"Everyone in the world has a Spark, a light inside that guides them, keeps them alive."
Starting school is supposed to be a fun and exciting time for any new student. But for Lark, a skilled archer and fledgling mind-reader, it's a creative form of torture. Locked in rooms and hallways with both friends and enemies, bombarded by the thoughts and feelings of his peers, Lark is a prisoner.
On a quest to master his Spark, Lark's mentor - his one ally - is anything but helpful. What Lark fails to realize is the value of his rare ability, and just how far some are willing to go to have control of him.
©2014 RS McCoy (P)2015 RS McCoy
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Sparks is of the training school variety of fantasy: Boy with unexplained abilities gets shipped off unexpectedly to said place where abilities are explained. Boy has mean, evil tutor, who doesn't teach him nice. Girl and bully show up. Boy loves girl, boy fights bully, boy saves girl from bully. Characters develop and do plot moving things that I won't mention to keep from spoiling it for you, then the partially trained students get thrust into a potentially violent, politically volatile situation. More plot stuff, and minor friend characters die, and you want to read the sequel.
Lark is a bit of a boy genius character, a bit too smart for his own good. With his mind reading Spark he can anticipate fights, and he can learn and retain information extraordinarily fast. While important, and certainly relationship building between the characters, the time at the academy is a little rushed and awkward, as is the romance that developed between Lark and Khea.
Khea is rather severely underdeveloped in my opinion, she's a likable character with a lot of potential for the rest of the series, obviously important as a love interest and motive for the main character, and a large catalyst of the plot towards the end, but for most of the book she just fuels Lark's hormones.
Avis (evil tutor) is the most interesting, and one of the better mentor figures I've come across lately. Lots of possibilities with him.
On the whole, I enjoyed the story, it flowed well, the characters were pretty well written, if I had any major complaint it would be the dialogue, it felt a little unnatural, though I think that was partly due to the narration.
There is some sexual content, not explicit, but it was kind of weirdly done. I wouldn't recommend this to younger children.
The quality is not bad, though there is a little bit of a wet sound to the narration. Maybe an EQ or recording issue.
Kyle Wright is a good reader, he's clear, and easy to understand. His voice is a little too sympathetic for my taste (if that makes sense), but I would listen to him again.
Audiobook was provided for review by the author.
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The gorgeous cover called to me so I decided to pick up a ecopy of this book. I couldn't get the cover or synopsis out of my head so I also upgraded by ecopy to an audible book and picked up the paperback. I had quite the different experience when reading it. My Kindle died so I started on the paperback. Once nightfall came around I picked up the Kindle copy and started to read. When morning came I decided to listen to rest of the book while I cleaned the house. I loved every page and word of this book. I was fascinated with the world McCoy made. The characters were flawless and the narration was sultry. My favorite character was Lark. I liked being in his head. He was the perfect point of view. I thought he was brooding and funny. I laughed so hard when he was thinking about girls. My favorite moment was when Avis was teaching Lark about girls. It made me laugh and it was such a tender moment between the two. I really enjoyed this book. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
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