Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Becky's View: Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan

♦publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
♦release date: July 17th, 2012
♦hardcover, 309 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Sky Chasers, book 2
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...

Review: So...I'm going to be upfront about this: I didn't read Glow.  After seeing a few mixed reviews of it, I still meant to read it, but it just kept getting put on the back burner again and again.  When I received Spark for review with the promise that it was even better than Glow...well, I decided to take my chances and jump right into Spark. To be fair, if I hadn't liked it, I wouldn't have reviewed it at all, giving it the benefit of the doubt that maybe I didn't like it because I'd skipped the first and missed important details. But that was not the case with Spark. After just reading a bit of a summary for Glow, Spark had just enough clever flashing back to the action of Glow for me to not only follow the continuing plot, but to become fully immersed in it.

The story is told from a third person POV, with each chapter alternating between the three main characters: Seth, Waverly, and Kieran.  With so much intense action going on, and so much conflict and emotion running rampant through the story, this was the perfect way for it to be told. You really get a feel for how each one of them thinks, the mental processing behind all their rash decisions and actions.  Even as much as you get angry and want to smack some sense into certain characters, you can see how they have justified it in their own minds.  The three of them, along with the entire population of kids on the Empyrean have one single goal---to get back their parents from the New Horizon, the ship where they're being held hostage.  But all have different ideas of how to do it, whose to blame for them being left behind, and who to follow.  This leads to a dirty power struggle: Kieran overlooks his own morals to hold onto his captain's chair while attempting to outsmart the evil Ann Mather; Waverly rails against him for abusing his power as captain, while fighting off ugly accusations and harrassment about leaving the parents behind, and Seth is just trying to stay alive and prove his own innocence in the sabotage that is happening on the ship. It's heartbreaking to see them all forced to deal with much more than they should have to as mere kids, and in some cases, to see them make such crucial mistakes.   On top of that,  Kieran and Waverly both struggle with the fact that they've seemingly become enemies,  and Seth and Waverly grapple with growing feelings for each other.  And all the while, a new and vicious danger lurks on the ship that will change everything.

It's definitely an exciting and intense ride through space, a story of power, bravery, determination, and loss.  Spark has convinced me to go back and read Glow, and I'll definitely be continuing this series when the third hits shelves!

Visit Amy Kathleen Ryan: Website  •  Facebook

Purchase Spark at:   Amazon  •  BN.com  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound


  1. I love when a book can stand on it's own legs. Great review.

  2. Hm I must admit I listened to the audio and then stopped.. I couldn't completely get into the story, was totally disappointed in Keiran and also Waverly changed so much... I do love Seth though!
    After reading your review I think I go back to it, maybe I love it more when I'm in another mood!

  3. I loved Spark! Though I absolutely hated Kieran, what an awful guy. Glad you ended up enjoying this book! Would you consider going back and reading Glow? I'm already excited about book three now, can't wait to find out how everything ends.

  4. awesome review, i hadn't seen a lot about this one.