Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Title: Spark
Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: July 17, 2012
Pages: 320 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: ARC received through Amazon Vine.
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon; Barnes & Noble; Book Depository

Waverly and Kieran are finally reunited on the Empyrean. Kieran has led the boys safely up to this point, and now that the girls are back, their mission seems slightly less impossible: to chase down the New Horizon, and save their parents from the enemy ship. But nothing is truly as it seems…Kieran’s leadership methods have raised Seth’s hackles— and Waverly’s suspicions. Is this really her fiancĂ©? The handsome, loving boy she was torn from just a short time before? More and more, she finds her thoughts aligned with Seth’s. But if Seth is Kieran’s Enemy No. 1, what does that make her?

In one night, a strange explosion rocks the Empyrean—shooting them off course and delaying their pursuit of the New Horizon—and Seth is mysteriously released from the brig. Seth is the most obvious suspect for the explosion, and Waverly the most obvious suspect for releasing him. As the tension reaches a boiling point, will Seth be able to find the true culprit before Kieran locks them both away—or worse? Will Waverly follow her heart, even if it puts lives at risk? With the balance of power precarious and the clock ticking, every decision counts… every step brings them closer to a new beginning, or a sudden end...


Some call me crazy for continuing to read certain series even though I hated or felt ambivalent about a first book. True, the way that habit most often manifests in relation to me is more often masochistic than curious, but then there are books like Spark. I had a quite a few issues with Glow and didn't feel much for it, but Spark really reeled me in and impressed me far more. This is one of those rare times the habit did something good for me.

Though Ryan's prose still retains a certain robotic feel to it that can keep readers from becoming fully engaged, the emotional intensity of her story increased tenfold and its pacing sped up. Waverly and Kieran put their morals behind them even further in order to create scapegoats, torture men because it feels good, retain power, and more. Their characters reek of complex desperation and I couldn't get enough of it. What's Seth doing? Not much, just hiding out, sneaking around, and getting the snot beaten out of him a few times. His narrative didn't add too much, in my opinion.

The state of the Empyrean is fragile at best and crumbling at worst with a saboteur on board and no solid government after the girls' return. With a scant few adults still alive and none of them in any condition to do anything on the ship, the children have to take charge of everything, including the positions of Central Council members and Justice of the Peace. These kids have been forced to grow up so much in a few short months that I often forgot it was children twelve and younger were behaving in such cruel, obscene (obscene like graffiti of Waverly giving people sexual favors) ways. They seemed so much older.

Early on in the novel, when some recap is being done on what happened in Glow, this gets said: "[...]; the lab where they'd operated on Waverly, taken the most essential part of her to create their next generation of apostles;[...]" (ARC p. 9-10). The "essential part of her" they took being the eggs in her ovaries. I wish you could have seen my face when I came across that.

A woman's baby-making organs are not the most essential part of her! You know what are probably the most essential parts of her? Her heart. Her lungs. Her brain. You know, those organs that keep the rest of the organs (like the baby-making organs) going. In the grand scheme of one human woman's body--not an entire species, just one member of it--her eggs mean absolutely nothing. One could argue that was Waverly thinking that and not the narrative, but this novel is told in third-person omniscient, meaning it's a separate narrator speaking. Narrative support of gross ideas does not a happy me make.

My only other complaint takes up far less space. The first three chapters build up a tense mood with the detailing of what feels like an explosion through Seth's, Waverly's, and Kieran's points of view. What does it turn out to be? A thruster misfire! The anticlimactic resolution of that problem so early in the novel frustrated me, though the thruster misfire turned out to be a sign of sabotage about fifty pages later. Both of my concerns were actually small in the overall picture, but they took more words to explain. I really did like the novel, y'all.

With yet another cliffhanger ending, fans will be hyped up for the next book in Ryan's series and I happily count myself among those anticipating it. Thank goodness for second chances!

4 stars!

What am I reading next?: Silence by Michelle Sagara

1 comment:

  1. I'm surprised to hear Spark is so much better than Glow! I wasn't a fan of the first either.


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