SNAKESKINS | Tim Major
05.07.2019 | Titan Books
Rating: 4/5 stars
Caitlin Hext is a Charmer. She has the ability to produce a clone of herself every seven years. These clones are called Snakeskins. They are supposed to turn to dust seconds after the Charmer “sheds” them. Caitlin’s does not. Her Snakeskin is taken away by authorities to live out the minutes/days/hours until it turns to ash in a care home.
There are many secrets to the Charmer community and Caitlin Hext is about to be exposed to more than she has ever known about her history. The Hext family could possibly hold the key to the survival of the Charmer community. Her quest to discover the truth about herself and her Snakeskin parallels with reporter, Gerry Chafik’s investigation into the Great British Prosperity Party and their quest to create a new world order centering around Charmers. Where will all of this lead? What will happen to Caitlin’s Snakeskin? What will happen to Caitlin?
Tim Major’s SNAKESKINS is the perfect science fiction thriller to meet reading interests across multiple genres! This book has a little bit of everything. There are the sci-fi elements of rejuvenation and cloning. There is a thriller aspect in the tension of what will happen to Caitlin, her Snakeskin, and the possible government corruption. There are family dynamics, inner struggles, and questions of identity that we can all relate to.
The story is told through three alternating points of view, which allow the reader to fully understand this dystopian/alternate U.K. where the characters are living. The main focus is with Caitlin Hext, her first shedding, and the events that follow with her Snakeskin. Here the reader is forced to put themselves into Caitlin’s shoes as a Charmer and deal with the inner turmoil of identity struggles. How would you feel if every seven years you produced a clone of yourself? What if you were told that new version of you was supposed to instantly turn to ash and then they didn’t?
Alongside Caitlin’s storyline is one focusing on Gerry Chafik, who is a normal human fascinated by the world of Charmers. While working as a journalist she has focused her stories on Charmers, their history, and their present. This storyline provides the reader with an insider and outsider perspective. You learn all about how Charmers came to be and how normal humans tend to view them. The third storyline also provides this dual insider/outsider perspective as the reader follows along with Russell, who works day to day with one of the ministers in the Great British Prosperity Party, an organization that runs Britain and is predominantly filled with Charmers.
The world that these main characters live in truly sets the stage and mood for their storylines and the book as a whole. Tim Major has created a dystopian/alternate U.K. where technology is lacking. Since Charmers came to be in 1808, Britain has stopped all communication with other countries. As a result they are severely behind the times. Major references old forms of technology, such as beepers, that really let you into how far progress has stopped.
As someone who does not venture into the science fiction genre often when it comes to reading, I found myself hugely impressed by SNAKESKINS. Major does not write in a way that makes the book’s content go above my head. Everything is relatable and easy to understand once you invest a bit of time in the story. The thriller aspect of this tale truly drove home my love for the book as Major consistently kept me on my toes by flipping through the alternating narratives and ramping up the action in each of them. If you’re curious about science fiction or a veteran reader in the genre, I highly recommend giving SNAKESKINS a spot on your TBR!
Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.
Disclosure: Thank you to Titan Books for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!