Monday, November 17, 2014

37 Shopping days Left! Review of Lark Ascending by Meagan Spooner

Lark Ascending

The thrilling conclusion to The Skylark Trilogy: Revolution is brewing in the city within the Wall. The city stands divided, and war is imminent. The rebels need a leader. After months beyond the Wall, Lark returns with Oren by her side, prepared to overthrow the Institute once and for all. But Lark's triumphant homecoming is short-lived when another leader emerges to unite the rebels: Eve, a mysterious Renewable. Lark wonders if Eve's powers will bring them strength—or bring humanity's final downfall.

It's always nice to see a writer hone her craft through a series. While I enjoyed the first book in this trilogy, Skylark, it felt like it could use some tightening in areas, and the secondary characters needed some fleshing out. The second, Shadowlark, was better, but still left me feeling something was lacking. In this final title, however, things come together nicely - both in the writing skill and in the story line. 

Surprises abound in Lark Ascending, as old friends - and foes- reappear, sometimes not on the same side they once were, and we learn more about the ancient disaster, Lark's powers, and Kris's past (yes, he's back too). And, then there's Eve - the tortured Renewable who urged Lark to escape and "follow the birds" - how did she come to be captured to begin with? What are her plans once free? What is her connection with Lark?

While new questions are raised almost faster than the reader can keep track of them, the mostly-satisfying ending wraps the majority of them up. There are still enough loose threads to make one wonder if this is really going to be just a trilogy after all (scroll down to *** for some examples if you don't mind spoilers). 

This is definitely not a stand-alone novel, you will need to read the first two to have any clue what is going on. In a way it reminds me of one of my favorite trilogies when I was younger - at the risk of dating myself, the Green Sky Trilogy by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. The first two each give an accounting of a different part of the world, then the third brings those worlds together in a climactic moment.

Gifting Ideas:
An origami bird figures heavily in the first book of the series. Gift this with an origami how-to book and some origami paper.
Descriptions of The Machine make me think of one of these plasma balls:

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Christopher has one in his room, and it makes a great night-light!

Or, give the whole trilogy together, with one of these adorable nightlights:

They come in different colors, and I spotted them last week at Sportsman's Warehouse - totally going in the kids' stockings this year! And a perfect combination of the semi-steampunk technology (Nix!) and the need for non-magical lights in each of the books.


***WHERE THE BLEEP IS TAMREN??? Who tore those people apart? Was it Oren? If so, what fallout was there for him - does he realize it was him? If not, who or what was it? What about Lark's parents? Did she look for them, or just assume they were dead?  Inquiring minds want to know!

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