Series: Skylark #1
Author: Meagan Spooner
Reading level: Young Adult
Size: 344 pages
Release Date: August 1st 2012
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Publisher at BEA
Find It: Goodreads
| The Book Depository
The din of the clockwork was loudest in the old sewers, a great whirring and clanking of gears as the artificial sun warmed up.
Vis in Magia, In Vita Vi.
In magic there is power, and in power, life.
Sixteen year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen 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?
Skylark kept me spellbound from the moment I read the first paragraph. We jump right into the action as Lark sneaks through the abandoned underground sewer system to her school to find out if this is the time that she’ll finally be selected to be harvested. The pace of the novel never slows but rather continuously feeds the reader information and mystery in equal doses. What exactly is going on in the Institute? What is the world outside of the Wall really like? Who can Lark trust? And is there really an Iron Wood?
We puzzle through and solve all of these mysteries along with Lark, our incredibly strong willed and plucky heroine. I love how strong she is while still acting her emotional age. I also loved the conflicts inherent in the character of Oren, the “wild” boy she meets who takes her under his wing. He is such an amazingly compelling and complex character despite the little we actually “learn” about him. The secondary characters are also well drawn and intriguing…the perfect foils for Lark and Oren. And I can’t forget to mention Nix, the modified Pixie who travels with Lark and appears to not only be rapidly developing it’s own personality but to be struggling internally between following its programming or following its conscience. I kind of love this little bot.
The world building is perhaps Spooner’s greatest accomplishment. After some initial confusion, perhaps one chapter, it all started coming together for me and as fantastic as it was…it was also completely believable which is the sign of a great storyteller. An amazingly fleshed out world in the dome, leads to an immensely rich and large experience out in the wilds…and then the twists and turns keep it all fresh and exciting….until we finally arrive at that moment where we really can’t believe our eyes. How did we miss that??
This book is amazingly original and not afraid to cross genre boundaries. Is it Fantasy? Science Fiction? Steampunk? Paranormal? Post-Apocalyptic? Dystpopian? ” Zombie”? Yes! I love that Meagan Spooner doesn’t pigeonhole herself…she fearlessly incorporates the best of all of these genres and surprisingly…IT WORKS! She takes the best of them all and reworks them in the most original way to fit her paradigm.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this original and breathtaking book to anyone…Teen or Adult…there is something in Skylark for everyone!
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