I have enjoyed The Skinner, it has been a fun read. It wasn’t what I expected, but this is due to the fact that I don’t like poking my nose in too many reviews prior reading a book, for fear of spoilers. Somehow along the line in this forum, I have picked up the Polity word linked to Asher’s books. Therefore, I had made the assumption that the political organisation and diplomatic games would be at the core of it. There was none of it. The strong points in TS were, in my view: the alien world of Spatterjay; a complete hostile environment inspired in marine fauna but taken to its worst diabolical version. It is the perfect background to set the story in motion and to pull it through. I have also liked how all the different characters were eventually led to participate in what constitutes the sole purpose of the book: the Skinner. How those un-spatterjeyed yet become so. I found the huge contrast in technology, from basic fishing boats to complex drones very ingenious. Hoopers’ immortality has meant a change in the concept and relationship with pain. Death traditionally sets the limits in conventional stories. Once removed, pain becomes somehow precious. It is a reminder of their vitality opposed to their immortal monotony. It has changed the currency in the story and I thought this was clever. I have absolutely loved the array of secondary characters: Sniper, the mafioso drone, the SMs, Windcheater, the sail, the Hive with its Jiminy Cricket attitude even Molly Carp. I wish the story would have dwelled more in them. I guess then, they would have stopped being secondary characters and become main ones. It would have been fine by me. In my view, the weak point in the story has been the characters development . They are well drawn but they didn’t grab me, and consequently this is why I have liked TS but not loved it. Whatever genre I read, it makes all the difference to me if I can connect with the main players, and in TS, I found them a bit disengaging, dispassionate, predictable. I might also be picky but there were some holes in the story, which distracted me: Keech the 700 years dead agent, how could he keep a sense of revenge and/or professional responsibility for this long, unless it is emotion based? Why does he wait to be almost dead (again) before self-transforming into cyberagent, a far more operative cop with a less disagreeable body and completed with emotions, in which he rejoices? I also wonder how the 1000 years Old Captains keep their sanity by going out and about with their menial fishing trips. I could neither care for Frisk, the she-badass was faaaaar too evil and dislikeable without any redeeming features, which would have allowed me to connect to some extend with her role. I knew from the beginning, she had to be doomed. Amber’s final story of the villain turned into a survival hero was a bit too convenient for me. There were also some contemporary allusions to fast food and Halloween, which I found them odd considering the setting. All said, the ending was great, and with Sniper somehow gaining control over the Warden AI made it for me.