Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 2011
Satisfying Sequel
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
What I Liked:
Though Skylark didn’t achieve a ranking among my very favorite books, I was quite impressed with Spooner’s descriptions and, above all, unique world building. That tradition continues in Shadowlark with the addition of stronger character arcs.

At the end of Skylark, Lark left to go searching for her brother, accompanied by Tansy, Nix, and, at a distance, Oren. Lark’s brother, Basil, escaped before she did, and she’s determined to resolve that mystery. Spooner sets up yet another city, disparate from the two in the previous novel, that runs off of magic, but in a different way. While this is admittedly odd, it’s also very cool. Often dystopias only show a small subset of the world, a single city, and it’s fascinating to see how different areas reacted to whatever cataclysm occurred in this world.

Though I think there’s a bit less horror in Shadowlark, as she spends less time amongst shadows, this novel is a whole different kind of creepy. In Skylark, Lark realized that she’s possessed of a great power, which could have made her yet another special snowflake. Instead, Lark’s feeling the allure of the dark side, which gives her character new depths and makes her work to be a hero. Though power comes easily to Lark, using it wisely does not. I’m always happy to see the heroine or hero struggle. The achievements that are difficult to come by mean so much more.

A whole slew of new characters are introduced, with only a couple recurring from the previous novel. Given that I don’t remember most of the ones from the first novel, this wasn’t an issue for me. Plus, I quite like the new characters, particularly Olivia and Wesley. Also, the villain of this plot arc has quite a bit of character building which I always enjoy. My favorite character by far, though, is Nix, the pixie. He’s sort of a little robot that can fly, and he’s sarcastic and judgmental and supportive and useful in a crisis. I would totally love to have Nix at my side as I went about my day.

Another big plus was how little romance there was. Oren and Lark have been mooning over each other since they met, basically, but they both put practical concerns above romance. Thank you, Meagan Spooner, for writing a dystopia in which the main characters put survival above hormones. This does not happen enough.

What Left Me Wanting More:
What was lacking for me was that extra degree of emotional impact. There’s a scene at the end that really should have had me freaking out because some serious stuff goes down and I was just sort of like “huh, cool.” The ending also felt somewhat rushed, and it seemed like some of the more minor character arcs were left hanging. I wanted to know more about what happened with Olivia’s girlfriend, for example, and also felt like Lark was a bit too forgiving of a particular character.

The Final Verdict:
In the next installment of the Skylark series, Meagan Spooner will obviously be tackling the origin of this world, and I cannot wait to find out how she explains all of this. Based on her delightfully original work so far, I’m betting it will be something fantastical.
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