The Skyscar by Xander MacDonald. Book review

The Skyscar by Xander MacDonald, Matador, 2016, £8.99 p/b, £3.99 Kindle

Reviewed by Vicky Garlick

The Skyscar is centred around the afterlife and the idea that there are multiple hell’s within it. Depending on how you’ve acted in life will depend on whether you are sent to one of these hell’s or not and the worse you’ve been, the more awful the hell. The story is set in a hell called Amdusias VI; ‘This patch of hell was covered with an opaque grey mist about a foot in depth, and the sky was a similarly depressing grey-green in colour’.

The demons inside Amdusias VI are able to be killed by one another and when they are, stone obelisks spring up in their place. If these headstones are then destroyed, the demon is able to be resurrected. It’s an interesting concept and one which proves useful through the story.

The novel begins with a seemingly insignificant homeless man called Frank and much of the story revolves around Christopher, an Astral (a force of good) and one of the main protagonists trying to rescue Frank’s soul from an arch-demon called Mulltroch, one of the main antagonists. The reader is quickly introduced to the other protagonists and antagonists of the book and the plot progresses at a steady pace.

The characters are well thought out and they work well through the story, though I would have liked to have seen a little more development and interaction between The Defiant (a group of oddly compassionate demons in this clearly terrible hell) as they are a big part of the plot and it’s clear they have good camaraderie.

There are a few issues with punctuation, spelling etc but the general plot and story are well thought out and these issues don’t detract too much from the book as a whole. I would expect it to be a good read for the YA audience who are just getting into the fantasy-horror genre. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and thought the idea behind it was an interesting and unique one. The description of the characters as well as the addition of fine details to the hell of Amdusias VI were what helped to create a solid world for the story to be set in and for the reader to imagine and enjoy. It will be interesting to see what the author comes up with next.