Thursday, September 25, 2014

Skylark - Review

Its rare for a modern author to jump immediately onto my best authors list. Meagan Spooner did just that with her (and Amie Kaufman's) These Broken Stars, so I was very interested in reading her debut novel Skylark. It's been out on the market a while, with the third book in the trilogy just being released earlier this year. Even so, I thought I'd toss in my two cents.

While I didn't devour Skylark in a day like Meagan's other book, it is a good read. For those who think that Brian Sanderson and some of the other new masters of fantasy are the be-all and end-all of world building, they haven't read Meagan's work. The world of Skylark is first and foremost incredibly creative. I've read a lot of fantasy and don't know of anything quite like the rich, horrific and beautiful landscape containing her story. It combines magic, clockwork technology and distopia. Secondly, it is believable in a way that I do not find of the new "masters'" works. Her characters are rich and well fleshed out and leave you wanting to know more about them rather than seeking desperate resolution to some cliffhanger ending.

Like These Broken Stars, Skylark doesn't follow the tropes of any one genre. There's a lot of fantasy to it, some distopian, survival-horror, and naturally, romance which is nice because you don't always know what to expect, so when the rare trope does pop up you're more pleasantly surprised rather than exasperated.

The one issue I had with the book was its pacing. The beginning was a bit of a stagger step of action for me, starting and stopping in a manner that made it hard to really get into. Once things got moving though, they moved along at a brutal clip that kept me turning pages until part 2, where a long journey slowed things down.  Please, don't misunderstand, it's still interesting stuff, the plot just isn't advancing very quickly. For some readers, this middle slump will quickly become tedious.As a reward for soldiering through the journey (and paying attention) Meagan has written some great twists, which make the book a really fun read.

Skylark is a book for young adults. It has some grim torture-esque scenes, and a few parts with bloody violence, though nothing I thought particularly graphic and some mention of nudity--again nothing graphic. With beautiful language, an interesting world, and great characters this is definitely a book to pick up if you're looking for something original for your brain and imagination to digest.

Liked this? Writers live and die on word of mouth so please share or follow or join my mailing list. See the top right of this page.

1 comment:

  1. I love world building! And while I haven't read this one yet (definitely want to), it would be refreshing to read another approach to it. Sanderson and his ilk tend to world build by taking historical eras of our world wholesale (Wild Wild West, medieval Europe, etc) and add a detailed magic system to them. I love thoughtful magic systems that drive the plot. But the rest of the world is often overlooked. Good for you Ms. Spooner. And thanks for the heads up, S.J.! When you say something is good, I listen. (