Thursday, 13 June 2013
Spark is an original unique story which combines Sci-fi with romance and I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would! To begin with I was worried I wouldn't like this bizarre society Ryan had created where kids were in charge, the only adults on board a freaking spaceship were deluded or incapacitated, and the kids were chasing after another more powerful spaceship to find their parents. It was a little Lord of the Flies at some points with the kids all turning on each other, and Ryan managed to make me forget they were kids, especially with some of their cruel acts, like drawing graffiti of the main character Waverly doling out sexual favours. Ryan created quite a complex backstory with a big plot involving the two spaceships, previously sister fleets, as the spaceships are looking for a Utopia basically and so a lot of backstabbing and sabotaging went on between the ships in order to reduce the competition when they arrived at the new 'Earth'. Spark picks up from where the first novel Glow seems to have left of with the female kids returning to the Empryean after escaping from the New Horizon, where their eggs in their ovaries had been stolen from them. Yep told you it was a complex story!
The novel is told from three viewpoints (the three main characters) Waverly, Seth and Kieran.
Waverly was the leader of the escaped teenage girls and returned the majority of the girls to the Empryean. However as she had failed to save the parents who were locked on the New Horizon a lot of the Empryean kids resented her and were horrific to her during the novel. I really liked how Ryan didn't let Waverly just miraculously get over her ovary ordeal. Waverly was scarred mentally as were the other girls and this really added to a lot of the interactions and events that developed in the novel. Waverly was a strong character however at times you could get quite exasperated with her as everything became harder than it should have been as she struggled to turn the Empryean into a democracy rather than an autocracy and kept ending up being almost as bossy as Kieran despite the fact she was trying to restore democracy! Ryan kept the theme of disunity and division between the Empryean kids going through out the novel which could become quite tiresome as you struggled to catch up with the latest developments of side picking. However I enjoyed Waverly and I especially liked the animosity Ryan developed between Kieran and Waverly as well as the budding agressive romantic relationship between Waverly and Seth. Ryan had a good knack for developing relationships fully and adding new events to further consolidate the feelings between characters she was generating.
Seth was a strong well developed character with plenty of depth and sad pasts. It annoyed me a little that Ryan took so long to develop Seth and Waverly's relationship as you knew it was going to happen and she kept drawing it out whereas I think I would have liked Waverly to have had Seth there for her without Waverly having to tip toe around the question of whether Seth liked her etc. I suppose what with Seth being in hiding from Kieran a lot of the time it was quite difficult! I disliked Seth being blamed for everything by the kids, he acted as something as a scapegoat and occasionally it felt like Ryan chose him just so she could fob the blame off quickly and easily without having to introduce another character who could possibly be blamed. Again I would have liked their (Waverly and Seth's) relationship to have been a bigger feature in the novel.
Imagine a boy with a teenage 'I'm always right' attitude combined with a conviction that it is his duty to lead and control the ship and you make Kieran. Ryan has really portrayed him as the bad guy in this novel, though she does sometimes give him a break by delving into the bloody past between the Empryean and the New Horizon which explains some of his actions and makes him realise when he's going wrong. However I did feel sorry for Kieran as he was one of those characters whose every action was motivated by a desire to do well and do right and he was basically trying to live up to the previous captains image. This turned out to be not a good rolemodel though! Also poor Kieran got his heartbroken when his beloved Waverly returned from the Empryean and accused him of being a dictator and refused to give him support. What was great about this novel was there were so many angles that you could view the characters from and it meant at different points in the novel you empathised with different characters.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and I would give it a 4 out of 5 as I would like to re read it and try to glean more information from the backstory and I think I will purchase Glow as well as the third book in the series if there is one! It is published by PanMacmillan children's books and can be purchased from Amazon.co.uk for £5.24 or cheaper from other sellers.
En Bon Lu
Also on Goodreads under the name Smithjamest