Monday 1 February 2010

13) Skellig by David Almond

Pages - 170

Published by Hodder Children's Books in 1998

Challenges - Awesome Author Challenge, Young Adult Challenge and Support Your Library Challenge

He was lying there in the darkness behind the tea chests, in the dust and dirt. It was as if he'd been there forever. He was filthy and pale and dried out and I thought he was dead. I couldn't be more wrong. I'd soon begin to see the truth about him, that there'd never been another creature like him in the world.

All I can say is, why on earth didn't I read this book sooner. I absolutely adored this book and thank everyone who kept recommending that I read this one. I just loved it.

Michael and his family have moved to a new house which is in desperate need of some love and attention. His father is preoccupied with fixing the house up and his mother is totally involved in Michael's new baby sister. Everything is wonderful, until his baby sister becomes really ill and is rushed to hospital. Michael is at a loss as how to help and feels confused and lost.

He then ventures into the decrepit crumbling garage at the bottom of the garden and finds a creature covered in dead spiders and flies. Michael is dumbfounded and confused by the creature in the garage, but his kind heart gets the better of him and with the help of his new friend Mina, they bring the creature back to good health. The creature,Skellig, turns out to be an angel fallen on hard times and is grateful for their help and belief in him and in return he helps to ease Michael's pain.

This book is just so beautiful to read. I absorbed every word of it and I was really disappointed when I had finished reading it. Skellig is an unlikely hero, but so unique and very believable. He shows you that it is not what is on the outside that matters, it is what lies within your heart. He is what I would call a realistic angel. I could actually believe he existed as Almond's writing was so realistic.

Michael and Mina are wonderful characters and warmed my heart towards the teenage generation immediately. They were not frightened by what they saw, but looked beyond Skellig's rough exterior to find a hidden angel. They wanted to help him from the start, which I just think is wonderful.

I usually feel that British writers just don't do the whole paranormal thing well, (apart from Neil Gaiman, I bow at his feet). Most paranormal books I have enjoyed have been written by Americans and I had yet to find an English equivalent, especially within the YA market, yet David Almond just blew me away with this book.

I am quite excited because I have two other David Almond books in my possession - The Fire Eaters and Jackdaw Summer, so I will be having a bit of a David Almond fest soon.
If have even the slightest belief in angels, then this is the book for you.

Other reviews of this book


  1. Great review, Viv! I love this one by Almond and I share the same thoughts about Neil Gaiman.

    Thanks for the mention too!

  2. Ah..that quote believe it or not I remember well from reading Skellig 8 years ago. At least that's about when I taught middle school and this was a real find for me then. I loved it too. Glad you got to read it and were pleased.

  3. It sounds so good! Definitely one to add to my list.

  4. I've never heard of this book before. The cover is gorgeous though.

  5. Alice - it is fab, isn't it.

    Clover - for some reason I was under the impression you had already read this.

    Wisteria - it definitely is a real find.

    Carmen - you will love it.

    Christina - It was turned into a TV one off drama and it was fabulous.

  6. I have this one on my shelf but for some reason it scares me to death. I can't explain why...I'm glad to hear it's good, though. That makes me a little less scared.

  7. I haven't gotten into paranormal books, but this one sounds great! Thanks for the review.

  8. WOW, this sounds wonderful! I don't really read paranormal as a genre, either, but perhaps this is enough to take me over the edge :-)

  9. Oooh, this does sound wonderful. I'm not usually interested in reading paranormal books, but your review is so glowing, I just might give this one a try.

  10. Had a debate about school versus homeschooling today with my year 7 class because of this book. I love the way it covers so many things and is so beautiful. When Mina makes him listen and he hears all those invisible sounds we did that as a class and was a great experience for the kids, especially as one member of the class is seriously visually impaired.

    You MUST MUST MUST read The Fire Eaters asap, its even more amazing!

  11. Amanda - I am intrigued by what scares you about this book. It is not scary at all, not like The Little Stranger now that really scared me.

    Bermudaonion - this would be a good one to read as it is the most believable paranormal one I have read. Though saying that The Little Stranger is a good and very believable ghost story.

    Aarti - I don't think I can recommend this book enough.

    Suko - you must read it.

    Katrina - I do wonder about homeschooling. I always think the children learn more, because they want to and they are normally interested in what they are learning. The only thing it doesn't give them is the social skills they need in life, but as long as they spend time interacting with children at clubs,then that is covered too. I would love to homeschool my kids.

    I will read The FireEaters next then, instead of Jackdaw Summer.

  12. Isn't his writing just gorgeous? Very happy to hear you loved this!


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