Author: Rachael Craw
Format/Length: Paperback/464 pages
Publisher/Date Published: July 1st 2014/Walker Books Australia
Category/Genre: Young Adult/Science-Fiction
Source: Library — clearly I have the best library ever
Description: One day she’s an ordinary seventeen year old, grieving for her mother. The next, she’s a Shield, the result of a decades-old experiment gone wrong, bound by DNA to defend her best friend from an unknown killer.
The threat could come at home, at school, anywhere. All Evie knows is that it will be a fight to the death.
And then there’s Jamie. irresistible. off-limits.
4/5 stars —
Bluntly put, I am a harsh reviewer — so when I actually rate a book four or five stars (a very rare thing) I sincerely think it’s a fantastic book. I had already been expecting good things from this; I had seen a lot of highly rated reviews of this one, so when I saw this at my library, I nabbed it, expecting a fantastic read.
Which is exactly what I got.
I stayed up to about 2:50 in the morning (thank gosh I’ve just finished school, otherwise I would have been comatose the next day…) and I usually don’t stay up late for books unless it’s really good. At the moment, I’m very “meh” about these sorts of sci fi — not because I don’t like them, but because I feel like I haven’t come across many ones I’ve enjoyed. But I’m seriously going to have to consider changing my status on sci fi books without a dystopia element, because I was truly blown away at how much I enjoyed this.
Needless to say, I was very impressed with Rachael Craw’s début novel.
This is not just a science fiction novel — this is about friendship, and family.
I’ve seen a couple of reviews that liken this novel to Vampire Academy, because the strong theme of friendship presented in Spark. That was one of my favourite things about Vampire Academy — Lissa and Rose’s relationship carried the novel and I felt a similarly awesome thing happening between Evie and Kitty. (Minus the whole vampire thing.)
Let’s talk parents in YA.
You know when you read a novel, YA mainly, and you have to wonder where the parents are? This can apply to pretty much all genres (but not all circumstances) in which I believe that parents are highly underrated in YA novels. (Am I the only one bothered by this?!) And okay, this might not be true in every case, but the high majority of parents I know actually care what their kid is getting up to. But usually in YA fiction they’re always absent because of work, and have to work conveniently overtime when the climax of the novel appears. Not in Spark. And I think that’s where Spark differs from other YA books — the families of the characters in Spark play a vital role in both maintaining the storyline, and creating excellent tension and entertainment between the characters.
What I loved especially was that even though Spark was a fairly long novel, it flew by.
I found myself turning the pages desperately in order to find out what would happen next . . . hence why I stayed up so late reading Spark. I’ve heard some people complain at the first hundred or so pages were a little dull, and while I can understand where those people were coming from — it wasn’t a issue with me. I devoured this novel in a couple of days, and when I was done, was left with that feeling of wanting more. And quickly.
Rachael Craw also manages to craft a realistic, and ship-able (that’s a word, right?) romance that had me cheering for Jamie and Evie the entire time.
Romance, in my humble opinion, can either be done rightly or wrongly — and I think much of that comes from personal opinion and years’ worth of reading Young Adult novels. Some YA authors do it well. Some don’t. Rachael Craw, thankfully, hit the nail on the head with Jamie and Evie’s relationship. And well. It does help that Jamie was portrayed as being gorgeous.
If you’re looking for some pretty kick-ass characters, thrilling (and unpredictable) plot, and swoon-worthy romance, then this is the book for you.
All in all, Spark is the fantastic introduction to a trilogy I’m really looking forward to completing!