For What It's Worth

Monday, March 7, 2011

Review & Giveaway: The Skin Map by Stephen R Lawhead

The Skin Map (Bright Empires)"He had a sensation of being told a secret he knew to be true, but which would be far, far easier--and much safer--to ignore; all the more so since he strongly suspected that acknowledging the truth meant his life would change utterly."

Kit Livingstone's great-grandfather has re-appeared with an unbelievable story--the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legends but truly are pathways to other worlds. So few people know how to use them, though, that doing so is fraught with danger.
But one explorer knew more than most. Because of his fear of being unable to find his way home, he developed an intricate code and tattooed his map onto his skin. But the map has since been lost and rival factions are in desperate competition to recover it. What none of them yet realize is that the skin map itself is not the prize at the end of this race . . .
but merely the first goal of a vast and marvelous quest to regain Paradise.
Enter the ultimate treasure hunt--with a map made of skin, a playing field of alternate realities, and a prize that is the greatest mystery of all.

*Note: This review was written by Kevin - (Karen's hubby)
The Skin Map is the first book in a series about the universe, time travel and mystery. I was grabbed by the concept of the story but a bit disappointed by its delivery.
It starts with our introduction to Cristopher Cosimo Livingstone, aka “Kit”. He lives a rather monotonous life in London present time. We meet him on his way to see his girlfriend, Wilhemina. A series of events cause Kit to stray from his normal path and by doing so he comes face to face with his “dead” great grandfather, Cosimo, who needs Kit’s help. Cosimo wants to teach Kit how to use his skill to travel throughout time so they can get to the Skin Map before others do. While some people have the gift to travel through space and time, their control of it is limited. The Skin Map (literally a map printed on skin) is like a street map of the universe allowing the user to be able to appear in exactly the place or time they were trying to rather than just popping up somewhere randomly. Kit doesn’t want to help, he just wants to keep the life he has. However fate has a way of screwing with your plans and everyone else around you.
Unfortunately this is also when the story starts to get somewhat incoherent in the sense that it bounces around to different POV’s. Not enough time is spent developing the individual characters to give you a sense of what makes them tick. You really don’t know why some of the characters do certain things and sometimes you can get a little confused as to where you are at any given time. Don’t get me wrong, there is enough to get some sense but I just wanted a little more. There are holes in the story as well that I can only assume will be filled in the next book.
The book touches on history, language and science and I did like how Lawhead described the surroundings and placed you there. He took the time to explain what ley lines are and theories of time travel. You could see the world and experience the atmosphere; so it’s a pity that detail wasn’t also given to the character development. I also liked that there was no heated romance, even though there was one relationship that I did enjoy that involved a baker that reminded me of a certain dystopian YA character that my wife obsesses over.
Overall it was an interesting concept and there is enough potential that I will probably read the next book. I feel like the plot started to tighten up at the end. The story moved at a quick enough pace that I finished in two sittings.

Rating: 3 out of 4 Intriguing concept – I hope book 2 will develop the characters more and answer a few of the questions I had.

Author's Website: Stephen R. Lawhead
Facebook: Stephen R. Lawhead
Book Trailer: HERE (good trailer!)
Buy the book! The Skin Map (Bright Empires)
Source: Book given by the publisher Thomas Nelson Inc. for an honest review.


The publisher has also given me an extra copy to giveaway. Please fill out the form below and I will pick a winner on Monday 3/14/2011.

*Must be at least 18 years old to enter - good luck!
*International entries OK

*Fill out this form to enter


  1. The book doesn't really grab me but I was reading the review and had Twitter running too so tweeted about it anyway. I'm just nice like that! :)

  2. This contest has ended - the winner is Lolawid.