Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Genre: Epic Fantasy/ Coming of Age/ YA
Approximate word count: 80-85,000 words
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“RS McCoy didn’t ever plan on being a writer. With a career teaching high school science, writing is the last thing she expected. But life never goes the way you think it will. While battling cancer, she picked up her laptop and let the words flow out. One year later, her first published fantasy novel has been released on Amazon and her second novel is in the works. She is a wife, mother of two, a scientist, baker, gardener, and life-long science fiction and fantasy addict.”
For more, visit her website.
"Everyone in the world has a Spark, a light inside that guides them, keeps them alive... Myxini School for Children specializes in training young men and women who have powerful Sparks... Larks meets Khea, a small frightened girl who mysteriously incites his protective nature. He has no explanation for the curious strength of their relationship, and it doesn’t help that she is one of the few people in the world whose thoughts can’t be read. As he struggles to get to the root of their unique bond, Lark begins to unravel more power than even his mentor expected, but in the process makes himself a target to political leaders eager to take control. ”
This story is told through Lark's eyes, a boy who was only trying to improve his lot in life. When he is chosen to go to the Myxini School for Children, he feels a lot of guilt over leaving his father and sick mother behind. He is a good kid and has problems adapting to school life. His mentor, Avis, is a thorn in his side and does everything he can to get Lark to give up and go home. Lark, however, is determined to give his best no matter the circumstances.
Chimalma, a city in the Nakbe Islands, was a barbaric place where religious figures performed human sacrifices to the dog god Chichiton. There was a time or two I wanted to slap Lark up-side his head when he didn't grab the long knives, spears, and copper bracelets from his defeated victims as he and his small band tried to avoid recapture. I was completely drawn into the story and cared about their mission, as misguided as it was. The plot was well developed and flowed smoothly. Also, I noticed no inconsistencies in the many locations or any of the characters’ attributes, although a couple of puzzling story points were glossed over and could have used more details.
I enjoyed the idea of the sparks some people had and the different rates the sparks were given. Ms. McCoy's concept is unique and the story was engaging. Lark and his classmates’ interactions were pretty typical for their ages and entertaining. The political intrigue that develops later in the story was captivating as the misinformation was sorted out. Lark could never have anticipated the skills of those in power.
This story has an epic climax that is horrific and devastating to most of the characters, but we are given a small ray of hope for a better future. Sparks are growing stronger and still developing, but certain people have not been dealt with yet. It will be interesting to see what the future of this world holds.
My review is based on a pre-release copy of the book, so I’m unable to evaluate this area.
Rating: **** Four Stars