Customer Reviews for

The Skin Map (Bright Empires Series #1)

Average Rating 4
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(44)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

great

I loved reading this book. It was something new. very fast paced.

posted by laura24 on January 8, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

The Skin Map

Contrary to my expectations I found 'The Skin Map' by Stephen Lawhead quite entertaining. It revolves round Kit Livingstone and his adventures in search for a map tattooed to the skin - hence the title skin map. This is no ordinary map as it reveals a portal between wor...
Contrary to my expectations I found 'The Skin Map' by Stephen Lawhead quite entertaining. It revolves round Kit Livingstone and his adventures in search for a map tattooed to the skin - hence the title skin map. This is no ordinary map as it reveals a portal between worlds. The supernatural element in the plot has been superbly woven and once you can understand the concept of the plot, the storyline falls in place.
One of the major drawbacks of this genre of fiction is that usually they tend to become boring but Steven Lawhead seems to have done his research well and hence his work is quite interesting. The book is advised to be read at one go or else you might lose track of the plot. Over and above it is a nice work and once you get the hang of the plot it becomes quite unputdownable.

posted by Chhaya on October 26, 2011

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  • Posted September 23, 2012

    Stephen Lawhead is one of my favorite authors and I always look

    Stephen Lawhead is one of my favorite authors and I always look forward to any of his new writings. THE SKIN MAP started off a bit slowly, but the story line is a unique concept and it takes a while to develop the format. Don't rush it. That will spoil the fun. Once into it, though, I was hooked. I certainly look forward to reading the following books in the Bright Empires series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 4, 2011

    Nice book

    The story itself was good, though at first it seemed almost like Back to The Future meets National Treasure. However, it's the concept of ley lines that I was wary of. Kit mentions New Agers when Cosimo first begins explaining the ley lines, and that's also who Stephen Lawhead says he saw looking for ley lines in 1985 at Stonehenge. While in a work of fiction I wouldn't think twice about time travel or portals, the knowledge that ley lines were mentioned as a New Age theory makes me wonder.

    While the content of this book had nothing in it to make me stop reading, what the author had to say in the essay he included was interesting. He says at the end of his essay "Do ley lines exist? [.] Or is it all just a bit of hopeful speculation, half-science and New Age nonsense---something to file in the same low drawer as Nessie and Big Foot? Not being a scientist, it is my particular privilege to roam freely in the world of 'what if' without having to prove anything. There seems enough empirical evidence to warrant at least some open-minded speculation---and, in light of all that Kit and Cosimo have experienced, who can say absolutely that ley travel is not possible?"

    The Skin Map, while not an absolute favorite, had some good qualities. After the first few chapters, I was unsure if I should continue reading, being new to the concept of ley lines, but the book itself turned out just fine. However, it should be remembered that this is a fictional story. I do not personally agree that there is a possibility of ley travel.

    I received this book for free from the publishers and was not required to write a positive review.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 20, 2013

    Love it!

    I really enjoy this series! Very good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2013

    Great

    A great conict and nice characterization done by the author. Ending was quite unclear although read my times. 4.5/5

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2013

    ¿The Skin Map¿ by Stephen R. Lawhead was an interesting and unus

    “The Skin Map” by Stephen R. Lawhead was an interesting and unusual read. An adventurous tale begins when Kit Livingston’s life is unexpectedly altered by the appearance of his great grandfather. This complex story follows the characters on a journey involving a multi-layered universe that is connected by secret pathways. The search is on to find and compile pieces of a map tattooed on one person’s skin that reveals the mysteries of these pathways. This is the first book I have read by this author, and I enjoyed it. The author presents a complex and mysterious story that kept me actively engaged for the entire book. At times I had to read sections twice to fully understand all that occurs, as the overall concept of the book was so foreign to me and unlike anything else I have personally read or known about. I found myself at times getting bogged down in trying to understand all the details but once I had the basic framework of the plot down I was able to let go and enjoy the twisting ride. In the end I was still left with several questions, and I look forward to reading the next book in this series. I recommend this book if you enjoy fiction books that are unique and full of adventure. I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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  • Posted July 30, 2012

    Well Worth the Purchase!

    This was my first foray back into science fiction in many years and it was very satisfying. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop. My only disappointment was that the ending was quite sudden. Will it continue in book 2? I will find out when I purchase the next installment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2012

    Have not read it yet. "War Horse" I would highly recommend.

    I loved the way the horse thought. Anyone who loves horses and loves a sentimental story would really enjoy this one.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Slow to start but fascinating

    Starts slow and difficult to follow then turns into an engaging story with likeable characters.

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  • Posted January 12, 2012

    Rather have the hard copy

    While I normally don't listen to audio books, this one (unabridged) had a unique story which initially drew my interest with the idea of a human skin map and I thought it would be cool. I felt with the length of the story and the audio that I zoned out quite a few times and it did get confusing with different characters weaving in and out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2011

    Great read, recommend

    Love Lawhead books no matter what they are. I stumbled on the second in this series first and then moved backward into the start of the series. Very intertaining and interesting.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2011

    Quick fun read

    Fun book, didn't waste a lot of time trying to analyze the story just enjoyed the book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Complex, idea-based story

    Kit Livingstone, like so many heroes of so many stories, is living a vaguely dissatisfying life when we first meet him attempting to navigate the London transit system on his way to meet Wilhelmina Klug, described in book blurbs as Kit¿s ¿unpleasant girlfriend.¿ But it doesn¿t take long for the unexpected to charge in, starting when Kit meets the last person he would have expected to meet even if he¿d been entertaining expectations of meeting anyone: his great-grandfather Cosimo, who disappeared two generations ago and has never been seen since. Cosimo, who is shockingly spry for a man presumed dead for at least a decade or two, wants Kit¿s help with something. What, we¿re not entirely sure¿but it involves navigating ley lines, intersections between times, worlds, and dimensions that only a select few people know exist. One of those select people is a nasty piece of work called Lord Burleigh, whose men travel armed and keep a prehistoric cave lion on a leash. Burleigh, like Cosimo, is trying to find the pieces of a detailed map of the ley lines¿the Skin Map, so called because it was once tattooed on the torso of the most far-ranging traveler of all. Cosimo¿s plans are quick to go awry, and Kit is pulled into an adventure that takes him ¿ and us ¿ across worlds. From London in the 1600s to a crypt in 19th-century Egypt, from a Chinese tattoo parlour to the courts of Bohemia, The Skin Map travels a rich landscape of history and imagination. My thoughts about this book are as varied as its locales. The beginning of the story (when Kit meets an eccentric old man who teaches him to cross between dimensions) reminded me very much of The Paradise War, though the similarities don¿t last long. I found the narrative style entertaining and almost old-fashioned, especially in its use of omniscient POV, so prevalent in older books but used less often now. Lawhead¿s attention to the small setting details ¿ foods, dress, smells, textures, temperatures ¿ is excellent as always. His ability to transport readers to another time and place is on display here, and it¿s nice to see him ranging beyond the Celtic worlds to bring places like Egypt and China to life. Locations are drawn with an artist¿s eye and a terrific sense of atmosphere (Black Mixen Tump was a highlight of the read for me). As for the plot itself, it was less bizarre and perhaps less original than I had expected, although the ley lines themselves are fascinating (and I enjoyed the essay at the end that explains where Lawhead got the concept). At times I found the plot inconsistent, and what came as huge revelations to Kit¿ concepts of time and dimension travel ¿ seemed pretty standard to me. For most of the book, I was more engaged in the side plots ¿ the adventures of Wilhelmina, who has been accidentally sent to 17th-century Prague and becomes a ragingly successful businesswoman there, and of Arthur Flinders-Petrie, the Man Who Is Map ¿ than in Kit¿s story. But just when I wasn¿t sure how I felt about the book, a few twists at the end left me eager to read more. The author says of this series that it is ¿the most challenging work I¿ve ever undertaken,¿ alternately exhilarating and terrifying. I am not sure it lives up to the hype ¿ yet. The story isn¿t over, and while The Skin Map may not be everything it could have been as an opening, I have high hopes that The Bone House, Book 2, will make this story the adventure I¿m waiting for.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A good beginning to a fun new fantasy series

    I recently received an electronic copy of The Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead. I have Mr. Lawhead's quartet on the Arthurian Legend and enjoy his writing. I found though, that The Bone House was the second book in his Bright Empires series and decided to start with the first book, The Skin Map. It appeared that the series was going to be mostly based on time travel, with maybe a historical fiction bent. What I found instead, was an intriguing fantasy story where the characters travel, not through linear time, but to alternate times in alternate worlds, each with their own reality. These realities may be the same as those of the "home world", as our world is called, or they may be different. The concept was intriguing enough to get me to continue with both the book and the series.

    In this, the first of the series, the author spends a lot of time introducing and developing his characters, as well as the impetus of the story, which is a series of quests. As such, there is a lot of explaining the reason for the quest, the development of the characters and their stories, and the actual way that the ley travel used by the characters works. At times it may seem that the author is spending more time explaining and less time story telling, but stick with it. It is eminently worth it in the end.

    I went from this book directly into the second book, The Bone House, and as I expected, the characters continue to grow and the story becomes more developed. I am now anxiously awaiting the third book in the series, The Well of Souls.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 3, 2011

    A good quick paced read

    An interesting concept with a good story line. Not too deep technically. The characters are a little thin, and much of the plot was predictable. But a good read none the less. I'll be buying the sequel.

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  • Posted October 3, 2011

    Extremely Entertaining

    I downloaded this for a fast read at a good price. I was pleasantly surprised, the book really exceeded my expectations. Great historical/steam punkish/ sci fi fiction! I am looking forward to the next book in the series!

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  • Posted October 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    a fun, complex read!

    Kit is an average Londoner who has average problems. He isn't really happy with anything in his life but nothing is horrible either. Then, after a series of very bad luck on the metro system or "tube" he bumps into someone he never expected to see -- his great grandfather. Of course, after doing the math the man should have been over 125 years old. Suddenly, Kit finds himself with his grandfather in another world in another time using the ley lines (dimension and time jumps). Together, they go on an adventure to find the skin map that is a map of the ley lines that has been tattooed to the skin of a fellow "Questor".

    This was a fun read. The only problem that I had with it was the fact that I kept getting confused. There are quite a few characters and a lot of jumping in time and locations and I tended to get confused. I am also sometimes a bit ditzy so that could have something to do with it as well. Overall, this was a great adventure with plenty of suspense and humor mingled in it as well.

    This was a complimentary copy I received from the publisher through BookSneeze for an honest review.

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  • Posted September 27, 2011

    looking forward to reading the next installment

    well written, easy to read and to follow... the plot is well laid out with interesting story lines for the various characters being developed...

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  • Posted September 21, 2011

    Good Start to a Series

    I believe I got this on a free Friday thing or cheap or something... anyway, I started reading this and was almost immediately engulfed in the story. At first I wasn't a fan of how the author jumps from one character's story to the next, but I got used to it. He leaves a lot of room for your imagination but not in a sense that I was sitting there wondering what was going on. If I had to describe this book, I would say it is kind of a time travel/different planes of earth thing. It slightly reminded me of the movie "The Thirteenth Floor". Lots of twists and turns in the book, definitely in the fantasy genre. I would recommend if you liked the movie I mentioned or Inkheart, or things of that nature.

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  • Posted May 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Time Travel with a Twist

    The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead is a wonderful time travel story mixing fantasy, history and archaeology. It is a bit like Ted Dekker combined with Charles Dickens and H.G. Wells. The chapter titles give the book the feel of a Victorian novel, yet it is as fast-paced as the most modern fantasy.

    Our hero, Kit Livingstone, is an average working class Londoner headed toward a meeting with his girlfriend Mina. Amidst a storm and power outage, he stumbles across a man, Cosimo, who claims to be his great-grandfather, and is introduced to time travel portals called ley lines. Kit rushes to meet Mina and share his discovery, but loses her in the ley lines on the way to meet Cosimo. Kit has no idea where or when Mina has gone.

    The tale moves on three timelines. One line follows Mina, one follows Kit and Cosimo as they search for her, and one follows the scientist who originally explored the time travel portals and used tattoos to become a human skin map of the ley lines.

    Despite moving between timelines, the story is easy to follow. My only complaint about the book is the ending. Clearly, this is a series, because the book is open-ended rather than having a proper conclusion. Thankfully, the second installment has been announced for the fall, so we won't have to wait long for the continuing adventures of Kit, Cosimo and Mina.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

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  • Posted May 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    What a fun read - check out his new series!

    The latest book to be 'leafed through' on my Nook Color from Barnes and Noble is "The Skin Map" by Stephen R. Lawhead. Having read his series of the PENDRAGON CYCLE years ago, I was delighted to get this opportunity to review what is to be the first in a new series of five books.

    Our protagonist, Kit Livingson, is dragged into a paradigm when he meets his long missing, and presumed long since dead, great grandfather in a stormy deserted alley. Kit's plans to meet his adored Mina are derailed and his world will never be the same in this fantastic adventure involving paths to alternate dimensions and realities, and a cast of characters that pull you in and leave you wanting for more. Much to my surprise, my favorite character (Mina) was not one introduced in the very first few pages, nor one I thought I'd really like at all. I believe that in the next nove,l due out in September 2011, Mina's journey will be a fun one to see unfold. Although I suspect she may have broken a few hearts in the process of getting to where/when she is when we catch up with her next.

    As ever, Mr. Lawhead crafts a tale that engages, entices and delights the readers. While the premise of traveling through time and alternate realities can be a little confusing at first "The Skin Map" is an easy read, and fans of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon might just enjoy reading this story by Lawhead, This story lives up to the legacy of my previous experiences with Lawhead's work, and I can wholeheartedly recommend it to you!

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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