Review: Shadowlark

I received this book for free from BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: ShadowlarkShadowlark by Meagan Spooner
Series: Skylark #2
Published by Carolrhoda Lab on October 1, 2013
Genres: Adventure, Dystopian, Fantasy, Paranormal, Post-Apocalyptic, Steampunk
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Amazon • The Book Depository

Ever since she escaped the city within the Wall, Lark Ainsley's wanted one thing: to find her brother Basil. She's always believed he would be the one to put an end to the constant fear and flight. And now, hidden underground in the chaotically magical city of Lethe, Lark feels closer to him than ever.

But Lethe is a city cowering in fear of its founder, the mysterious Prometheus, and of his private police force. To get the truth about what happened to Basil, Lark has no choice but to face Prometheus.

Facing her fears has become second nature to Lark. Facing the truth is another matter.

Lark never asked to be anyone's savior. She certainly never wanted to be anyone's weapon. She might not have a choice.

Meagan Spooner’s debut novel, Skylark charmed me enough that I was in her signing line at BEA about an hour early. Now, part of that was that it was the last day and I wanted to sit down, but I also didn’t want to miss seeing Meagan. Though Skylark didn’t achieve a ranking among my very favorite books, I was quite impressed with Spooner’s descriptions and, above all, unique world building. That tradition continues in Shadowlark with the addition of stronger character arcs.

At the end of Skylark, Lark left to go searching for her brother, accompanied by Tansy, Nix, and, at a distance, Oren. Lark’s brother, Basil, escaped before she did, and she’s determined to resolve that mystery. Spooner sets up yet another city, disparate from the two in the previous novel, that runs off of magic, but in a different way. While this is admittedly odd, it’s also very cool. Often dystopias only show a small subset of the world, a single city, and it’s fascinating to see how different areas reacted to whatever cataclysm occurred in this world.

Though I think there’s a bit less horror in Shadowlark, as she spends less time amongst shadows, this novel is a whole different kind of creepy. In Skylark, Lark realized that she’s possessed of a great power, which could have made her yet another special snowflake. Instead, Lark’s feeling the allure of the dark side, which gives her character new depths and makes her work to be a hero. Though power comes easily to Lark, using it wisely does not. I’m always happy to see the heroine or hero struggle. The achievements that are difficult to come by mean so much more.

A whole slew of new characters are introduced, with only a couple recurring from the previous novel. Given that I don’t remember most of the ones from the first novel, this wasn’t an issue for me. Plus, I quite like the new characters, particularly Olivia and Wesley. Also, the villain of this plot arc has quite a bit of character building which I always enjoy. My favorite character by far, though, is Nix, the pixie. He’s sort of a little robot that can fly, and he’s sarcastic and judgmental and supportive and useful in a crisis. I would totally love to have Nix at my side as I went about my day.

Another big plus was how little romance there was. Oren and Lark have been mooning over each other since they met, basically, but they both put practical concerns above romance. Thank you, Meagan Spooner, for writing a dystopia in which the main characters put survival above hormones. This does not happen enough.

What was lacking for me was that extra degree of emotional impact. There’s a scene at the end that really should have had me freaking out because some serious stuff goes down and I was just sort of like “huh, cool.” The ending also felt somewhat rushed, and it seemed like some of the more minor character arcs were left hanging. I wanted to know more about what happened with Olivia’s girlfriend, for example, and also felt like Lark was a bit too forgiving of a particular character.

In the next installment of the Skylark series, Meagan Spooner will obviously be tackling the origin of this world, and I cannot wait to find out how she explains all of this. Based on her delightfully original work so far, I’m betting it will be something fantastical.

Favorite Quote:

“It’s like an unbearable ache,” he said, softly. “Hunger—except that it’s not something that food can solve. We eat because it’s the only way we know to consume what we really need. It’s incompletion, being severed, half of a whole. It’s needing something you can never get, not completely.”

4 responses to “Review: Shadowlark”

  1. Hah for me this book let me down because of the lack of romance so it’s interesting to see your positive perspective on that. I def agree about the emotions thing and lack there of. For me I think it’s because I predicted the big twist early on. Sorry for typos am commenting from phone!!
    April Books And Wine recently posted…Burnout | Adrienne Maria Vrettos | Book ReviewMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Well, with me, I USUALLY am disappointed at lack of romance, but I don’t ship Oren and Lark, so I’m glad they’ve not been all lovey-dovey. I do love the lesbian couple though, and I want to see them together. I was honestly hoping Wesley would be young and hot (no idea how old he is, but probably too old), so she could have a different love interest.

  2. roro says:

    I loved skylark. Tnx for the review

  3. […] Becky (3 2013 Picture Books)20. Becky (Little Maid of Provincetown)21. Tiffany (Bel Canto)22. Christina (Shadowlark)23. Seth@Collateral Bloggage (Inferno)24. Melissa (When You Were Here)25. Jenna (The Dream […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge