“Skellig” by David Almond | Book Review

Book Review | Rating – 4/5 | Genre – Young adult / fantasy

A book that I’ve read many times over my life, possibly one of the first books I ever read. Recently I brought this book back into my life when clearing out stuff from my parents house, wanting to feel nostalgic for a childhood classic I decided to give it another read.

Michael was looking forward to moving house. It was all going to be wonderful. But now his baby sister’s ill, his parents are frantic and Doctor Death has come to call. Michael feels helpless. Then he steps into the crumbling garage…
What is this thing beneath the spiders’ webs and dead flies? A human being, or a strange kind of beast never seen before? The only person Michael can confide in is Mina. Together, they carry the creature out into the light, and Michael’s world changes forever…
(Synopsis from Goodreads)

What did I think?

Like many of the books from my childhood, that I’ve decided to re-read, its always a fairly easy read (mainly due to the younger readership). This falls into the pile of “easy to read” books that I still find enjoyable to read even in my twenties, without it coming across to “childish” and simple. It is also this easier to read writing style that helps to draw out more meanings of the book. But, what were the moments I really enjoyed…

  • From a child’s viewpoint: one of the reasons I enjoy reading books written for children is how even older readers are able to see the world through that of a child’s eyes. David Almond writes Michael’s struggle with the world he lives in with such skill that it felt like Michael was a real person. The children in the story are shown to have more curiosity and questions about the world than some people think they have.
  • Timeless: Having read this book many times through my life, it still remains very true to the struggles people go through in this day and age. School like, present in the book, very much brings back memories of my own time at school.
  • Hint of fantasy: now, this is one of the main reasons I enjoy the book so much. The setting is very much the real world, yet it is woven around a more fantasy, or a least mythical, plot that makes the book all the more interesting. I’ve neve been a particularly religious person, but I always appreciate that element that is portrayed in the book.

Why not 5 stars?

Yeah this isn’t a very fair expectation on the book really, but the reason for not giving it a higer rating was because it was a very short book. I entirely understand it is more for children, but I guess this is just where my age is showing. I do enjoy a good short story, but with this sort of book I’d love to see just a little bit more to quench my own appetite.

In the end…

Despite it ending a lot sooner than I would’ve liked, it is still very much a book that I will continue to read repeatedly throughout my life. I wouldn’t ever say its one of my favourite books, but it definitely brings a peaceful sense of nostalgia to my school days that often draws me back into to opening it up once more.


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