Skin by Ilka Tampke

OH MY GOSH...MY TIMING IS SO OFF!!! I wanted to get this up yesterday, but procrastination is very real. I finished this beauty and I loved it!!! I am a PoC with direct Native American ancestry so the tone of this book, the tribe culture, the sort of Native American proverbs and wisdom incorporated into the story really resonated with me. Tampke's writing was so rich in this book. The language was tribal and put me in the midst of sacred land, traditions and rituals. When I posted this book on Instagram I know that a lot of my fellow bookworms expressed interest in reading it. I am a rambler when it comes to writing these reviews, but I think I'm going to start paying closer attention to books that really peek my followers interest and start writing spoiler free reviews for those books. Hence, this spoiler free review.

Because you asked of my skin. And my stories are my skin. As are yours. {He drew his knees to his chest.} If I fail this life, my skin stories will take me to another.

Skin by Ilka Tampke
FIRST PUBLISHED BY Text Publishing, February 25, 2015
PAGES: 356
PACING: {3.8/5}


Southwest Britain, AD 43.

For the people of Caer Cad, ‘skin’ is their totem, their greeting, their ancestors, their land.

Ailia does not have skin. Abandoned at birth, she serves the Tribequeen of her township. Ailia is not permitted to marry, excluded from tribal ceremonies and, most devastatingly, forbidden to learn. But the Mothers, the tribal ancestors, have chosen her for another path.

Lured by the beautiful and enigmatic Taliesin, Ailia embarks on an unsanctioned journey to attain the knowledge that will protect her people from the most terrifying invaders they have ever faced.

Set in Iron-Age Britain on the cusp of Roman invasion, Skin is a thrilling, full-blooded, mesmerising novel about the collision of two worlds, and a young woman torn between two men.

The main character Ailia was abandoned at birth. To the tribe people of Caer Cad, sacred land in Southwest Britain, that means she is without Skin; unteachable, unable to pass down the knowledge and ways of the land to the next generation because she is without true ancestry. The knowledge she needs will help her to protect and fight against Roman invasion.  I am a fan of well written coming of age stories and I really like the way Tampke developed Ailia's character. Ailia encounters someone on her journey to discovery that helps her to see herself as a necessary part of protecting the land and this relationship plays an intricate role in Ailia's growth. One of the parts of the story I disliked is when Ailia finds herself torn between her genuine feelings and feelings of obligation. When you read it, you will certainly find out what I mean. Whenever authors implement indecision on the part of the female character it gets tricky for me as the reader. Cliche' tropes can change the entire dynamic of a well written story.

To know the earth, we must learn to hear it in a way that reveals its language.
— Language ~ Chapter 27

I loved Ailia's relationship with Cookmother/Tribequeen, the caretaker of the people of Caer Cad particularly the girls. Tribequeen appears to dislike Ailia because she is 'unskinned' and wants so desperately not to be, that she constantly asks questions and challenges things that she must not do much to the Tribequeen's chagrin. Insert predictability here. Tribequeen knew that Ailia was not just an ordinary 'unskinned' girl from the beginning, there was not much mystery to the fact. Another one of the girls in the tribe is aware of this as well, but the plot in terms of their knowledge of this fact was not strong. The ending of this book was slow but eludes to a possible series which I will definitely be reading. 

She who understands has wings.
— Flight ~ Chapter 23

I think overall what I took from this read was that we all often feel like we need to be directly connected to something to find our purpose in the world; we often succumb to what others say about us because we already feel we don't "fit in". We become unconsciously locked into not stepping out and discovering who we truly are because we've held on to ideas thrust upon us by others. The very best way to discover who we are is to abandoned what others think and say, break a few rules and step outside of the box. Purpose is found beyond the status quo. I really loved this book although my rating may suggest otherwise LOL. 

My Rating: {3.5/5}