Thursday, August 09, 2012

Review: Skylark by Meagan Spooner

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I received this book for free from Lerner Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Skylark by Meagan SpoonerSkylark by Meagan Spooner
Series: Skylark #1
Published by Carolrhoda Lab on August 1st 2012
Source: Lerner Publishing Group
Buy on Amazon

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?

Combining magic, science-fiction, and a scary futuristic setting, Skylark is original in its concept that brings forth a dark, twisted world where magic, and monsters, run rampant.

I was wary at first because I wasn’t sure how well the mix of dystopian and magic would mingle, but I found myself quite captivated by it all, though this did not happen right away. At the very start there’s a lot of confusion when it comes to the world building: What exactly is this harvesting and why is it done? Where does the magic come from? How does society live before and after the harvesting? These are some of the questions that accumulates after the first few chapters, making it hard to get into initially. Due to this showing rather than telling style of development, it takes a while to discern the world that Lark is trying to escape, as well as the one she’s newly entering, but we do get there eventually. It’s plenty frightening from the very beginning, however, even disturbing at times, which is what kept me immersed in this terrible future our kind now resides in. Being a big fan of darker dystopians, I just knew this was going to be one heck of a ride.

After a little while, once the story gets going, the world building becomes clearer, and my confusion turned into pure excitement at the acknowledgment of all that is lurking in this unforgiving world. I especially enjoyed the addition of magic. Even though I’m not convinced of its foundation, it’s impressive with unimaginable potential for plot developments in following installments – where I also hope to get a further look into the magic’s conception: Where it originates, and how it went about changing our world so drastically. We are told some, but only vaguely so. In addition to this magic that powers machines and sustains cities, we’re propelled into such a dreary world, a vast emptiness that, once full of life, is inhabited by nothing but dangerous beasts – both mechanical and unnatural. This is what Lark has to journey in, following cryptic directions to escape a life of torture.

This grim and threatening world is made extremely vivid by the brilliant descriptions that Meagan uses to lure us into it. It’s hard to not get engrossed in a story where wonderful imagery illustrates everything so clearly; the desolation is sensed, and the wilderness is a character in itself. Walking these wastelands are Lark and Nix – her pixie companion – who make the perfect team to lead this story. Lark is not an especially strong heroine, yet she’s believable. She’s just an average girl in the wild; she gets startled easily and she’s sometimes careless, but she’s not unintelligent. I found her very easy to like as we get to see a lot of her true self throughout her journey, and she does grow quite a bit while learning from her experiences. Oren, however, is the most intriguing character with his mysterious and ominous vibe, making him an instant favorite. The direction that Meagan takes these characters and the plot is both unexpected and unpredictable.

In a wonderful fantasy and science-fiction atmosphere, Skylark brings something unique and satisfying to the dystopian genre. Don’t hesitate to pick this one up!


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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37 Responses to “Review: Skylark by Meagan Spooner”

  1. Sarah Elizabeth

    Ooh, I have a copy of this to review, I absolutely loved the soundof it from the blurb, and I like the sound oof it even more after reading your review!
    Thanks Giselle!

  2. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    This sounds neat! A future with magic powering the city. Although Lark being a renewable battery would cause problems. Cool that the have magic but can’t they get power elsewhere too? lol I do enjoy a dark disturbing dystopian read.

  3. Sam

    Ooh I really like the sound of this! The blend of genres is always interesting, better still when when the author actually manages to pull it off. Great review, Giselle! I will have to get a copy of this ASAP. 🙂

  4. Nick

    I’ve seen this book around, but I never thought about checking it out. Now that I’ve read your review though, I might actually get one. You’ve completely changed my mind, Giselle. I had no idea that this book was so brilliant. Although the world-building sounds a little confusing initially, it also sounds very exciting. I can’t wait to meet the ominous sounding Oren.
    Thank you for the very convincing review, Giselle. 🙂

  5. Meg K.

    Yet another rave review! So glad to hear that you enjoyed this one, Giselle! I’ve been seeing a lot of good reviews for SKYLARK, so I can wait until I get my hands on a copy of my own. 🙂 I was also a little hesitant about the whole dystopia/magic thing, but I’m pretty sure it’ll work out now.

    Great review!

  6. Amy

    This sounds really great!! I love when the descriptions are really detailed and you can really get wrapped up in. The characters sound great too. I like it when the MC is believable and easy to like. Fab review as always chick!!

  7. Katie @ BlookGirl

    Great review, Giselle! I’ve been excited about Skylark for a while and can’t believe I haven’t read it yet, despite the fact I’ve had it on my Nook for months >.< Thanks for the reminder!

    I’m a big fan of fantasy and dystopian settings, so I’m looking forward to seeing how Meagan has combined the two!

  8. Shane

    Wonderful review. I’ve gotten some swags for this book a few days ago and can’t wait until i can get my hands on a copy so thanks for the giveaway.

  9. Smash Attack!

    I haven’t heard of this one yet! I am loving the idea of magic being incorporated into the story, and happy to hear the world-building excited you. WOOT!

  10. Silverlight

    This sounds really good. I think I saw this somewhere, to review. Hmmm. will have to check my pile of review books…

    Great review as usual, and great giveaway!

  11. Carina

    I have to admit that I never really cared too much about SKYLARK – it just didn’t sound like something I’d love to read, but your review is just slowly making me think otherwise. Thanks a lot for sharing, my dear!

  12. danya

    Sounds like this one’s a little tough to get into, but one of those books that pays off if you stick with it! Thanks very much for the giveaway 🙂

  13. Danny

    I love this mix of genres! I am always a fan when an author goes beyond certain genre rules and creates something unique! Glad you liked this one so much – I think I do have to check it out after all!!

  14. Beth Wade

    Thanks for the review! I had seen this one on shelves/blogs, but not heard anyone’s personal take. I’m intrigued about the mix of magic and dystopian themes.

  15. The Vintage Bookworm

    This is the first time, I believe, that I’ve seen this around. It sounds pretty interesting. I’ll have to check up more information about it and maybe add it to my list. =)

    Great review! I’m really glad you liked it. It sounds amazing with your review.

  16. Melliane

    Oh I didn’t know this one but it sounds nice, I love the cover. I haven’t read a lot of dystopian yet and with magic I’m sure it must be interesting. thanks for the review!

  17. Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue

    Wow! To be honest with SO many books coming out this summer, this one wasn’t really on my radar, but your review has TOTALLY changed my mind, Giselle! You’ve got me completely excited for this one, with its mix of magic and dystopian! Whee! Great review!

  18. Shooting Stars Mag

    I don’t know if I’d enjoy this one or not. I’m glad it’s a unique novel though. It seems like so many books are rehashes of similar ideas, whether done on purpose or not (one major flaw with publishing taking so long LOL). I’m glad you enjoyed it though.

  19. Candace

    This unique concept definitely got my attention! I’m glad that even though initially it was a bit confusing, it cleared up and became exciting. I’m looking forward to this one!