Saturday, September 15, 2012

Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan

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...(from GoodReads)

I thought Glow, the predecessor to Spark, was an excellent science fiction novel. I'm not usually a fan of spaceships and the like, but I really enjoyed this story. There was mystery, power struggles, a strong female protagonist, even hints of romance. It was a lot deeper than I expected, even delving into aspects of human nature. And luckily for me, Spark was just as good!

I was so happy that Spark didn't fall victim to the Middle Book Syndrome. For most of Glow, the girls and adults are on the enemy ship of the New Horizon, while power struggles emerge between Seth and Kieran and the rest of the young boys on the Empyrean. But in Spark, Waverly and Kieran are finally reunited but spend most of the book at odds. They are supposed to be engaged, but it appears that after what they went through in the last book, they have many different opinions. What I liked about Spark is that it switched POVs between Seth, Waverly and Kieran, so we get to see the motivations behind all of their actions. And while I didn't always like what they did, I understood completely why they did it. That's a rare quality in a book, to understand the main characters so fully. A lot of the situations weren't black and white, and Amy Kathleen Ryan did a great job of filling in the gray.

I loved how the book delved into some really deep issues. Topics that were discussed were the use of power, the right way to lead a population, peace vs. violence, the use of torture, medical rape, death of parents, Amy Kathleen Ryan covered it all. Since all the adults are stuck on the New Horizon, it's basically a bunch of teenagers running the ship. A lot of them were very capable, but power struggles still emerged, which was interesting to see. I love politics, so the "politics" of the Empyrean were fascinating to me.

Overall, I don't think I can give this book enough praise. The plot was exciting and new mysteries and secrets were being uncovered every other page. I can't wait to see what happens in the next novel and I can't believe I have to wait until Summer 2013 to get my hands on a copy!

Rating: 10 out of 10.
FTC: received from Flamingnet

2012/St. Martin's Griffin/309 pages.

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