Book: “Another Beast’s Skin” by Jessika Grewe Glover
Publishing Info: GenZ Publishing, November 2021
Where Did I Get this Book: NetGalley
Book Description: When Neysa, a market trader from Los Angeles, rents a cottage on the coast of England, she would never have imagined the secrets she would uncover and a new world beyond this one.
In befriending a family in town, Neysa learns that they are emissaries from a fae realm, charged with keeping guard of the volatile Veil between realms. And the four crystals that kept the Veil secure have gone missing.
In a race to protect the realms, Neysa must learn about the new world she’s been thrust into and uncover the secrets in her blood. Luckily fae guardian Caderyn and his cousin are willing to help Neysa in her quest. But even if they can get the crystals back, there may be great consequences for the future of the fae realm.
Rating 5: I requested this book a while ago from NetGalley, mostly because of the beautiful cover and the promise of a good Fae story. I’ve had a hard time finding one that I really enjoy for quite a while now. Frankly, I’m having a hard time thinking of one I’ve enjoyed more recently than “An Enchantment of Ravens” which I read several years ago now. Alas, this was not to be the one to break that streak.
When Neysa quits her home of Los Angles to spend time in a remote section of England she does it only with the mind to clear her mind and heal her heart after her recent divorce. Quickly, she befriends a local family. But as she grows to know them better, she uncovers mysteries beyond her wildest dreams. Soon enough, she’s drawn into a brewing conflict between two worlds and begins uncovering an untold history of her own past. And while the danger escalates, Neysa begins to realize that her injured heart may be ready to love again.
I knew almost immediately that this book wasn’t going to be it for me. It’s always such a disappointment when this happens. A slow start or an uninteresting leading character can grow and change as a story develops, so while disheartening to start with, I don’t necessarily count the book out with just that. Alas, stilted, poor writing is almost never to be recovered from and this book had it in spades right from the start.
There was an abundance of a “telling” style of writing, with readers bluntly informed how they were meant to feel about certain characters and their relationships. Scenes would jump from one place/time/plot to another with absolutely no transition. Very little attention was given to describing the setting or atmosphere of any particular scene. And the magic system was a garbled mess. At one point, a character sprouts wings and this is never commented on further. Can all Fae do this? How does this even work in what before this point had seemed a fully human body? Obviously, as a reader of fantasy fiction, I’m happy enough to bend the laws of physics, but I do need a bit more effort done to make it feel as if the author hadn’t simply plopped down bullet points of fairies she found from Google.
The pacing was also very off-putting, seeming to crawl at certain points and then jump immediately into the action at others. There is no time devoted to carefully cultivating the relationships between the characters, and the romance suffered most from this. There is a love triangle (sigh) and most frustrating of all, the author resorted to creating situations where her heroine is sexually harassed as a way to create drama and force “romantic gestures” from said love interests. I absolutely hate this tactic, and if I hadn’t been already feeling pretty poorly about the book before, this would have been the final straw.
This book ultimately seemed as if it were in sad need of editing. I don’t like comparing books to fanfiction because I’ve read so many excellent fanfiction stories that have writing as good as if not better *side eyes this book* than actual published works. But that was the comparison that came to mind: lack of effort in world-building, juvenile tactics to build romantic drama, and clunky writing. I always hate writing reviews that are as harsh as this one has been, but I truly did not enjoy this book and was so, so disappointed, especially by the romance.
For those who do enjoy love triangles and Fae stories, this may, may, be something that interests you. But I do think there are better examples out there. Even books like “The Cruel Prince” by Holly Black that I didn’t personally enjoy would be better. At least that one was well written.
Review: A big let down, worst of all falling into terrible tropes of using sexual harassment as a romance-building tool.
“Another Beast’s Skin” isn’t on any Goodreads lists yet, but it should be on Everything Fae.