Saturday, 19 July 2014

Review: Skylark (Skylark #1) by Meagan Spooner Synopsis:
Sixteen-year-old Lark Ainsley has never see the sky.

Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed barrier of energy enclosing all that’s left of humanity. For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children's innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.

Forced to flee the only home she knows to avoid life as a human battery, Lark must fight her way through the terrible wilderness beyond the edge of the world. With the city’s clockwork creations close on her heels and a strange wild boy stalking her in the countryside, she must move quickly if she is to have any hope of survival. She’s heard the stories that somewhere to the west are others like her, hidden in secret—but can she stay alive long enough to find them?

Meagan Spooner has hit the nail on the head with this book. It has the originality that everyone craves for in the YA genre with so many dystopian and paranormal books being released; the concept makes it standout like nothing else could.

The idea of a government that uses the Harvest as a rite of passage for children to pass into adulthood following with the rest of their lives is very interesting. I should mention that the Harvest is when children are stripped of their magic which then goes to powering the machinery, along with supporting the walled dome surrounding the city. No one knew what they were being protected from, and they didn’t see what they were being forced to do as wrong because tragically they knew no different. Lark Ainsley was the same, until she sees past the government’s lies to the real sacrifices being made; and she refuses to be sacrificed.

In a way Skylark is a journey of self-discovery but considering that she never discovers the full truth of what/who she is, I don’t think it really counts. Lark is a likeable heroine if a little na├»ve, but Spooner portrayed this well with the way she subtly hinted at Lark’s lack of general knowledge about the times before the war, and outside the wall.

One thing I can say for sure is that Lark has a seriously bad taste in boys, maybe you could class it as bad luck but either way I don’t see a very good future with either Kris or Oren. Without giving away why this is, and boy do I want to, I’ll say that it’s hard to tell someone’s motives when they’re just as confused about them. Mysterious enough for you?

Nix is another character I really liked, and it/his/her (I always thought of Nix as female but being a machine Spooner always said “it”) presence saved the book for me. Near the beginning when Lark is wondering through the woods alone, even beautiful writing like Spooner’s can’t always prevent the dragging feeling, and I’m so grateful that Nix’s had such an entertaining personality if you can call it that. When Oren enters the picture this is changed completely, and you look forward to those scenes where you see just a little more of him, and I would never have seen this myself had I given up.

This book is well worth the read, particularly if you are the kind of reader who likes a book they can sink into and walk alongside the character on their journey feeling every desperate moment and aching heart like it’s your own. Spooner’s imagery is incredibly vivid and leaves nothing to the imagination, which I loved and if this is the same for you, definitely go and pick this book up.
Favourite Quotes:
“Vis in magia, in vita vi.” In magic there is power, and in power, life.”

“I don't want to be kept safe! I don't want to have someone constantly trying to keep me from tripping on my own incompetence. I want to live in a world where I know the rules, where people are just people. Not one where they keep trying to eat me. That's the reason I left the city in the first place. I don't want to be kept, not by anyone.”

“With a pang, I realized I missed more the feeling of belonging than I missed my actual family – I had never realized that even as the odd one out, I was still a part of a greater whole.”

“I’d spent my life until now as a cog in one person’s machine – could I turn around and become the instrument of another.”

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