CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 1. . . .September 9, 2016
The Skeleth. (The Nethergrin Epic, Bk. 2).
New York, NY: Philomel Books (Distributed in Canada by Penguin Canada), 2016.
390 pp., hardcover, $23.99.
Grades 5-9 / Ages 10-14.
Review by Teresa Iaizzo.
The thrice-opened eye went blind with the heartís blindness. The thrice-beloved king cast his love upon the pyre with his honor and his truth. In his anger, in his fear, in betrayal of his kin, King Childeric called upon the Skeleth, They Who Crawl Below, they who shape as one with men, but are not men. In his lust for lordship without limit, Childeric asked for that which could be halted not by sword, nor by axe, nor by spear. He had asked for that which could kill without end and, screaming to the last, he received his gift.
The Skeleth is the second book in Matthew Jobinís Nethergrim series, and like its predecessor, The Nethergrim, it follows the exploits of best friends Edmund, Katherine, and Tom as they do battle against the Nethergrimís evil forces. In this installment, the trio of friends must go up against the Skeleth, indestructible servants of the Nethergrim who possess the bodies of those who attack them.
The story, itself, begins shortly after the first book ends. Edmund is now studying magic, Katherine finds herself unexpectedly in the role of servant to Lord Aelfric, and Tom is on his way to Lord Tristanís castle. But the real trouble begins with Lord Wolland, a neighbouring nobleman with a thirst for power. In his attempt to gain absolute power over the north, he strikes a deal with an evil wizard to unleash the Skeleth, indestructible forces that will guarantee him victory. What he doesnít know is that the Skeleth will ultimately turn on him as well since their ultimate goal is destruction. Thus, Edmund, Katherine, and Tom are once again thrust into the roles of heroes as they must each overcome their own obstacles in order to defeat the evil that is threatening their village.
Although the ending is quite predictable, the plot as a whole is quite strong as it follows the quintessential heroesí journey. What I particularly enjoyed in this book though is the way Jobin developed the characters of his main protagonists. Edmund, Katherine, and Tom must each go through their own personal struggles before they can become a hero, making the story much more believable and relatable to young readers. Moreover, I thoroughly enjoy Matthew Jobinís writing style as a whole. His descriptive style melds perfectly with the epic fantasy genre. I was in awe as he described the epic battle scenes between good and evil, and could just picture myself alongside the villagers fighting for their lives. As such, I highly recommend The Skeleth. If you enjoyed The Nethergrim, the first book, youíll love the second!
Teresa Iaizzo is a Senior Library Assistant with the Toronto Public Library.
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