Skerryvore, the first book of the Dark Net series, is a gripping historical fantasy novel written by Lee Williams. Full of twists, turns and intrigue this book is hard to put down and will be a great addition to your teens book shelf.
Skerryvore captures your imagination early on with the mysteries that surround the lives of teenage twins, Rose and Daniel. A conspiracy mad dad ensures that the twins live a life with no technology, no phones and no TV. Not happy with the impact this has on their lives, Daniel opens the story with tales of bullying, frustration, loneliness and escapism. However, one night a stranger comes to call. His appearance sends their dad into a panic and with no explanation he declares they will be leaving soon. But when Rose and Daniel come home from school to find their house on fire and no sign of their dad their lives start to unravel. Before they know it they are being whisked away by a stranger who claims to be saving their lives and the twins wonder if maybe their dad wasn’t crazy after all…
Taken to a remote Scottish isle, Rose and Daniel enter the ancient doors of Skerryvore; a house which holds secrets that leads them on a path they would never have imagined possible. Within it’s magical walls the twins discover clues to their past and they discover they have links with an ancient King and Queen.
Spending time in a magical house with mysterious inhabitants who are frustratingly vague leads Daniel to decide that he has no choice but to go hunting for answers himself. This drags his sister, the residents of Skerryvore and the mystical house itself on a downward spiral of chaos, confusion and destruction. Rose and Daniel are on a path which will put them in grave danger. Will Daniel destroy them all?
Once Rose and Daniel arrived at Skerryvore, I found the book enraptured my imagination and I couldn’t wait to know what was going to happen next and which direction the characters would take. The mysteries which are unlocked within Skerryvore give just enough away to leave you desperate to know more while you jump back and forth trying to guess which direction the story will take. As a fan of fantasy fiction the magical features of the house were one of the highlights of the story for me.
Lee Williams very cleverly weaves historical characters and events into the narrative of Skerryvore which gives this fantasy novel an extra dimension which I loved and will keep readers hooked.
However, Skerryvore is not stuck in the past, far from it. It is very relevant to modern life and the direction it could take with debates over the safety of technology and who really controls it and the messages which we receive. Again this added dimension really enhances this book and ensures that the characters and the story are relatable for kids. The political backdrop of the book offers the opportunity for some big questions for your teens, especially around the idea of emerging and addictive technologies and I found that these themes have stayed with me even after I have finished the novel.
At the start of the book, I found Rose to be rather irritating and Daniel much more relatable but as the story progressed I switched and found myself wanting to shout at Daniel and tell him to be more aware of the consequences of his reckless actions. I think that Lee Williams has captured a great range of relatable characteristics through the key people in Skerryvore and this makes you root for them and their fate.
I would have liked to see more depth in the twin relationship throughout the book though. I interpreted a very distant relationship and this doesn’t really improve despite the fact that they only have each other on this lonely island full of strangers. I also think that Skerryvore could have placed a stronger emphasis on the grief which the children would be feeling as they presume their father has been killed in the fire.
After many a twist and turn in the final few chapters I was left feeling like I was on the spinning tea cup ride and I was craving more. I was gutted that it finished where it did as there are so many unanswered questions which I had hoped would be nicely tied up. This of course is simply great writing and I can’t wait for the second book to be released so I can find out what happens next.
A fantastic historical fantasy story for young adults which leaves you hungry for more.
You can purchase Skerryvore from Amazon as a Kindle ebook or as a paperback.
I read a free copy of this book shared by my friend and agreed to complete an honest review in exchange. All views are my own.