When an ancient evil reemerges, only an orphan werecat stands between the Sylvan races and a fate worse than death. But can Katja Escari overcome her biases and her thirst for revenge in time to assemble a functioning resistance? Alycia Christine’s Skinshifter, first book in the Sylvan Cycle, sinks its fangs into a meaty plot pumping with action. A massive cast representing the full menagerie of fantasy creatures from basilisk to werewolf allows for complex politicking and a critical examination of racial prejudice. Although the story dips a claw into paranormal romance, it really finds its stride in its refreshingly realistic depictions of platonic friendship. Deft description crafted with an obvious love of language makes it pleasurable to watch as a scrappy band of companions morph what might have been a standard quest story into something fresh and distinctive.
Best for: Older teens and adults.
Discern: Strong bloody violence, some disturbing vampirism, a couple scenes of sensuality and anatomical description, and a nongraphic allusion to sexual assault as well as various forms of magic permeating the story; God is present as the “Creator,” but souls are subject to lesser good and evil forces.