Book Review: Spark
Published By: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: July 27, 2012
Page Count: 309
Source: Amazon Vine UK
Audience: Young Adult - Science Fiction
Spark is the second book in the Skychasers series. Book one, Glow, introduced two ships of colonists headed towards New Earth - the Empyrean and New Horizons. They were both prepared for a journey lasting several generations, wherein the children and grandchildren of the original colonists would be the ones to establish themselves on the new planet in the future. During Glow, the two ships came into conflict with each other - the New Horizons crew became unable to reproduce and kidnapped female children from the Empyrean to try and start new bloodlines without the fertility issues. The story was told through the eyes of the eldest two children; Waverly and Kieran, and witnessed their attempts to survive in the absence of the adult members of their crew.
I found it fascinating to watch how Waverly and Kieran developed as adults. In Glow, they were in love and destined to be together forever. Then a bunch of rather horrifying stuff happened, particularly to Waverly, and finally they were reunited. In Spark, much time was spent dealing with the aftermath of Glow's events, and how both characters were affected. I loved watching that; I particularly connected with Waverly this time around, which was surprising as I didn't like her much in Glow. She seemed to be the only one with their head screwed on right for a while, but she also suffered through some very dark times. I watched with horror as Kieran let the power of running the Empyrean go to his head. He truly walked close to the line several times. I liked how Seth, initial tyrannical leader of the crew of children, gained depth and warmth after his fall from power, and all in all, I feel like Spark enriched most of the characters for the better; from the kid who was desperately trying to be the ship's doctor and save gravely ill characters, to the first officer who refuses to leave his post... there were a lot of characters to get behind and root for.
What I found really interesting about Spark, was that there was a subtle but powerful exploration of desperation and its effects on people. Characters were repeatedly pushed to the mental and physical brink of what they could tolerate, and a few snapped. Some became pretty comfortable with violence and others became coldly calculating. I also really enjoyed the sense of powerlessness that I was sucked in to, because it made me feel strongly connected to the crew of the spaceship Empyrean.
Anne Mather, leader of the rival spaceship New Horizon, has also proved to be a worthy opponent for the crew of the Empyrean. I absolutely loathe her!! She is a fabulous villain; she is at times totally evil, and at others, utterly reasonable. It makes me question what on (New) Earth is going on!!
I kind of feel a sense of despair about how the next book in the series will play out though. I love this series, and I find it deeply satisfying to read, but the ending of Spark has left the crew of the Empyrean in a state that can only be rectified by dealing directly with a pressure cooker environment. I can't see how they will come through the other side yet. But oh my goodness, I can't wait to find out!!
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 fiancé? 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...