Author: Meagan Spooner
Publication: Carolrhoda Books (August 1, 2012)
Description: Vis in magia, in vita vi. In magic there is power, and in power, life.
For fifteen years, Lark Ainsley waited for the day when her Resource would be harvested and she would finally be an adult. After the harvest she expected a small role in the regular, orderly operation of the City within the Wall. She expected to do her part to maintain the refuge for the last survivors of the Wars. She expected to be a tiny cog in the larger clockwork of the city.
Lark did not expect to become the City's power supply.
For fifteen years, Lark Ainsley believed in a lie. Now she must escape the only world she's ever known...or face a fate more unimaginable than death.
In Meagan Spooner's compelling debut, magic, technology, and human frailty collide in a brilliant new world.
My Thoughts: SKYLARK was a compelling, page-turning dystopia where the survivors of some sort of magic war live in magically sealed cities powered by harvesting the magic from their children. Lark is eagerly waiting for the time when she is harvested so that she can assume her role as an adult in the city. Things don't go as expected when Lark is chosen for harvesting. She is told that she is something special - a Renewable. Her magic can be harvested over and over for the good of her city. However, the harvesting is the equivalent of torture and is a death sentence for her. She learns of a place of safety from the Renewable currently supplying magic to the city and a young man of the elite class names Kris helps her escape into the unknown outside of the city.
Part 2 is Lark's journey through the wilderness where she endures lack of food, water, shelter and adequate clothing as she tries to make her way to the Iron Forest where safety lies. She is aided by Oren who is a boy living in the wilderness and by the mechanical pixie sent along to track her journey. Neither one of them can be trusted but both save her life many times. Beyond the natural hazards are the shadow people - former humans who have lost their humanity and turned to cannibalism and scavenging.
Part 3 sees Lark find the Iron Forest and the settlement of Renewables there. But Oren won't go into the Iron Forest and Lark has to go on alone. She is welcomed but the leader tells her that she in not a Renewable. She has some kind of magic that he is not familiar with.
Lark learns a lot about her self and her world on her journey. She is both brave and honorable. She makes large sacrifices for her friends. Both Oren and Kris have major parts in Lark's story too. Neither one of them is what he appears to be at the beginning.
The world building in this story is fascinating - the city surrounded by a force field made by magic with clockwork machines to amplify it; the wilderness filled with decaying buildings and bands of cannibals but no other animal life; the various bubbles of magic that might hold danger or safety.
Fans of dystopias will enjoy this one and will be hopeful that Lark can find out what she is and where she belongs. Readers will be looking forward to the sequels to follow along with Lark on her journey.
"Lark, do you trust me?"I received the eARC from Carolrhoda Books via NetGalley for review. You can buy a copy here.
My breath quickened as I looked at him, the dried blood on his face and hands, the dirty hair, the piercing empty eyes. I saw in my mind's eye the flash of moonlight off the edge of his wet blade.
"No," I whispered.
His lips curved, and my heart slammed against my ribcage. "Good." He slipped through the barrier and its shimmering curtain of water.