Book Review: Skeleton Lake by: Angela Kulig

Rating: 4/5

Publisher: Red Iris Books

Publish Date: October 21, 2011

Origins: From Publisher for Review

Format: E-book

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: Unsure if she's drowning or being saved, all Marlow wants to do is run away. Ensnared in a haunting love triangle, she realizes both boys have holes in their hearts—scars from loving the same girl, a girl who managed to stay dead. Now she is being hunted for what she has become and what she never asked to be. Even as a Skeleton Marlow isn’t the worst thing in the night—she isn’t even close.

Review: Skeleton Lake grips you in it's bony embrace and doesn't let you go. When Marlow gets the shock of her life (so far), she runs away and ends up in Skeleton Lake. She is found by Raiden and given a new gift and new love. Can Marlow choose the right path or will she end up finishing what she started the night she came to Skeleton Lake?

Skeleton Lake is a story that is fresh and unique. The characters were well-developed and you learned their back stories as the events unfolded. I read Skeleton Lake in one sitting and I really appreciated the new mythos created - it was unlike anything I'd read before. With just a few words, the world and characters of Skeleton Lake were painted into vivid life. Ms. Kulig has a way with words that is poetic and enchanting. I'm eagerly anticipating the next book in this ever-evolving world.

Skeleton Lake Series: Skeleton Lake (1), Dust of the Dead Sea (2), The Skeleton Song (Novella)

Excerpt: "Last night you died."

I looked down at my hands. They were still perfect, still showing no signs of their previous mauling. This time I half expecting to see my skin there decaying before my eyes, but nothing happened, until they began to blur.

I blinked, and then hot tears splashed down on the forgotten quilt. I had no idea why I was crying, because at that moment I felt nothing. I was numb or maybe really dead inside. As the panic rose in me at the thought of being stuck that way forever, I welcomed it.

"Ugh," Raiden groaned. "Don't cry! That isn't even the worst of it!"

Not the worst of it? The panic escalated as I swatted at my tears. I tried to stand, but accomplished nothing. I was tired of Raiden looking down at me, and at some point my legs had forgotten how to hold my weight and I fell--never hitting the floor. Raiden caught me by the same arm as before, and quickly pulled me up to face him. He was taller than I remembered. My head barely reached his shoulders, which were so, so close. The musky scent from before began to overwhelm me when I noticed that his lips were close too, and they were moving again.

He released his grip on my arm, but he never stopped touching me. I could still feel the warmth of his fingers where they had dug into me as he stopped my fall--warm fingers--which reminded me nothing of the bony ones from the lake.

"You're warm, and skeletons are only bones."

Those were facts, no matter how incoherent they sounded coming out of my mouth.

"I can show you," he said.

And I had no idea what he meant by that, but I was already agreeing.

"Come with me?" he asked in a whisper.

He was already pulling me out the door. His breath on my cheek lingered longer than I thought about not following his lead.

After the black walls of Raiden's room, the cheery yellow hallways were almost painful to look at. The walls were all lined with pristine white molding. No dust, no dents. I had a hard time believing this was even the same house. After everything I had heard today, believing that Raiden's bedroom door was some kind of portal to another dimension would not be a stretch.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed something reflective. I whipped my head around so quickly, the momentum of it nearly sent me to the ground. In a frantic second, I expected to see the lake there, but it was just a large mirror in an antique silver frame. It was polished to perfection, I didn't even glance at it, I was busy looking at the horrid sight in front of me.

Randomly I thought, "At least I still have all my skin." This wasn’t at all comforting.

Half my dark hair stuck flat to my head, and the other half was a frizzy mess. My lips were pale, but a line of thick dried blood sat in the creases. Likely a leak where I had bitten my tongue earlier and I was wearing someone else's clothes.

"Where are my clothes?" I asked my reflection.

Raiden who had been trying to pull me further along turned back to face me, and for the first time I swore I saw him blush.

"What your run through the woods didn't shred, the lake had for dinner."

I failed to breathe. Did that mean that...?

"When you found me, was I... naked?"

"Marlow," he breathed, hot on my face again. "When I found you, you were nothing but bones."


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