by Melissa McCann

March 2004
ISBN: 1-58749-423-X
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This review comes with a preamble…an alert that the romance in this novel is minimal. It is there, certainly, but if you’re expecting a futuristic love affair redolent with passion and desire, this is not the book for you.

However, if you want to read an extraordinary science fiction novel, stunning in its originality and execution, pick up your copy of Skin today. I confess to being completely blown away by this story. The concept revolves around “Skin”. Not the ordinary, everyday human skin, but a living entity that can replace an injured human’s skin. One such as Emma Sloan, well-known actress, who has been critically burned in a studio fire.

The skin replacement program is hush-hush, not altogether condoned and very poorly understood. When Emma regains consciousness, it’s to find herself surrounded and guarded by military personnel and the possessor of a skin which acts more like an alien presence than her own body’s tissue. This wide-ranging adventure begins here and takes the reader into areas where the basic issues of humanity confront each other, and where one woman’s beliefs can make the difference between life and death. The adventure factor alone is ‘can’t-put-it-down’ stuff.

But the real standout element in this story is Emma Sloan. Her thoughts, her feelings, her actions, are all so clearly written, that I found myself inside her “skin” with her. She’s a strong woman, intelligent, and very determined to use whatever brains she has to deal with this incredible situation. Her growth into the new creature she is becoming had me spellbound. With the increase of her power over her skin comes new insights into what makes humans “human”, and with that understanding comes the final acceptance of that most basic of emotions – love.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. For science fiction fans, it’s a treasure that should go on the re-read pile, since there is so much involved that it will benefit from a second reading. Bursting with originality, excellent characterization, and a plot that will rock your world, don’t miss Skin”. It’ll give yours goosebumps. It did mine.

Reviewed in February 2004 by Celia.

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