ISBN: 978-0761388654 / 978-0552565561
Series: Skylark Series
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Formats Available: Hardback, Paperback, E-Book
BLURB from Goodreads
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?
I originally was given an e-arc of this one to review however due to a kindle breaking down I managed to lose it so ended up purchasing a copy.
I think the cover has a magical look and feel to it, which does fit well with the actual plot of the book too. The cover looks like it pictures a gate, upon reading the book I interpret the cover as being the entrance to the Iron Wood, that Lark searches for. So from the cover would I pick up the book to learn more? Yes, I would. I find the cover very attractive and am sure it would entice me to pick it up and read the blurb. The blurb would then further convince me to purchase the book. (Which it did do, as I did purchase this one).
I feel I should point out that the paperback/kindle cover is not the same as the one pictured above.
The cover to the right ------------------------------>
is the one that is featured on the paperback and the kindle
version of the book. Though I do like it and can see the connection with the folded paper skylark, I don't like it as much as I do the original cover pictured at the top of this post. This alternative cover also has the byline of "Follow the birds" which I do like but if I had to choose just the one cover it would be the original one. The book cover I would prefer on my bookshelf is the original one. it's more attractive and I think it triggers your imagination more.
I'd compare the folded bird one more to an edition of The Hunger Games books.
So Lark lives in a sheltered society, where when the children reach puberty the magic they have within them is taken from them. This procedure is called Harvesting. It is considered a good thing, as when being harvested you are giving what you can to keep the community going. Lark has seemed to have been passed over many times. Usually when there's the harvesting there are quite a few children. When Lark is finally called "to do her duty" she finds that she is the only one there to be harvested. What happens comes as a horrible shock to her, and isn't at all what she is led to believe a harvesting should be. Lark discovers she is "special" a her brother Basil was. Basil disappeared many years ago when he volunteered for a secret mission. A mission he never returned from.
Lark runs away into the wilderness outside the city walls to see if the stories she has heard are true. Are there really people outside her city? Will she ever find them? Who can she trust on her trip? And who should she avoid at all costs?
I initially found this book a little overly descriptive and quite slow paced for me. I felt at times I was wanting to rush the story on a little. Then about half way through the pace really picks up and I was hooked into the rest of the book, so much so that by the end of the book as I had an ARC of book 2 Shadowlark I went straight on to reading it!!
I liked Lark as a character, by the time she is taken to be harvested you are feeling her nerves about the procedure and you're feeling protective towards her too. You want her to rebel and try to find out more about what happened to her brother Basil and if he could be alive where could he be? I think Lark quite a sheltered naive kind of character, yet she turns out to be a wily, courageous, instinctive character to take on the wilderness and trust the words of people she hasn't known for very long.
I like the twists and turns in the plot, people turning out to be not quite as they seem. Lark has to learn to trust her own instincts rightly or wrongly about who she can, should, and shouldn't trust.
So did I enjoy the book? Being totally honest, it was a slow starter for me and I thought I wasn't going to like it at all during the first half of the book. Then the pace picked up and I felt intrigued, I wanted to know that Lark made it to the "safe haven" she had been told about. I enjoyed reading how Lark learns to survive on her instincts. I liked the quirky little machine pixie that she calls Nix, and the "relationship" that develops between human and machine. I also liked the introduction of Oren, the boy Lark meet's in the wilderness, and comes to rely on for help to her destination. Would I recommend the book? I would say yes, you may need to persevere a little in places but the book is well worth it. Will I be reading Bk#2? I started reading BK#2 immediately upon finishing Bk#1!! Would I read other books by Meagan Spooner? I would like to try some of her other books yes.