A novel by Neal Shusterman, and the sequel to Everwild.The final novel of The Skinjacker Trilogy.As Mary Hightower slumbers in a glass coffin, waiting to be reborn back into Everlost, her allies and henchmen begin to carry out her terrible mission. Mary's army is joined by a newcomer: Jix, a spy for the Mayan King of Everlost. A furjacker who skinjacks great cats, Jix has his own agenda.Meanwhile, Mikey McGill desperately tries to rescue Allie the Outcast. At his side is Nick the "Chocolate Ogre," who has become pure chocolate and hardly remembers himself at all. Mikey encounters a creature that scares even the mighty McGill: a scar wraith, whose touch can extinguish an Afterlight forever.It becomes clear that the outcome will determine not just the fate of Everlost, but the fate of the living world as well.Critically acclaimed author Neal Shusterman brings to a close a trilogy that Kirkus Reviews called "beautiful and imaginative" with this stunning final volume.Has a Character Sheet.
This series provides examples of:
Achievements in Ignorance: An odd variation combined with Reality Warper. The ruler of the City of Souls is sometimes known as The Unremembering King due to his ability to "unremember things". How this works is if the king says he does not remember something, then it ceases to exist. For example, he doesn't remember that Afterlights with red hair aren't parrots, so they sprout red parrot wings. He doesn't remember not being a powerful Mayan king, so he becomes one. When falling from the Hindenberg, he tries to save himself by unremembering being able to fall down, so he is instantly in the one place where there is no "down" to fall toward - the center of the earth.
Afraid of Blood: The reason Rotsie decides to suffocate Allie's body instead of using a weapon.
And the Adventure Continues: Nick becomes a guide for all new Afterlights, Jix and Jill go on to be together and teach a new generation of skinjackers, and Allie skinjacks her comatose body, effectively coming back to life.
Animal Motifs/Transformation Conventions: As a furjacker, Jix prefers to possess animals and his body has shifted in a more cat-like manner, developing spots on his body and grown fangs, his ears shifted higher, and his skin has the feel of fur.
Anyone Can Die: Whether they're sent to the center of the earth—which is close enough to "dying" for an Afterlight—or get extinguished—"absolute death."
And I Must Scream: Inverted: The worse fate an Afterlight can experience is being absolutely extinguished by a scar wraith.
Also inverted in that becoming trapped in the center of the earth for all eternity is maybe the second or third best thing to happen to an Afterlight (the first being "going into the light"), due to Afterlights becoming "one with themselves", which gives them the infinite patience needed to wait until the end of the world.
The Atoner: After being the indirect cause of a little girl's death, Jix makes it his responsibility to look after the girl and apologize her to after she wakes up from her nine-month-hibernation.
Bittersweet Ending/Earn Your Happy Ending: Many Afterlights—including Mikey—choose to follow the light, but Mikey promises Allie that he'll waiting for her. Mary refuses to enter the light and seals herself away in a refrigerator heading to the center of the earth rather than admit that she was wrong. Jix and Jill are reunited, Allie returns to her comatose body and reunites with her mother, and Nick takes over Mary's place as leader of Everlost.
Book Ends: Everfound ends with Nick telling an Afterlight that he has died and inviting him to stay in the Twin Towers, telling him just wait till he sees the view—similar to how Nick, Allie, and Lief were first introduced there in Everlost.
Nick, Allie, and Jill all develop more humility following their "transformations"—Nick being turned to complete chocolate, Allie having gotten stuck furjacking a coyote for a while, and Jill being forced to furjack a pig for weeks.
Milos and Mary end up getting their haughtiness broken as well.
Continuity Nod: Lacey appears to be the girl who fell over her laces at the end of Everlost.
Though Afterlights are already dead, a single touch from a scar wraith can extinguish them forever, rendering them unable to pass through the tunnel to the light and instead sealing them to an absolute death. It is for this reason that Mikey, of all people, is afraid when Nick and he are caught by one. Squirrel learns this the hard way.
When Allie tells Jix that she plans to eventually skinjack into her own comatose body to get her life back, Jix warns her that once a skinjacker jumps into their real bodies, they can never leave it until they die. He explains that a friend of his did the exact same thing, but his friend's real body had brain damage and a ruined leg and couldn't speak or barely walk and ended up becoming a street beggar.
Over fifty Afterlights are purposely drowned and sent to the center of the earth.
Poor, poor Jill is forced to furjack a pig for weeks. Subverted in that she is eventually freed from her fate by Jix.
Rotsie falls down from an elevator shaft down to a parking lot garage, inevitably sinking to the center of the earth.
Allie euthanized Milos' and Moose's comatose bodies, rendering them unable to skinjack. The latter is relieved, but the former gets tossed aside by Mary and falls into a routine and forgets everything about himself. And made all the more worse when Mary convinces Milos to willingly extinguish himself.
Green-Eyed Monster: When Nick mentions to Milos that Mary and he were in love, Milos convinces Nick that he is Mary's soulmate and that Nick is in love with Jackin' Jill instead. Nick later figures out that Milos was lying.
Meaningful Echo: Allie's mother is finally given permission to cry as she is reunited with her daughter is reminiscent of Milos's mother finally given permission to cry after losing her son.
Meaningful Name: Jix names the little girl that he indirectly killed "Inez" after his own younger sister, who is alive in the human world.
Official Couple: Jix and Jill. Mikey and Allie. Double subverted in that Mikey moves on to the light because it is his time and Allie eventually returns to her comatose body, but Mikey promises Allie that he'll be waiting for her.
Reverse Mole: Jix. Jill leaves Mary's group, but rejoins it at Jix's request to keep an eye on Mary.
The refrigerator that Mary sends herself to the center of the Earth in, and its location amidst the ruins of a nuclear test town, can't be an accident.
Starcrossed Lovers: Nick and Mary. Mary ultimately chooses to seal herself in a refrigerator sinking to the center of the earth rather than admit that she was wrong. Mikey and Allie could count as this, but they are much more likely to have a "happy ending."
Thank you so very much for your e-mail. This is Mary Hightower. I hope you don’t mind, but I have taken over this e-mail address, and am keeping excellent track of all those who send me e-mail. My skinjackers will be visiting you sometime soon. Not to worry, they’re all so very, very friendly, and I promise it won’t hurt at all. I look forward to meeting you soon. Respectfully, Miss Mary Hightower. P.S. – you may want to wear comfortable clothes, and put things in your pocket you want to take with you. :-)
Your Mind Makes It Real: Nick has great strength at one point because he believes he does. It is also strongly hinted that the reason scar wraiths destroy afterlights is because they believe that they will be destroyed by contact with them. ...Which implies that a clueless, ignorant fool would be able to touch a Skin Wraith.