Author: Meagan Spooner
Series: Skylark, #2
In Skylark, Lark Ainsley escaped her city and the malicious powers bent on using her. She found the Iron Wood, a haven for Renewables, only to discover she’s not one of them. In an astounding display of power, Lark drained the magic from the army marching toward the refuge. Afraid of the hunger for magic now churning inside of her, Lark leaves to find her brother Basil–the only other person to survive the same experimentation. In Shadowlark her journey leads her to the underground city of Lethe where the leader Prometheus forces Renewables to give up their magic. It is here that Lark meets rebel fighters and discovers the last traces of her brother.
“I let down my guard just a fraction, feeling a little warmth slide into my hand from hers…I’d never had the luxury of examining this connection, the intimacy of it, how I could trace it back through our joined hands and up her arm, through her veins and muscles, to her heart, which danced a steady beat through the web of magic inside her. I tugged at a strand of the web and felt Tansy give a strangled gurgle of pain.”
I hate it when a series loses momentum with the second book. It’s unfortunate that this sequel fails to live up to expectations because I think with a little tinkering it would have earned a solid four star(umbrella) rating.
There is plenty of progress in Lark’s character. She’s no longer the confused, innocent girl afraid of the sky. She’s stronger and more self-reliant. Her struggles in Shadowlark lie in her inability to understand what she is and her fear that she cannot control the need for magic growing inside of her. Lark is still unable to reconcile Oren the person with the shadow creature he becomes without magic, but also finds herself juggling a similar duplicity.
Shadowlark also gives us a chance to explore Oren’s character a little more and the struggle he has with knowing the truth about himself. Lark is convinced that it is a tragedy for shadow people who are oblivious to the monster inside of them, but Oren has discovered that it is more tragic to know there is a fiend inside of you you cannot control.
The main reason I had to give this book a lower rating than its predecessor is the climax and the pace at which it takes us to the end. I can’t elaborate on this without spoilers, so if you haven’t read this book and plan on reading it, don’t continue reading. However, if you simply cannot help yourself, it’s no huge loss because it didn’t exactly come as a shock.
Spoiler: Lark’s reunion with her brother is bittersweet. The Basil she finds is not the brother she remembers. He is in fact the ruthless leader Prometheus who’s been capturing and using Renewables to power Lethe. The final showdown with Prometheus happens too late in the book and Basil’s change-of-heart is too rapid to be truly believable. This is why the reveal would be better served coming sooner in the novel, giving Basil’s character a chance to develop and Lark a chance to influence him gradually.
Despite the falling rating, I do expect to pick up the conclusion of this trilogy and see Lark finally confront the people who experimented on her.