Friday, July 13, 2012

Power plays in space: SPARK by Amy Kathleen Ryan

YA Science Fiction
309 pages, hardcover
Available July 17, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Review copy provided by publisher via Amazon Vine for honest review

Waverly and Kieran are finally reunited on the Empyrean. Kieran has led the boys safely up to this point, and now that the girls are back, their mission seems slightly less impossible: to chase down the New Horizon, and save their parents from the enemy ship. But nothing is truly as it seems…Kieran’s leadership methods have raised Seth’s hackles— and Waverly’s suspicions. Is this really her fiancĂ©? The handsome, loving boy she was torn from just a short time before? More and more, she finds her thoughts aligned with Seth’s. But if Seth is Kieran’s Enemy No. 1, what does that make her?

In one night, a strange explosion rocks the Empyrean—shooting them off course and delaying their pursuit of the New Horizon—and Seth is mysteriously released from the brig. Seth is the most obvious suspect for the explosion, and Waverly the most obvious suspect for releasing him. As the tension reaches a boiling point, will Seth be able to find the true culprit before Kieran locks them both away—or worse? Will Waverly follow her heart, even if it puts lives at risk? With the balance of power precarious and the clock ticking, every decision counts… every step brings them closer to a new beginning, or a sudden end...

Positive: The societies aboard the ships. The ship of adults has a charismatic religious zealot leading them, sure of her righteousness and power. Waverly and the girls did a good job disrupting that society when they escaped but it wasn't quite good enough. The ship of kids has Kieran, who's turning into a religious, power-hungry leader himself, hoarding secrets and projecting his paranoid suspicions onto anyone who questions his choices or right to said power. He has his followers, who support him almost blindly; he has his detractors, who can't confront him publicly or they might end up in the brig.

Positive: Kieran versus Seth. Seth led the ship at first, doing his best to focus the kids on keeping the ship in the air and work through the loss of their parents and near-destruction of their home. Kieran eventually overthrew him, after Seth turned into more of a dictator and practically killed him. Now, Kieran's in power and Seth is in the brig...until Seth gets out. They both also like/love Waverly but she plays a minor role this power struggle, serving mostly to ratchet up the tension.

Positive: The mysteries, suspicions, and tension. Who to trust? Can the kids trust the adults (some of them, anyway)? Should Kieran take the help the adult's leader is offering? Who's sabotaging the kids' ship? Can the kids trust Kieran or should they trust Seth...or both? What's Waverly's part in all this? Are the kids' parents still alive on the adults' ship? While I could figure out some of these answers, some I had absolutely no clue. Amy Kathleen Ryan did a fabulous job keeping me and the characters guessing as to people's true motivations and actions.

Wish: The ending. I mean, I realize we had to go there to merge things and bring stuff to a head for the final confrontations but...gah! I want to know what happens NOW! (Was that mysterious enough for you? Heh.)

Overall: The second in a trilogy, SPARK doesn't let up on the tension at all--in fact, it piles it on until readers are gripping the book, flipping the pages faster and faster, holding their breath waiting to see what happens next.


  1. I enjoyed Glow way more than I thought I would and am really looking forward to this one!

  2. I must read Glow soon if this one is any indication. :) I'm glad you liked the sequel so much!! And endings that leave you hanging drive me crazy! :P

  3. I loved the first book mainly because I though the tension and difference between the boys was nicely played! The ending totally took my by surprise by how much the boys changed!! Excited to hear that you liked this one and I am not eager to pick it up myself:)

  4. The book sounds good! I'm glad the tension was kept since second books in trilogies can be a little dull.
    Too bad the ending, but you need a hook into the last book, right?

  5. Yep this was high in the tension department! And I agree about that end! SO frustrating! I nerd to know what happens! This is a weird series but I totally cant get enough!