Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan + Audio Clip

Spark
Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Series: Sky Chasers, #2
Summary: Waverly, Kieran, and Seth are in a race against time--and with the future of humanity hanging in the balance, there's no room for mistakes. . . .

After a desperate escape from the enemy ship, Waverly has finally made it back to the Empyrean. The memory of home has been keeping her alive for the past months. . . but home is nothing like how she left it. Forced to leave their captive parents behind on the New Horizon, she's returned only to find that Kieran has become a strict leader and turned the crew against Seth. What happened to the Kieran she thought she knew? Now Waverly's not sure who she can trust. And the one person she wants to believe in is darkly brilliant Seth, the ship's supposed enemy. Waverly knows that the situation will only get worse until they can rescue their parents--but how?

Before they have time to make a plan, an explosion rocks the Empyrean, and Seth and Waverly are targeted as the prime suspects. Can they find the true culprit before Kieran locks them away . . . or worse? Will Waverly follow her heart, even if it puts lives as risk? Now more than ever, every step could bring them closer to a new beginning--or a sudden end.

Review

NOTE: This review contains spoilers for Glow, the first book in the Sky Chasers series. If you haven't read Glow, I suggest skipping this review and reading my review of the first installment instead. If you don't mind spoilers, or you have read Glow, then you may proceed! :)

Waverly and the girls who were captured and taken aboard the New Horizon have been back home for a few months now, but it doesn't feel like home. The oldest person aboard the Empyrean is fifteen years old, the person now serving as captain, Kieran Alden. After fighting for the title against Seth Ardvale, Kieran has become a strict leader and has turned toward religion, leading his crew-members in sermons and claiming that it is their God-given purpose to continue their mission to New Earth, even if they are just kids. They've also made it their goal to catch up to the New Horizon and get their captured parents back. He reminds them that they must be united and stand together, for if they are constantly at war with each other, how are they to appear serious to the adult New Horizon crew?

Waverly Marshall hasn't been herself. And who would be if they'd had their eggs stolen from them and narrowly escaped the horrors aboard the New Horizon, including their deluded captain Ann Mather? Waverly spends her days repairing machines. Trying to figure out exactly how to do that is a days work in itself. It keeps her busy, and that's what she wants. She doesn't want to think about all of the people that lost their lives when the New Horizon attacked the Empyrean. She doesn't want to think of how she and the other girls were taken aboard and had been forced to give up their eggs so that the women of the New Horizon could finally bare children. She doesn't want to think about how she had to kill a man to escape with the other girls, and how some of them didn't make it out alive or how others (like her best friend Felicity) chose to stay. She definitely doesn't want to think about how she and Kieran are no longer the same people and have chosen to end their relationship. And she certainly doesn't want to think about how she just can't get Seth off her mind no matter how hard she tries, even though he is the enemy of everyone on board the ship.

Seth Ardvale is being held captive in the brig. And after having threatened to throw Kieran out of an airlock, who could blame them for putting him there? He didn't even get a trial, however, and Seth believes that Kieran is abusing his power. But then something happens. There is an explosion somewhere in the ship, and suddenly the door holding Seth inside his cell is unlocked. Seth escapes and goes into hiding. Kieran immediately believes that Seth was behind the explosion, and because Waverly was the only person to have visited him, that she had helped him in his escape.

Kieran continues to abuse his power throughout the entire book. So much so that he withholds information from other crew-members, secretly chats with Ann Mather in which he tries to forge a peace treaty, and almost gets a little boy killed by having him spy on Waverly's every move and report back to him. Several of the crew-members stick by Kieran's side unwavering, but some of them grow sick and resentful of Kieran's abuse of power, trying to find away around it by holding elections and putting together a Council. With all of the political arguments going on, Seth is free to search for the truth: who was behind the explosion that set the Empyrean off course? And who has tampered with the security cameras? Seth thinks he's discovered the truth, but will the crew believe him when the time comes?

Spark is an AMAZING sequel to Glow. It definitely lives up to Glow's insane ride and suspense. It follows these kids as they try to maintain control of this ship all on their own. Kieran struggles with power, thinking he's always doing the right thing, but constantly using his power for the wrong things. He begins to act so similarly to Ann Mather, it's frightening, but he can't even see it. He's always so paranoid that people are trying to undermine him and that they are going to turn against him at any second. Waverly is trying throughout the whole book to do what's right, even in helping Seth, but it only brands her has an enemy. You can see how she struggles to keep herself sane, but most of the time her anger and resentment controls her. Oddly enough, in this installment, Seth is the most sane, whereas in Glow, he appears to be one of the more unhinged.

The point of view switches between the three main characters: Waverly Marshall, Seth Ardvale, and Kieran Alden. It gives you a lot of insight as to what each of these characters are thinking, and you can see how if they'd just communicate with each other and listen to the others point of view, they might actually be able to get their parents back and think rationally. But I think that Amy did a wonderful job portraying just how young these kids actually are, and that they are just that: kids. They shouldn't have to be making these kinds of decisions at such a young age. They aren't ready for this kind of responsibility, yet they have to grow up and act like adults. They have to do their jobs or they'll all die. The ending to this book was just as explosive as the last. And I say that in a literal sense. The ending kind of blew me away. I never expected for Amy to take it the direction that she did, and the very end of it... oh, it just killed me. I couldn't believe that she left off at that point, but alas, she did. She kept her characters just as complicated as ever. They each have several dimensions to their personalities, and they grow and change with each experience, making them all the more real. I have to say that although I was team Kieran at the beginning, I can't say that I still am at this point in the series. There was a small part of me rooting for Seth at the beginning but towards the end of Glow, my heart belonged to Kieran. Now, after reading Spark, I just can't find much in Kieran to love anymore, but Seth showed a side to himself that I knew was underneath that harsh exterior and my heart just couldn't help but love him. It seemed he was trying so hard to do the right thing, and he just couldn't catch a break with Kieran constantly turning everyone against him. I really cannot wait to read the next installment and see what happens with these kids. With where Spark leaves us at the end, I'm sure it's going to be a wild ride.


I rate this book:


Click here to listen to an audio clip from Spark!

*Audio clip provided by Macmillan Audio.


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