The Skeleth: The Nethergrim, Book 2

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
The Skeleth: The Nethergrim, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Pace and emotional depth increase in medieval fantasy.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The Skeleth explores familiar situations from myth and legend.

Positive Messages

Love sometimes injures the one who loves but is worth the pain. Love cannot be taken, only given.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tom, Edmund, and Katherine each face mortal danger with bravery and resourcefulness. Edmund is lured by the power of treachery, but he's able to find his way back from it.

Violence

The Skeleth contains violent scenes, but they are usually understated and appropriate for the book's reading level. Katherine's father is enslaved by the Skeleth and turned into a monster. A character is badly wounded in a jousting match. There's a big battle with heavy casualties on each side.

Sex

Edmund has a growing romantic interest in Katherine, but she's infatuated with someone else.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Skeleth is a medieval fantasy novel for younger readers, solidly constructed and featuring appealing characters. It is the second volume in the Nethergrim trilogy by Matthew Jobin. The Skeleth contains violent scenes, but they are usually understated and appropriate for the book's reading level. Katherine's father is enslaved by the Skeleth and turned into a monster. A character is badly wounded in a jousting match. There's a battle with heavy casualties on each side. No sexual content other than an unrequited crush.

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What's the story?

Edmund, Katherine, and Tom barely have time to savor victory against the ancient evil of the Nethergrim before they're torn in different directions. Expert horse trainer Katherine is forced to become a scullery maid. Runaway slave Tom finds an ancient hero whose time may have passed long ago. Would-be wizard Edmund is seduced by the power of magic. Meanwhile, ambitious and ruthless Lord Wolland helps free the Skeleth, supernatural beings who merge with the bodies of their human victims and turn them into remorseless killers. As the forces of good and evil prepare to face off in Edmund's home village, the three young protagonists use their individual expertise to help their allies.

Is it any good?

In this second volume, author Matthew Jobin gives his characters additional emotional depth and makes their individual adventures more suspenseful and compelling. Telling this tale of high fantasy from the perspectives of three young protagonists proves an excellent strategy, lending the saga added urgency as each character defines his or her destiny. It's a rare middle volume of a fantasy trilogy that improves upon its initial premise, but THE SKELETH devises new complications that bode extremely well for the final installment. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why epic fantasy is so popular. What kinds of issues is the genre able to address?

  • Does power corrupt those who wield it? How can citizens ensure that their leaders represent their best interests?

  • Why are people sometimes willing to make sacrifices for others? What does it mean to be a hero?

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