Sunday, July 28, 2013

Skylark by Meagan Spooner

  • Release Date: August 1, 2012
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Pages: 344
  • Publisher: Carolrhoda Labs (Lerner Publishing)
Synopsis: 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.

Steampunk, fantasy and dystopian collide to create the devastatingly unique setting of Skylark by debut author, Meagan Spooner.

In Lark Ainsley's  community everything is powered by the Resource, a type of magic that originates in all the citizens. At a young age, every citizen has their Resource harvested which strips them of any ability and then fully join society as adults.

Lark is getting older and  at 15-years-old is frustrated that she has yet to get harvested. Just when she thinks it will never happen Lark discovers she is different.  In a very bad way. Lark finds herself on the run, escaping the only life and civilization she knows into a great and dangerous unknown.

Judging by what I heard at the 2012 BEA editor's buzz, this story could an allegory for adolescence and growing up. When Lark doesn't like what being an an adult means in her community she has a choice to conform or rebel.

The story of Lark's journey  from home is  pretty linear. She spends much of the time alone so, there isn't a lot of dialogue and much of the story is internal narration. This is a book that is hard to discuss without getting into the spoilers.

This book follows the classic dystopian rules; the world building relied heavily on the Capital Letters Are Magic trope; The Wall, the Resource, Adjustment, Architects, The Administrator, The Institute, The Machine and Renewable. At times it was hard to juggle so many new terms and concepts.

Skylark has a nightmarish edge I haven't seen in a lot of dystopians. There are a lot of fates worse than death and some pretty depressing stuff in the world of this book.  The bleak world Lark inhabits reminded me a bit  Pure by Julianna Baggot. However, Lark is so removed from the horrible stuff that it doesn't have the same impact.

Skylar builds a distressing and interesting world for a young girls coming of age, but the plot falls flat at times and can be hard to stay in the present.


  1. I didn't realize that his book had steampunk elements as well. Interesting!

  2. Neither did I, but clockwork sentient creatures and a magic oppressed society just scream steampunk to me.

  3. At least it definitely sounds original, if not for a somewhat subversive plot :)

  4. I've been curious about this book for a while and I still have my e-ARc from lasst summer which means I really need to get going on this one. (Understatement of the year.) I like that it's dark and the main character acts as a bit of a rebel. I'm interested to see how this one plays out now much more than I had been before. :)


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