Skylark (Skylark #1) by Meagan Spooner
Rating: 4 stars
When magic is the source of all power (literally), wouldn't some people do anything to control it? Skylark is a percular (in a good way), different and other-worldly book. It is very different from any other books I have read. Meagan Spooner invents a story world where people with magic is the source of all energy and poses the question: once that energy is gone, where do they obtain more?
This book is not one of your typical YA, angry teen confusion and useless love triangles. On top of a drawing and intriguing story, Skylark, in my opinion, also deals with questions about humanity and the future. Is a closed-off and tightly controlled community worth an ultimate sacrifice of one individual (or perhaps a few individuals)? Aside from the humanity question, I also enjoyed the original idea of having magic as the a source for providing energy. The indoctrination of the so-called "Institute" (kind of like the government) obmits the truth of a celebrated event called "the Havest" from the citizens of the City. This was what led to Lark (the main character)'s discovery being so shocking and attention-grabbing to the reader.
The story world of Lark is different from many I had encountered. Although the "Outside" and "Inside" aspect had been written numerous times by YA authors, Meagan Spooner made the aloof and cold world of Skylark stand out. The writing of the author also enabled me to imagine every little detail of the forest, the magic pockets and the city; as well as picturing tiny movements of the pixies and the character's actions. I particularly liked the description of the "Outside" world. Although dangerous, it seemed like a wonderful and magical place to explore. As I read the story, I closed my eyes and it seemed that I was in this bluish-purplish space (just like the book cover) and seeing everything in a surreal fashion.
Another reason I enjoyed the story was the character of Lark. As the main character, Lark develops through the story. Right from the beginning, Lark was careful, genuine and intelligent. She used her intelligence to figure out things that any other adult wouldn't question and made decisions that were hard. Through the course of events, Lark became braver and stronger (she had always been adventurous). I appreciated the strong family bond between Lark and her brother, the trust and hope Lark has for him even though all odds were set against him. Nix was also a constant and caring companion I enjoyed, I hope Nix stays with Lark in the next book. The relationship between Lark and Oren is something I loved reading about. This relationship too, develops from its original tentative and enstranged state into something worthy. Oren was a mysterious character whom I didn't quite understand until the very end. However, he was protective and had a good survival instinct. The ending of Skylark left me wondering about the two and I'm eager to find out what happens next.
However, there was still some little things that could have made the book slightly better. One of such is the amount of one-character time in the book. It was not monologues as such, but sometimes (especially the first half of the book) there were too much running around alone time with Lark. Having a character by herself for a long period of time is not very interesting to read and thus I didn't really got fully drawn into the story until quite a bit into the book. Once other characters (particularly human characters) came into the book and interactions were made, the plot became a lot more interesting. I know that this was quite hard to do in relation with this particular story, but I would like to see less of just the main character running around in the forest by herself in the next book.
Overall, a book I really enjoyed. The ending also leaves me hanging and desperate to read the next book. Recommended! :)
Sixteen-year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.
Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed barrier of energy enclosing all that’s left of humanity. For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children's innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.Forced to flee the only home she knows to avoid life as a human battery, Lark must fight her way through the terrible wilderness beyond the edge of the world. With the city’s clockwork creations close on her heels and a strange wild boy stalking her in the countryside, she must move quickly if she is to have any hope of survival. She’s heard the stories that somewhere to the west are others like her, hidden in secret—but can she stay alive long enough to find them?