Friday, 15 August 2014

Spark by J.B. North

Title: Spark        
Author: J.B. North
Series: Legends of the Shifters  #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Shapeshifters, Religion, Sword play, Magic
Source: Kindle
Pages: 402 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Available at:

Blurb: (via Goodreads)
For more than a decade, Ivy Oliver has lived in a dark, crumbling orphanage where she was sent after her parents’ death. Her only hope for a life of simplicity and happiness is the trial, a test that frees her second form from where it’s been buried since her birth.

That hope is dashed, however, when she transforms into a creature that rips her away from the only friends she’s ever had and ensures that her enemies are numerous. She is dragged unwillingly to a school that will discipline her in the ways of survival and defense. There, she makes both friend and foe. She discovers things she never knew about her past and her future. This tiny, insignificant girl is faced with a crushing destiny that might be too staggering for her to bear. She will have to abandon her shy, quiet demeanor and take on a fearless spirit if she wants to survive

My Review:
I have been on a role lately with good books and Spark is no exception.  When I first read the blurb to this book, I initially thought it would be about dragons because of the title... that and because I found this book through the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" section of a dragon book I had just purchased. I was surprised to find I was wrong, but I liked what I found much more than what I thought it to be.

To start off this review, I would like to comment on the fantastic job North did on the world building of this novel. She did a fantastic job of explaining new concepts without over explaining or giving tedious information. The world described was easy to understand, an quite fascinating. However, I found that the writing did a lot more telling than it did showing. This isn't the biggest issue in the world, in fact it is a very minor one, but if North can master the skill of showing her audience rather than just telling them, I truly believe that her writing can be utterly outstanding. As it is, it is very well done, but that little push has the potential to make her truly great.

Character Development was beautifully done in my option. The main character, Ivy, wasn't really a whiner, which I was immensely grateful for. Sure, she realized the situation she was in sucked, and maybe it was unfair, but she made the best out of a bad situation and made a plan to make things better. She got shit done despite the challenging obstacles that are put in her way at every turn. The great thing about this book was that you didn't only watch Ivy grow, you saw secondary characters like Kurt and Roland grow as well. Not subtle growth, but obvious growth that made the characters more interesting and gave the reader a deeper connection to them.

Plot wise, the book had a lot of twists and turns. I am usually really good at guessing the ending, or at least major event in the book, way before they happen. This was not the case in Spark. The build up to the major events are so subtle that you really need to be reading the book carefully to fully catch them. I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong in my assumptions, but as I said earlier, what actually happens was so much better than the subpar assumptions I had made out. I did find that the ending was completely shocking. There was very little build up to it, but I'm not sure if that was on purpose to create a bigger Shock Factor, or just something over looked by the other. I am going to give North the benefit of the doubt here and guess the former rather than the latter. I will say that I was very sad at the end of the book, and as of right now, I don't see how the ending was necessary, BUT! I do think that the author will explain why the ending was necessary in the sequel.

Overall, this book was well done. It ended off sad, but with a cliffhanger so that the readers (like myself) will be begging for more. I am only sad that I found this book so early to its release date... now I have to wait for the sequel. This seems to be a popular theme for me lately. I would like to see some more showing rather than telling, and a huge explanation of the ending (I'm still heartbroken and a little mad about it). Other than that, the novel gets a 4.5 star rating in my books. I can't wait to see the next installment.

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