Author: Sandra Waugh
Series: Guardians of Tarnec, #1
Lark Carew has a rare gift known as the Sight. Plagued by dark dreams and weighed down by the emotional turmoil she can sense in others, Lark finds it easier to keep to herself. But her dreams are becoming violent, in one she sees herself being cut down by a man wielding a sword and in another she is warned of the imminent invasion of her village by the terrible Troth creatures. The people of Merith are not warriors and thus must seek out the Riders to protect them. When a mysterious sign arrives calling Lark to take on this dangerous task, she has no choice but to obey. Unbeknownst to her, this journey will lead her on a quest to save her world and to the man destined to kill her.
“And then there were more tears, gushing now because I hated to touch the dead fingers–it was too powerful, the fear and hate and violence…and somewhere I sensed a grinning smile yawning open, so malevolent that it made a thread of cold arch right down my spine.”
Lark, along with her cousin Evie, has been raised by her grandmother ever since Merith was attacked years ago and an entire generation was lost. The two girls, born the same day to twins, are practically sisters. Though Evie is more outgoing and Lark more reserved, they share a strong bond with one another. This was my favorite relationship in Sandra Waugh’s Lark Rising and I would have liked to have seen these two together more as Lark’s motivation for several actions is bred out of her love for her cousin. Her greatest strength is her willingness to deny herself happiness in exchange for the happiness of those she loves.
Lark is called shy because of her inability to be around large groups of people. Being in sync with people’s energies has made it impossible for her to sit comfortably around strangers. Rather than her experiences giving Lark confidence, I found that the changing circumstances allowed her character to flourish: in the past she might retreat into herself when surrounded by strangers, but the the stillness in those she meets on her journey help Lark be herself in a way she is only able to amongst her family.
Though Lark makes her way to the Castle Tarnec where the Riders reside, she discovers that it is she who has been sought by them. When Lark is called to recover an ancient orb that has been stolen by the Breeders who are bent on causing Chaos, she discovers an ally in the Riders, including Gharain, her would-be killer. Lark Rising is a wonderful introduction to a new fantasy series that reminded me of Juliet Marillier’s Shadowfell series. My biggest issue with this book is it didn’t explore the Breeders’ motivations or their world enough that I felt I had a real understanding of the battle being waged. Hopefully this will be rectified in the next book.