel actively involved in the story. The unbearable heat, the chirps and squawks of various wildlife, the taste of something so simple yet so vital as water, the epic colourful scenery, and smell of green life. Lee Frazer really wants to make the reader more of a passenger than distant observer. Bountiful amounts of research have birthed this Amazonian creation of literature. If you really want to engage actively in this voyage, might I suggest listening to rainforest music whilst reading? I was unable to pry my fingers away from this read. Gripping and captivating. Frazer has a real gift for building atmospheres and tension. He captures what few authors can and evolves a scene remarkably, creating anticipation before the action commences. Lee is an author that delivers in more ways than one!
A powerful novel for the keen reader or those partial to travel or scares. There are no dreary or pointless pages. Every word, page, and chapter is essential to the story and keeps the momentum going. Suspense flows through this book like electricity. It takes an incredibly talented author to make a reader love or hate a character, but Frazer accomplishes this. The ending is fantastic! No matter how often you read you'll never see the conclusion coming, you won't be able to predict how everything will end. I declare Frazer Lee the 'master of surprises'. I was satisfied with the ending and it felt like a natural end to the story, but yet I craved to read more.
I had high hopes for this book, being a horror fan. But there are so many types of horror, that horror is not just horror. Confusing right? Yup.
It took me AGES to finish this book, for the first half I started it in January and would read a few pages, put it down, read another book and try again, it was not until past the halfway mark that it perked my interest and then I finished it in a few hours.
It was like two different books, in my opinion, the slow build up is way too slow and will bore many readers away, this was nearly a book I did not finish because of the long and drawn out first half. I was wondering if it was listed in the wrong category or something, as most horror I read, you get a taste of the dark stuff pretty early to hook you in.
You have what he wants! Reclusive nineteen-year-old Rosie Shields hopes for a new lease of life that will freeher from the stigma of her debilitating skin condition. Making a pilgrimage to the Amazon rainforest, Rosie experiences a new world beyond her wildest dreams among the mysterious Myahueneca tribe.
But Rosie’s dreams soon turn to nightmares when she embarks on a ritual vision quest that takes her to the very heart of darkness. Trapped between murderous hunters and raging forest fires, Rosie will be thrust into a fight for survival, a struggle that awakens an ancient evil stirring in the shadows…the demonic deity known as The Skintaker.
Sounds really scary-wary right?
There is a lot of religious overtones in the book as essentially Rosie is travelling with her guardians who are her Aunt and Uncle to bring Jesus to this tribe in the middle of the Amazon, and they all have such high hopes. They are all quite hoity-toity for want of better words and believe they can educate the local people on how to worship a better God.
The book finally kicks into action when the tribe express they want shy Rosie to take part in one of their tribal rituals, surprisingly this goes ahead (not many Christians would allow such a thing), this sends Rosie on a journey enhanced by Peyote and the spirits of the tribe. It's quite fantastical and incredibly descriptive and finally the darker part of the book and begins to reveal itself (thank God).
From this point there is a lot of action, both in the real world and in the spiritual, it becomes a bit of a gore fest at one point with people ripping their own entrails out (suggest not eating spaghetti at that point) and what not to please the evil deity they worship.
I can't give away the big reveal but Annie plays a bit part of it and whilst some of it confused me as to what was truly going on I did think the last few chapters of the book were very powerfully written, extremely visual for the reader and a powerful stirrer of emotions.
I think at one point I felt sorry for the evil demonic Skintaker, as I got a glimpse into not only the why but one of his eyes.
It really is quite a spectacular finish that left me wondering what would become of certain characters and the strongest part of the book by far. I am not sure if the book had a lot of BETA readers or not but I do think the first half needs major editing or put more tasters in there of what is to come. It reads like a jolly jaunt in the jungle where the greatest thing to fear is mosquito bites.
The latter half of the book is very well done, and shows a talented author, I did wonder if someone else wrote the first half. I have to be honest. BUT I did think the finale, the imagery, the blending scenes to be quite astounding (even if I was a little confused here and there).
One of the best scenes in the book involves the dear Professor, so close to Rosie's heart and how close she gets to is. Very powerful scene. (Readers will know the one).
This would have been 4 stars easily but for the first half of the book dragging on so much I did not want to pick it up, that's rare for me as I usually commit but I am glad I didn't miss the end result and would taste of more of Frazer Lee's writing to compare.
Many thanks to the author and publisher for my ARC of this novel in exchange for a review.
Many thanks to Maxine from Booklover Catlady Publicity & reviews and the author as I won an e copy of this novel in a give away on her Facebook page.
The Skintaker is essentially a horror novel but I have to admit that probably the first half of the novel felt more like a work of contemporary fiction and the second half was definitely horror.
Don't get me wrong I did actually enjoy how the story starts off with the tragic fire that leaves Rosie's parents dead and the journey she sets off on with her uncle and aunt on a pilgrimage to the Amazon rainforest, for me it just left me feeling slightly confused as to what genre the novel actually was. Obviously when I got to the second half I was in no doubt that it was a horror one.
For me this is where the story really started to pick up pace and got a whole lot more interesting.
Poor Rosie certainly hasn't had it easy since the death of her parents. Even though she is getting to travel and see wonderful new things, she still has to put up with a strict aunt and a preacher for an uncle. The tribe that they discover on their travels on the surface is a joy of delight for Rosie and she enjoys discovering these new people and how they go about their day to day routines. Unfortunately deep in the woods there is something quite evil lurking there which causes chaos in the small tribal village.
The second half certainly gets a lot more scary, with some parts that really made me cringe as they were quite horrific. The author certainly manages to get the horror of what is happening to the victims across to the readers and some images were quite vivid in my mind.
Overall The Skintaker is an enjoyable read and would certainly read more by the author.
Reclusive nineteen-year-old Rosie Shields hopes for a new lease of life that will free her from the stigma of her debilitating skin condition. Making a pilgrimage to the Amazon rainforest, Rosie experiences a new world beyond her wildest dreams among the mysterious Myahueneca tribe. But Rosie’s dreams soon turn to nightmares when she embarks on a ritual vision quest that takes her to the very heart of darkness. Trapped between murderous hunters and raging forest fires, Rosie will be thrust into a fight for survival, a struggle that awakens an ancient evil stirring in the shadows…the demonic deity known as The Skintaker.
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this book.
I loved this book!! Filled with fabulous descriptions and fully formed characters I devoured The Skintaker in one sitting. Set at the turn of the century, Rosie is a timid young woman trying to figure out her place in the world. Afflicted with a skin condition that makes fitting in with society hard until her missionary Uncle takes the family to South America were she is revered by the local tribe, and their God/bogeyman, because of it. This leads to some pulse-pounding action and terror. At times I felt as if I was right there beside Rosie and Nimbo, running for their lives through the burning rainforest. I didn't want the adventure to end! This was my first novel by Frazer Lee but it definitely won't be my last! If you're looking for a great read, grab this 5 star book and hold on for the ride.
Frazer Lee knows a thing or two about pacing, he knows more than a thing or two about characterization and allowing a plot to develop at a deceptively – almost gentle – pace, with a few short, sharp shocks to keep you on your toes and to ensure you become hooked and intrigued. Then he hits you with the full force of his story.
That is the way with The Skintaker. The main character, Rosie, has had a pretty rough childhood. Orphaned in a terrible fire from which she was rescued by her uncle – a missionary zealot. A few years later, he is determined to bring Christianity, along with his wife and niece, to the Amazonian rainforest where, by one means or another, he will tame the local ‘tribe’.
Rosie and her uncle and aunt have a difficult relationship at best, and the way the author handles this – along with the events that follow, is masterly. The Skintaker himself is a frightening, yet wholly three dimensional character, and the horror that ensues is, as might be anticipated from the title, sometimes gory, but never gratuitously so. Rosie is an intriguing, complex character, with a satisfying and credible mix of emotional responses to the incredible things she witnesses and experiences. The whole story works and the twists and turns kept me glued to the end – which is unexpected and, for a horror reader, ultimately rewarding. Heartily recommended.
In the waning of the second decade of the 20th century, a young Ohio farm girl is horribly disfigured in the house fire which kills her parents. Adopted by her pastor uncle and aunt, she travels with them, to the Amazon rainforest, where Uncle Gregory plans to bring the gospel to the indigenous tribes. The tribe, however, worship a brutal demigod, the Skintaker. Nothing that follows could possibly be expected; but fans of extreme horror will find it all very satisfying, as author Frazer Lee paints his narrative so vividly.
A delightfully, gory tale that presents the slow building burn of horror through the tale of Rosie and the horrors she becomes exposed to. Her character's evolution is enchanting and full of sticky, gritty moments that come back to shape her choices and progression. The tale of the Skintaker is only one of the many interactions that come to shape how this protagonist changes from start to finish. A truly gripping read that presents some fleshy moments impossible to scrub from the mind.
Frazer Lee's The Skintaker is a phenomenally ambitious, yet challenging adventure/horror hybrid. While low on horror content for the first three-quarters of the book, it remains a thoroughly engrossing adventure addressing the darkness within humanity and other lofty issues. But the last third, Lee lets his horror flag fly. Some of the narrative arc didn't quite gel for me, the pacing seeming a little off (hence my four star review). But I don't really care as Lee's writing is stellar, at times exquisite. If you're up for a different type of horror novel, I highly recommend The Skintaker.