Series: The Skylark Trilogy #1
Published by Carolrhoda Lab on August 1st 2012
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?
Lately, I have been down in the dumps about reading. Books that normally would get me out of my funk have done nothing to help. Picking up Skylark, I thought, 'Hmm, something so familiar yet different. Let's see what this book can do.' And oh, boy, was it an adventure.
Skylark is one of those reads that you really cannot put your finger on. Dystopian, magical, and science fiction elements all tossing and turning together to create this new type of read. It was new… fresh… exciting exploring the world that Spooner created. But, and this may be a big but, there was a downside to all the elements coming together. Skylark, at times, was overwhelming.
The tale opens easily enough. Readers are introduced to Lark and the idea of the harvest. According to this world, everyone is infused with a bit of magic (or resource), and once you come of age, you are harvested. This harvest takes away your magic, but in doing so, you are assisting the livelihood of the community. The concept seem cut and dry, right? Wrong. Beneath the surface, everyone, even Lark, has their own agenda. Some driving force pressing them forward. And these forces are creating one heck of a battle.
Spooner does exceptional work crafting the world and its characters. I loved how I never really knew what to expect. No one is exactly what they seem. Oh, sure there were clues. But I never saw half of the surprises coming. However, my excitement with the surprises was a bit diminished by the complexity of the magic and the harvest. All these factors came together in a way that was almost too much. With parts overly explored and other parts having too many unanswered questions, the balance for Skylark, at times, was off. Leaving my brain feeling a little overloaded.
That feeling changed drastically in the later half of Skylark. Honestly, I am not sure if is because of the location change or if I had become more accustomed to Spooner's world, but the second half of the book was a whole lot easier to swallow.
Skylark is one of those books that I could probably talk a long time about… but I won't because then it would ruin the surprises. And oh, yes, Skylark has plenty of surprises. If I was disappointed by the overwhelming beginning, then the surprises that are introduced later in the book completely make up for it. In a lot of ways, I feel as if Skylark was a book that I need to get adjusted to. And once that adjustment period passed, I was able to really open up to the book and enjoy everything new that Spooner has brought to the table.