Snakeskins by Tim Major is an interesting SciFi about cloning and consequences. In Snakeskins, we follow Caitlin, Gerry, and Russell in different intertwining stories.
Snakeskins is placed in an alternate world, in which some catastrophic events occurred and the Charmers were born out of it. Every 7 years, the Charmers shed their skin and create a clone of themselves- called a Skin. The Skin then dies moments later, leaving the Charmer looking refreshed and new. That is until Caitlin Hex’s Skin simply doesn’t die. Gerry has been fired from her journalist job because of her obsession with Snakeskins, and she’s given more time to come up with ideas for a book write up. With some digging, Gerry is finding that the story the government has given them all about the Charmers may not quite be true. Russell is the assistant to a Minister of Government, who also happens to be a Charmer. He’s approached by someone who is insisting that he now spy on his Charmer boss to find more information out. There are many secrets and histories to be discovered here, but what is the truth?
Thank you to Titan Books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Tim Major has done it again with a haunting sci-fi story. While sci-fi horror is not something I’m entirely new to, Major manages to continue to remix it. This concept of cloning, how it started, and how it is a problem for society as a whole was incredibly well done and interesting. The idea that Britain has completely secluded itself from the rest of the world due to the clones (I assume) unique. Major does a good job at building a remixed version of the world we already know and are well familiar with.
The political undertones are hard to miss in this book, often focusing on how we often don’t like to accept people different than us. The people in government have used that to their advantage, and clones aside, that’s not entirely different from the politicians we already know. Caitlin Hext struggles with bullying and her friends abandoning her due to her being a Charmer, and Caitlin often seems to want to set herself apart from other Charmers. There are slurs for these people, and anger towards them from the general public.
However, I found the characters to be somewhat one dimensional, and this is potentially at the fault of too many characters- and not just because of the clones! We follow multiple storylines, and while they do eventually merge, it was often confusing when the story swapped over. Our most dynamic character was Gerry, leaving the rest of them in the dust. This was the largest reason for my rating, as I simply didn’t have any emotional connection to any of our main characters, and was considerably more interested in our side characters. Strangely, they seemed to receive more emotion and backstory than our main characters. I couldn’t even tell you much about Russell, to be honest.