Living in a cottage, Ash had an isolated life growing up. He lived with his father and stepmother and he was forbidden to go into the forest. That didn’t stop the forest from coming to him though, and Ash first saw the Folk at a young age. Their eyes and their whispers followed him and Ash grew to accept they were always there…until they weren’t. Ash never knew why the Folk stopped visiting, just like he doesn’t know why they return.
When tragedy comes to Ash’s door, the Folk reappear to take Ash with them and it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t want to go. Bound and dragged into the fae world, Ash is told he’s not fully mortal. When he’s brought in front of the Unseelie Ruler, who orchestrated his capture, Ash learns that he cannot leave the forest and that he must shed his mortal skin. Watching him is the ruler’s youngest son, Lonan, the beautiful, black-eyed prince known to the Folk as an assassin.
Ash doesn’t know who to trust and, with everyone speaking in riddles, he has no idea what he is supposed to do. But he wants to spend his time with Lonan and their stolen time together becomes an addiction neither one of them wants to escape. But Ash has been warned about Lonan, and Lonan’s entire family, and Ash when gives his heart away, it may end in heart break.
Mortal Skin is a really intriguing book from author Lily Mayne and the start of a trilogy. The book is set in contemporary times, but much of the story takes place in the fae world that is more primitive. The book is told entirely from Ash’s point of view and we meet him when he is a young boy playing alone outside with some special visitors as playmates. The Folk visited him as a child and that was just the way things were for him. As he got older, they stopped visiting and it’s not until he’s twenty-one years old and home from university that they return.
There are a few things to know about Ash: He has no idea why the Folk visited him as a child; he has no idea that he’s not fully mortal; and he never knew his mother and he never asked much about her at all (and I found that to be the aspect that was hardest to believe). Ash’s life is then completely upended as he is taken against his will into the fae world and it’s there this story continues its path.
Lonan is the dark and cold prince that the Folk claim is an assassin. Ash is drawn to him immediately. Since Lonan is tasked with keeping an eye on Ash, the two run into each other often and their relationship develops. They have a mixture of a sweet and heated relationship, for as intense as the chemistry is between them, they offer each other sweet gestures and moments of peace. The one thing these guys do not do is talk about anything real. Ash knows Lonan is keeping watch on him under orders of Lonan’s mother, the Unseelie Ruler, but Ash gets so caught up in all things Lonan when they are in private that he doesn’t want to ask the questions and that becomes his downfall. We do not get Lonan’s point of view at all, which hopefully we will get in book two because it is desperately needed, as there is so much going on with him, and Lonan remains dark and mysterious (maybe a little too mysterious) throughout the entire book
The Folk talk in riddles and Ash has no idea what he is truly supposed to do and who he can possibly trust and he tries to stay under the radar and survive. There are a lot of familiar themes here if you read books set in the fae world. There are also familiar beats within the genre, so much so that it was clear to me when the transition would happen to the next part of the story. There is also some foreshadowing here that was so obvious for me that I then knew what would happen, not exactly when or how it would happen, just that it would.
I also had questions, some large, some small, and I’ll have to wait to see if it all gets addressed because the book ends with a sharp cliffhanger. I know how many readers feel about cliffhangers, but I am okay with them as long as the next book is in production, which the author says at the end of the book that it is. Mortal Skin offers a great start to what looks to be an intense trilogy for reluctant heroes Ash and Lonan.