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Skylark (The Skylark Trilogy) by Meagan…

Skylark (The Skylark Trilogy) (edition 2012)

by Meagan Spooner

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1731268,650 (3.55)2
Title:Skylark (The Skylark Trilogy)
Authors:Meagan Spooner
Info:Carolrhoda Books (2012), Hardcover, 344 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Teen, 16 year old Lark, Harvested for magic, Oren, Dome, Iron Forest, renewables

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Skylark by Meagan Spooner

  1. 00
    Divergent by Veronica Roth (reconditereader)
    reconditereader: The opening of Skylark reminds me of some of the scenes with the Dauntless in Divergent. Both are YA dystopia stories.

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Remember when you saw Danny Boyle's Sunshine, and for the first two thirds of it, you were like, "Holy shit, this is the most perfect science fiction movie ever made?" and then the last third happened and you felt stunned and betrayed and...lost? This book is the reverse of that. The first two thirds are boooooring and typical and just nearly impossible to slog through. But then the last third of the book hits, and something starts to click, and it keeps clicking, and before you know it, you're just utterly enchanted and pleasantly surprised, and... I don't know.

The characters and love story are pretty typical of any YA dystopian whatever you've read, until, again, the last third of the book. I saw every twist that occurred at the end well before it happened, but it didn't matter because there is one moment between our heroine and her boy that...I don't know how to say this without spoiling anything. But it felt right. And it felt real. And it was really heartbreaking. I'm talking about when she kisses him and he tastes like blood and she is complete grossed out by his monsterness And for that moment alone, I think everyone who likes this sort of thing should read this novel.

Actually, I take that back. If you're a slower reader, wait for the second book to come out and see what people say about it. THEN, if THAT feedback is good, read book one. Because the beginning really is such a slog. I read at least one novel per day, and I forget sometimes what an undertaking a book of this length might be for a person, so again, if reading time is rare for you, hold off. Read [b:Angelfall|11500217|Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1)|Susan Ee|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1319887835s/11500217.jpg|16435765] instead. Ain't no shame. ( )
  KateBond | Sep 20, 2013 |
Full Review to be posted soon:

Skylark started off a bit slow for me but once the story got going, I really enjoyed the atmosphere and tone of a world filled with magic that feeds clockwork machines, Shadow people, and magic gone wild. ( )
  Has_bookpusher | Sep 20, 2013 |
I honestly enjoyed this read. There were a few things that niggled a little, hence the 4 and not higher but overall it was an enjoyable read.

Lark Ainsley lives behind a wall, she has never seen the sky, the wall protects her city inside and out from the aftermath of wars outside. She's waiting impatiently to give her Resource or Magic to the city to help power it and become a productive member of society. She's older than most and when she goes in it's not all straightforward, she's heard how it's supposed to be but there's something wrong and it appears that she's going to become a power source for the city.

She escapes and finds others like her and some very scary other people, some rumours about outside are true and some are false but can she trust anyone?

I liked the story and Lark, a great character, Nix was excellent too and entertaining. This is a series I want to read more of. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Jun 10, 2013 |
Originally reviews on A Reader of Fictions.

Meagan Spooner's debut novel Skylark creates a fantastical steampunk world where magic has a physical presence, and people are varying degrees of monster. While many dystopias focus on action and drama, Skylark moves along at a slower pace, a bit more contemplative. Thankfully, the personality-filled writing and gorgeous world building kept my interest level high.

Lark feels constant shame. She is the oldest person to not yet have been harvested. People years her juniors have been chosen before her. The other kids call her 'the dud,' 'the freak,' and she can't help but wonder if it's true. Nor can she find comfort at home. Her closest family member, Basil, a brother, left on a mission outside the wall and never returned, presumed dead. We never even see her parents. The only family member who seems to be around is her oldest brother Caesar, whose name is particularly apt, considering that he would do just about anything to advance his career.

Finally, though, Lark's name has been called and she is to be harvested. Excited does not even begin to describe how she feels, anticipating finally being normal and valuable. Despite having very little idea what her harvesting entails, she quickly comes to suspect that something weird may be going on. Why do they keep taking her to be harvested? Isn't that just supposed to happen once? Her answer, of course, lies in the secret room she discovered: she's a Renewable and they're going to plug her into the city until she becomes nothing but a husk.

The City, you see, runs on magic. Cool, right? In this world, magic exists in just about everything, including people. At the Harvest, they're using a machine to drain the magic (or, as they
call it, The Resource, from the children of the population. There used to be Renewables, people who could create more Resource, but there haven't been any born in a long time and the City's magic is depleting. They need Lark's Resource, but she refuses to be a pawn and escapes into the eerie woods.

What's especially neat about Skylark is how many different societies you can explore in this world. At the beginning, we're in the City with Lark, which is full of clockwork and magic. It's got a sort of industrial feel to it. Then, outside the wall, we get to see a bunch of different environments. Basically, the magic out there is all unbalanced, so some areas have to much and others none, which means that pretty much anything can happen. I just loved this world building, especially the changes that the magic bubbles wrought.

If you love reading about creepy monsters, Spooner cooked up some of those for you in her writer's cauldron too. The Dark Ones. I'm not entirely certain what happened to them, whether there was some sort of event or chemical, or if it was just a change out of necessity. Either way, they're cannibals, humans turned dark and twisted and hungry for other humans. This adds some fun spice to an otherwise fairly pleasant journey. I definitely would like to know how they came about, though!

Lark makes a great heroine. Her voice is clear and direct. Her narration kept me totally involved in the story. Despite being a complete newbie to pretty much everying, Lark tries really hard. She's not a complainer, and learns and grows from every experience. Otherwise, though, I would say characterization was probably the weakest point in the book. None of the other humans really manifested strongly to me. There are two possible love interests so far, but, thankfully, Spooner has so far resisted the urge to make this into a melodramatic love triangle.

My very favorite character, though, the one that totally stole the show in my opinion is not human. I freaking loved Nix. He's so adorable and cool and I don't even know. Basically, I want him to come hang out with me. Also, the way the scene where he learned things was just fantastic. He also raises some thought-provoking questions about sentience.

For stellar world building and some serious clockwork awesomeness, go get yourself a copy of Skylark. I really enjoyed it and will be keeping my eye out for the next book! ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
When I read the synopsis for Skylark I was immediately drawn to this dystopian type fantasy. I am delighted to tell you that it delivered a magical, dark dystopian world with a touch of steampunk. Spooner’s depiction of this world was refreshingly original with fleshed-out characters and a tale that kept me reading through the night.

I will be honest; the beginning however fascinating was a little rough for me. Rather than laying out the world in detail, Spooner has us learning as the protagonist does. This little speed bump was soon over as I dove into the story. We meet Lark Ainsley as she makes her way through the tunnels leading to her school. She is sneaking in to see if her name has been selected for Harvest Day. Does this sound eerily familiar to the very popular Hunger Games? Fear not because that is where the similarity ends. When she is discovered by a pixie-bot, she accidently uses her magic and kills it. Use of magic is forbidden within the city. Shaken she returns home only to discover she has been selected and is quickly taken to the city's institute. Once at the institute she is scheduled for harvesting. Lark soon discovers that things aren't as they seem, and that the institute has horrific plans for her. The tale that unfolds kept me completely spellbound as Spooner took me to a world I will not soon forget.

Lark Ainsley is brave, strong willed and snarky. She faces challenges head on and questions the world before her with such believability that she came to life on the pages. Despite her fears of the unknown she moves forward in her quest. I connected with Lark and felt like I experienced every emotion with her. Oren is raw, wild at times and complex. I eventually fell for this soft spoken, sensitive, quirky young man. We learn bits and pieces of his back-story giving an air of mystery to him. I adored Nix and laughed at her comments and loved her loyalty. She holds her own rightful place in this tale and I thoroughly enjoyed her. Kris is the son of the ambassador to the institute and he helps Lark. We never really know him but this adds to the mystery. Other characters added to the tale, creating suspense. I loved that even the secondary characters felt fleshed out and added to this gripping tale.

The world-building in Skylark is absolutely breathtaking. Spooner brings us a fascinating dystopian world unlike any I have visited. With only the power of her pen she brought this world to life. As I read, I could see this world unfolding before me and instantly connected with Lark as we both met it for the first time. Spooner slowly reveals this world and provides some back history. The Institute and sealed city was interesting and how the city survived fascinated me. The world outside of the city was absolutely amazing and Spooner’s depiction held me captive. The pockets of magic, the house in the woods were brilliant. The creatures Lark encounters were terrifying. One of the things I loved about this book was the way the author took elements of steampunk, fantasy, dystopia and other genres and wove them into such a delightful, believable and original tale. It is clear she has a true understanding of these genres and successfully integrated elements of each.

Skylark completely blew my mind and I cannot wait for the next book in this series. Fans of fantasy, dystopia and magic will love this tale. Shadowlark book two in the trilogy is expected to release in 2013 and I cannot wait.

I want to thank the publisher and netGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this novel 4.5 coffee cups out of 5.
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ( )
  kimbacaffeinate | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Lark Ainsley has yearned to become an adult by having her magical energy harvested, but when she is finally chosen a special talent is revealed and, rather than become a human battery powering the dome that protects humanity, she escapes hoping to find the Iron Wood, a wilderness rumored to be inhabited by others like herself.… (more)

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