Book Review: Skin Cage by Nico Laeser

There’s a line in this book that triggered a memory of a dream I had many years ago after my dad died.

“Maybe when we are ready to let go of our memories, we are allowed to move on.’

Now I can’t get the dream or the line out of my head.

That’s the kind of book Skin Cage is; the haunting melody of forgotten dreams and things we should have left behind but clutch tightly to ourselves in a vain attempt to maintain some sense of self in a twisting environment.  But in the final analysis, you’re never who you were.  Like trying to cross the same river twice, you will always become the sum of an ever-shifting array of values from your past.

“Daniel Stockholm was fifteen years old when a parasite hijacked his brain, rendering him paralyzed and reliant on machines that run day and night to keep him alive. For nine years, Danny has been confined within a biological prison with only two small windows, through which to view the world around him; a silent witness to the selfless compassion of some and the selfish contrivance of others. When the malicious actions of care worker, Marcus Salt, threaten to push Danny farther from the ones he loves, and deeper into the dark recesses of his skin cage, he is left with only one option. He must find a way out.”

I had to chew on this book overnight to come up with a review that would do it justice.  It’s an engaging story, especially considering for the first part of it our hero largely cannot communicate with anyone at all.  He’s a pure sensory input with little to no output capabilities at all, but Daniel is not without skills honed from years of being stuck in his skin cage.  The first part of the book is great.

The middle and end of the book are phenomenal, but you’ll just have to read it to find out why.

Skin Cage is well written, engaging, and difficult to put down.  Physically it’s easy to read, the text is smooth and Nico has an excellent command of language.  The mental aspects of reading are more difficult.  It’s the kind of story you’ll continue to think about long after you’ve finished it and that’s a rare thing in a book.

It’s the kind of book I wish I could write.

©2015, Nico Laeser

©2015, Nico Laeser

As an aside, not only is Nico a bang-up writer, he’s an amazing illustrator.  The illustration for the cover is one of his works.  If you want to see some more of his art, check out his Tumblr feed.

Follow Nico on Twitter (his banner on Twitter is one of his prints, too, and is among the most amazing pictures ever made)

Buy a copy of Skin Cage (it’s available in ebook and print)


6 thoughts on “Book Review: Skin Cage by Nico Laeser

  1. An excellent and well developed review Eric. I thoroughly enjoyed Skin Cage and was moved by the story – and trust me, that takes skill. Humour can make me laugh, and work like your own Henchmen series brings a continuous smile, but there was something deep and disturbing about this tale. Perhaps like you, I was able to imagine myself in Daniel’s position … I don’t know, but it was powerful and I like your take on it.

  2. Pingback: Book Review – Harmonic: Resonance by Nico Laeser | Eric Lahti

  3. Pingback: Book Review – Enablers Anonymous by Nico Laeser | Eric Lahti

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