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I expected an average YA book here but I should've remembered the wonderful spookiness 'Skellig' gave me because this book chilled me to the bones in places. An amazing book that easily crosses over from the children to adult's market. I must go on and eventually read some more by David Almond as he is a fantastic writer.
I've read 'Skellig' as a teacher several times and also for personal pleasure and I can see plenty of opportunities for 'Clay' to be used in the classroom. It would open up a range of discussion about religion, death and conflict. Perfect for an English, RE, PHSE or Citizenship lesson plus others! But enough about school stuff, what was the book like? In one word AMAZING. I had started it the night before but only read about 30 pages or so and found it mediocre, I wasn't sure how it would progress. When I picked it up last night I couldn't put it down and read the remainder in one sitting.
I genuinely had no idea what was going to happen, by the time I was approaching the ending what I expected to happen didn't and I was continually amazed. It surprisingly became quite a page turner. Davie is a wonderful character but wait until you meet Stephen Rose. I can't work out who is depicted on the front cover out of these two characters. The other characters for me are just a sideline, it is the relationship between Davie and Stephen that is purely magical, frightening and fascinating to watch/read.
The plot is well-constructed and like I said, apart from the opening, it is captivating. It is set in the north East - Felling to be precise, so there are occasional bits of dialect but not much. The only irritating aspect was the use of 'bliddy hell', I didn't feel this sounded right. If you have read 'Skellig' then I'd say this is aimed at a slightly older audience because of the themes. Great chapter lengths - 5 or 6 pages in a hardback on average. Superb cliff-hangers, all in all you should race through the novel because of the way it is written.