Author: Meagan Spooner
Series: Skylark, #1
When this book came out, I skipped all the hoopla and consequently forgot all about it. A few weeks ago I replenished my holds requests for the library (yes, it is as nerdy as it sounds) and came across Skylark again. I couldn’t remember why I didn’t want to read it, so I put it on the list and decided to give it a go.
Lark Ainsley’s world exists in isolation. Wars have wrecked havoc on the world, making it impossible to survive anywhere except within the Wall. In order to protect those inside each child is Harvested, giving up the small amount of Resource within him or her in order to power the Wall. But when it’s Lark’s turn to do her civic duty, she discovers how different she is and that those in charge may have a more inimical plan for her. Lark must escape into the unforgiving world outside where everything she thought she knew begins to unravel.
“…I could hear the sounds of their slaughter as far away as I was. I stared, unable to look away, as the six people–but they could not be people, they could not be people–fell upon the wounded one. The clearing echoed with the sounds of tearing flesh and cracking bones interspersed with whoops and gurgles of delight.”
What had me from the beginning was the sheer terror of Lark’s experience inside the Institute when she was taken to be Harvested. The mere word sends shivers down my spine. It was brutal and cruel and inhumane. And from that point forward I felt the need for Lark to escape and went on the journey with her.
One of my favorite things about Lark was that she was too curious for her own good. The moment she steps into the Institute and has an opportunity to go snooping for clues in her brother’s disappearance, she takes it. She’s dogged and audacious and I love her for it. Lark’s naivety in the outside world was especially endearing. Sometimes you read a book where the character is supposed to be out of sorts, but there’s no surprise, no true moments of awe. But with Lark there was a true wide-eyed innocence.
The shining beacon of Skylark is Oren, the wild boy Lark meets in the wilderness who eventually takes her to the Iron Wood, a place inhabited by special people like Lark. Oren was savage and sweet and at times a little unpredictable. He was also extremely sad and I’ve got a soft spot for the dejected.
There were, however, a few characters that fell flat for me, including Kris, a potential love-interest. He was far more interesting at the beginning of the book than at the end, where his sudden appearance was nothing but a red flag. Subsequently his feelings for Lark felt disingenuous. He was never really around her except possibly when she was unconscious. I’d have bought into his concern for her if that was the extent of his feelings, but I felt the author pushed too hard with him.
Overall, Skylark was a really enjoyable and the best part of reading a book more than a year after it’s release is that I don’t have to wait long for the sequel…seriously, I just went to the library and picked it up (another nerdy thing about me).