Everfound by Neal Shusterman
|Everfound by Neal Shusterman|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Final volume in the Skinjacker trilogy doesn't disappoint. Pacy, full of dark humour and moments of real pathos, it's both challenging and entertaining. Bookbag is rather sad that it's all over!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 512||Date: June 2011|
|Publisher: Simon & Schuster|
|External links: Author's website|
We rejoin the limbo world of Everlost for this final volume in Neal Shusterman's Skinjacker trilogy with Mary Hightower asleep and encased in a glass coffin, Allie tied to the front of a train, and Nick still amnesiac and still puddling chocolate wherever he goes. Milos is trying to continue with Mary's demonic plan to end the living world, but he lacks her charisma and the vapour of Afterlights is getting smaller as a steady trickle decamps.
Jackin' Jill is still with Mary's minions though, intrigued despite herself by a newcomer to the group. Jix is a furjacker - he takes over the bodies of animals - and he is even beginning to look like the big cats he favours. Jix is also a scout for a Mayan king elsewhere in Everlost and, like most leaders in this world, the king likes to collect the coins each Afterlight finds after it wakes from its nine month hibernation period. When they are ready to pass out of limbo, these coins are an Afterlight's ticket into the light. So it's no wonder those with power confiscate and collect them. Who wants to lose minions?
Elsewhere, Mikey is trying to get back to Allie and runs into Clarence, a vagrant ex-firefighter with terrible burns who is part living and part Everlost spirit - a scar-wraith. As the novel's many arcs all begin to collide ahead of the final, inevitable showdown, Clarence will play a bigger part than any of the protagonists yet realise...
Ah, man. Bums. It's all over!
I have loved this trilogy. It's utterly crazy and surreal with a gazillion plot lines and a huge cast of characters. Shusterman has allowed his imagination to run wild and it's been brilliant to see what his worldbuilding and characterisation will throw at us next. Sometimes it's zany and side-splittingly funny, sometimes it's really quite frightening - would you like to spend billions of years slowly sinking to the centre of the Earth? - and sometimes it has real pathos, but it's always, always, always, totally engaging.
And underneath all this, the series is asking some really profound questions, both metaphysical - 'what is life? Does the soul exist? What comes after? - and moral - does power corrupt? What is the value of sacrifice? Should we reap what we sow? And this is what I really like about Neal Shusterman - he never ducks the difficult or painful answers. Children's books are often full of gusto and highly entertaining. They are also often stimulating and challenging. Less often are they both these things - but this trilogy is both and more.
Highly, highly recommended.
PS. Guess what? I cried at the end. As per. Predictable, moi? Confound the very thought.
My thanks to the good people at Simon & Schuster for sending the book.
Older teens shouldn't miss Unwind, also by Shusterman, which also explores what it means to be alive, but be warned: it has some deeply disturbing moments. Younger readers will enjoy Billy Bones: A Tale from the Secrets Closet by Christopher Lincoln a light and enjoyable twist on Beetlejuice.
You can read more book reviews or buy Everfound by Neal Shusterman at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Everfound by Neal Shusterman at Amazon.com.
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