Title: Skylark (Skylark Trilogy Book 1)
Author: Meagan Spooner
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Synopsis: All her life Lark has lived sheltered within a dome enclosed city powered by magic. The last human survivors of a war of magic that left the land surrounding the city a barren, desolate place. All she wanted in life was to be “harvested” of her magic so that she could finally grow up and become a productive member of the community, but when long buried secrets and lies come to light Lark must flee the city into the wilderness that Lark knows nothing about. If she doesn’t she risks becoming nothing more than the cities power supply. Lark has only two instructions: find the Iron Wood, and follow the birds. Only one problem, Lark has never seen a bird in her life. So far as she’s concerned birds are all but extinct.
Book Trailer: *Note: I did not make this trailer, Lerning Publisher did.*
Review: A blend of science fiction and fantasy, Skylark takes place in a future where everyone is born with a small amount of magic that is later “harvested” to power the city. The beginning of this story is confusing, and the middle was slow. So slow in fact, that I almost gave up on the book. Readers who are looking for a fast passed book should look elsewhere. The true genius of this book was in it’s ending. In the last third, I was able to clearly see how everything that had happened thus far had been building towards it. I just adore books where everything comes together at the end. As a result, if I was reviewing just the first two thirds of this book it would have a three rating, but if I was only reviewing the last third it would receive a four point five. So anyone struggling with this book should be sure to keep reading for the awesome ending.
The world building was done fairly well, although it was confusing at times. Lark wasn’t extremely aware of the world she lived in and readers had to find out facts about life outside the city wall with her. This led to many of Lark’s original assumptions being proven wrong. At the beginning the world seemed a little cliche (because of the dome city, the war that wiped out most of humanity, and the evaluation process that led to nothing good) but it moved away from that as the story progressed.
As for characters, Lark did get on my nerves sometimes (as in the whole of parts one and two), but her personality was what I would expect from someone in her situation. Which made her feel ultimately more realistic than annoying. The author did a great job of giving the general personalities of her side characters that were in the book for a relatively short number of pages. There were also some very interesting twists to character development. Some of which were predictable to the well read reader and some that were not.
There’s no way I’m going to spoil the ending for any future readers but I will say this: there was no cliffhanger. Some questions are left unanswered, it’s true, but there is little doubt that those questions will come to play later on in the trilogy. The reader is also left with a general sense that the book is a complete story but the reader was still left wondering what happens next which is my idea of a perfect ending.
Romance in this book was kept to a minimum. Every time I had a feeling that a relationship might develop something seemed to prevent it. However, I suspect that there may be more romance in future books. For a while it even looked like there might have been a love triangle but then Meagan Spooner took the story in a whole new direction. It was also nice how Lark eventually got upset when boys tried to keep her safe. (As illustrated by the quote below.) So if you are looking for a series that doesn’t revolve around romance but it is not entirely absent this might be a good read.
Quote: “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.”
Rating/Recommendation: There were enough interesting elements in this book to give me the impression that Meagan Spooner is indeed a competent writer, however, because this book lagged so much in pacing that it took me over a month to finish I feel as though I can’t give it above a 3.5/5. Although, after that ending I really wanted to give it a four. I recommend this book to readers of YA who are tired of recurring romance cliche but are willing to read through the slow beginning and middle for the awe-inspiring conclusion.