First off, this was much more grim than I was expecting! But then, for some reason I was expecting a sappy teenage love story, and with the space bat..Show More »tle and all the desperate fights to save a spaceship and survive captivity, there wasn’t time! All in all? This is what happens when space colonists meet the boys from Lord of the Flies and a crazy baby cult. Not a lot of clear thinking, lots of pressure, and plenty of room for disaster.
The plot switches between Waverly and Kieran’s points of view, each with its own narrator – both of whom read very well, by the way. They’re about sixteen, and as the oldest girl and boy on a space voyage that will take nearly a century, they thought their lives were all mapped out. That all changes the day their spaceship unexpectedly catches up to the one that left ahead of them.
I really enjoyed hearing the details about life aboard the ships. The gardens and orchards, everyone’s jobs, what they ate, how day-to-day life went, that sort of thing. As always with sci-fi, I found myself picking out small details that couldn’t be true, but that’s almost part of the fun for me. Another reviewer mentioned that the adults on this voyage were like “lemmings,” and there were several times I had to agree! Perhaps life in a small, enclosed community breeds naiveté? Interestingly, while Waverly and Kieran are clearly marked as the main characters, I found Kieran to be much less interesting than the other boys on the ship. He’s too weak and spoiled. But then, this isn’t a story about perfect people. In fact, it’s clear the whole time that human flaws are what drive everything about the storyline! By the end of the book it’s hard to tell who to trust, up to and including the main characters.
For a book marketed towards adolescents there are some seriously adult issues floating around. The rights of the individual vs. the rights of a group, procreative rights, the role of religion in society, morality, organized religion vs. cult behavior… And the interesting thing is that the answers aren’t all spelled out. For example, we see religion used for horrible purposes, religion used for good purposes, and then are given pause to wonder, “Wait, is that what’s really going on?” I was almost turned off when for a moment it looked like a strong dose of Sunday School was going to descend on the story and simplistically save the day, but that’s not what ended up happening at all. The day is not yet saved, simplistically or otherwise, and while religion is definitely an element, it’s not clear which way the chips will fall by the end of the trilogy.
The book ends at a reasonable stopping point, but also sees things running headlong toward a new conflict. The characters are all in desperate situations, and each one is reacting differently. There is a lot of story left to tell, and I’m interested to see how this plays out. Not quite riveted, but interested. There may be more going on under the surface than I was expecting!
I had mixed feelings for the first book in the series, Glow, and this the same could be said for Spark. As I say in my review, the main characters are..Show More » frustrating. Just when you start to like them, they do something to drive you crazy. However, the action and the story intrigues you enough to push the character’s terrible decisions and keep reading. In the end, I think I liked Spark more than Glow, but there scores are pretty close.
Picking up where Glow left off, the girls are back on the Empyrean after being kidnapped by the other space ship, the New Horizon. However, the girls paid a price for their return. They left their parents behind as prisoners on the New Horizon. Now the Empyrean is left without a full crew to the run the ship and the oldest person on board is 16. The kids on the Empyrean try keep the ship functioning while they plan a way to get their parents and the rest of the crew back, but they are worn out and constantly at odds with each other. Waverly and Kieran, former boyfriend and girlfriend, are particularly against each other. Matters only get worse when a stow away from the New Horizon is discovered hiding on board and wreaks havoc on the ship.
I like this series, I really do, I just wished I liked the characters more. The author does a good job showing the characters’ different sides and it’s nice that you really do see where the characters are coming from. However, they make often make bad decisions that hurt everyone in the end. You can only imagine that 16 year-old’s and younger do not know how to run a ship or make difficult decisions. So as a result stupid things happen that could have been avoided if only they had set aside their differences and worked together. This gets tiring and after awhile and you start longing for something good to happen for once. But conflict and turmoil keeps things interesting and the pages turning.
What Spark did best is deliver action. It’s non-stop and there are lots of explosions, fighting, and people being thrown in the brig. The action scenes are often intense and leave you wondering what’s going to happen next. The book ends not on a cliff-hanger exactly, but ends in a moment of suspense. I now am looking forward to reading the next book in the series just so I can find out what happens to the crew.