|Author: Meagan Spooner|
|Genre: Science Fiction|
|Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab|
|Elements: Dystopian, post-apocalyptic world|
|Series: Book 1 in the Skylark series|
2012 has been a great year for the mishmash of post-apocalyptic, dystopian and science fiction books. Or maybe it's just me who isn't able to differentiate between their focus most of the time. Rest assured, there have been some gems among the selection out there.
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 is one of those gems. A book that I've read months ago, it has striking, memorable characters and some vivid settings that have stayed in my mind even while reading other, similar books. It's not an unwelcome memory, though the fact that I enjoyed it so much does seem to detract from my enjoyment of the current book, you know?
Now, I did dismiss it as just another book, and I was wrong! I seriously did not expect the story and characters to stay with me this long, and reading the sequel has only added to my love for the series.
Let's start with the pacing. They say that a good pacing of a story isn't noticeable, and this is true in Skylark's case. What I did notice was non-stop heightened tension once Lark was out of the Wall, and whoa! It's something to write about, the seriously nail-biting, hand-wringing, foot-jittering kind of tension.
From there, we delve into different worlds and different cities, and I loved the lush descriptions that only someone who's lived within an actual dome would describe the natural world. The characters were so distinct, and their developments grew over the course of the book. I found myself warming to them sooner rather than later, and their interactions soothed away this jaded self into accepting the finely crafted relationships.
What I appreciated most was that Lark was not the cookie-cutter, I-just-ventured-out-into-the-world-but-really-I'm-awesome-at-everything sort of protagonist. That type of protagonist grate (gently) on my nerves, having miraculously found a world where they effortlessly navigate through hurdles and social customs. What's the point of introducing new settings, new characters, new tribes if you're not going to have them clash once or twice with the protagonist?
That's who and what Lark is. She's both ordinary and extraordinary; when presented with a challenge, which is pretty much everything, she makes believable mistakes and falters in her attempts to reconcile herself with her new surroundings.
I, for one, couldn't wait to read the sequel, SHADOWLARK. Now that's another delectable treat I sank my teeth into, and that review is one for another day.