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Spark

Author:  Rachael Craw
4
9

Evie doesn't have a choice. One day she's an ordinary seventeen year old, grieving for her mother. The next, she's a Shield, the result of a decades-old experiment gone wrong, bound by DNA to defend her best friend from an unknown killer.

The threat could come at home, at school, anywhere. All Evie knows is that it will be a fight to the death.

And then there's Jamie. Irresistible. Off-limits.

4.25
Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (4 votes)

Reviews

Sep 23,2015
5

The undeniably awesome cover for Spark may have been what initially drew me to this novel, but it is the outstanding plot which cinched the deal. With a concept involving with the intriguing topic of genetic mutations, fair share of action-packed suspense and a romance which adds the cherry on top, after reading this impressive book, I can't wait to see what Rachael Craw will devise in the sequel.

But I want to cry for him, for me, for the loss of innocence that comes with the blood in our veins. Killers by design.


Set in the present day with a science-fiction twist, Spark definitely has all the details of these genetic mutations down. Evie is a Shield, who needs to protect her Spark Kitty from the Stray who is threatening her friend's life. With enhanced physical and mental abilities, it comes down to Evie to make sure that Kitty remains safe. Add to the background Affinity, the secret agency who is responsible for the Optimal gene which causes these anomalies and you get an awesome plot which keeps you guessing.

At times all the new language and terms relating to this phenomenon felt a bit hard to keep up with, but I am glad that the backdrop was solidly set to make the whole story plausible. If there's one thing that's important in any science fiction novel, it's making sure that those elements are explained properly, and the author definitely delivered on that. I really enjoyed seeing Evie develop as a character, testing out her new skills and always looking out for the best interests of her friend. She turned out to be a strong protagonist, who didn't let her budding romance with Jame get in the way of the task at hand. 

The action and suspense within the plot were both executed really well. Although it did seem a little slow in parts, by the time I got to the 400 page mark, there were definitely some unexpected twists which made me want to power through it to the end. There were some parts where I was turning the pages so fast I had to go over a few paragraphs again because I just couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next. Evie's bonds with Miriam and members of the Gallagher family were also tested, and added some realism to a storyline that does have quite a few science fiction elements. In all, I can see how the ending definitely leaves room for book two, and I will be on the edge of my seat with anticipation to see what will unfold next!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Spark drew me in from the very beginning, and is one of my favourite YA science-fiction reads of the year. Rachael Craw has definitely proven herself as an author to watch with this book, and you can bet that I'll be excitedly waiting to see what happens in 'Stray'. 

Jul 06,2015
0

Find more book reviews at my blog: The Galaxial Word

OMG. The first thing you see. The cover. I. Love. The. Cover. I mean, just look at that photoshop mastery. If I ever write a book, I am so calling this artist to do my cover. Because. Seriously. Look at it. But on another point, not only is the cover kick-a*s, the whole story is kick-a*s too.

It's hard to believe that this is Rachael Craw's debut novel, because she writes like she's been writing novels for years and years. There is so much detail and so much descriptive language. I'll cover more of that later. Another distinctive feature of her writing is her metaphors and similes. Like, they are everywhere. Literally, everywhere. You cannot go three sentences without seeing a metaphor. Don't get me wrong, though. This is amazing. Like, the writing flows so well, it never feels stilted or snagged. It's almost like reading a really really really long poem. With dialogue. And genetically altered teenage girls whose ginormous boobs grow at uber fast rates. Yeah. More on that later.

First off, the detail in the writing. It is just amazing. You wanna know the colour of the cupboards? You got it. You don't wanna know the colour, feel and smell of his naked skin? Too bad, coz you got it. The type of trees in the corner? Done. The shoes she's wearing? Done. The detail in the story brings so much depth to the novel, because as every reader knows. detail = makes the novel feel real.

Another great Craw feature. Metaphors and similes. You know how your teachers are always saying, use more metaphors, be more descriptive, more similes! Well, I think Craw's editor either modelled his/her advice off his primary school teacher's, or Craw herself writes like this already (I'm gunning for the former).

The characters themselves are great. There's the main character, Evie. There's the forbidden love interest, Jamie. There's the person that links them, Kitty. There's the mentor, Miriam. And, of course, there's the villain, who I won't reveal because it's a major spoiler.

Evie is a great character. When the gene mutates in her body, she gets speedy, strong, lightning quick reactions and precognition. There's a few problems I have with her.

1) She also gets hot. Because apparently, the gene only chooses people who are naturally smart, strong and pretty. And so when the gene reveals itself, she grows to supermodel height, boys are more attracted to her, and her boobs explode. Not literally. Just, she wakes up one day and BAM she has massive mammaries. I found this a little superficial. Like, "pretty" is boobs and height? That's a little shallow.

2) Also, she faints a lot. Like, when she's not fighting or training or pashing, she's the swooning damsel in distress. Actually, she faints when she kisses Jamie. Which gets pretty annoying.

Jamie is the typical, handsome, muscly, forbidden love interest. Of course, they end up getting together against the wishes of everybody who knows them. Duh. Great idea.

The plot was great. It was so refreshingly different. Of course, I've read the whole "DNA changed by scientists" thread hundreds of times, but I've never read anything with protectors and attackers. So basically, there's this group of people who messed with the DNA of a few people, and these people passed the gene on through generations. There's sparks, people who trigger reactions from shields (people built to protect sparks) and strays (people built to kill sparks). That's 500 pages in 2 sentences.

Alright, back to negatives (bah!). There was a few chapters, maybe 2 or 3 chapters close to the start of the book, where everything is explained to Evie, and in turn, to the reader. Now, that in itself isn't a bad thing, but when you get 3 chapters of continuous dialogue (actually it's not even really dialogue because it's basically just one person talking). And there's a lot of information, a lot of acronyms and terms that we've never heard before, as the reader, and it's a lot to take in. Like. A. Lot. There's just so so much information given over 2 chapters, that I had to go back because I just didn't understand some parts of the book sometimes, later on. But that's basically my biggest flaw that I found in Spark.

All in all, though, Spark was a great, engrossing novel that really grabbed my interest and held me in my seat until I finished the book. I solemnly vow to read the sequels (It's part of a trilogy and the second book comes out September 2015 *squeeeee*).


Rating:  9/10

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Dec 30,2014
0

I cannot handle my love for this book. I want it made into a movie and I want Liana Liberato and Lily Collins to star and I want the second and third books to come out now. Time travel, go!

I found this book through the lovely Melissa Keil (who I’ve previously written about numerous times, usually tagged as #bdbfavourite). Young Adult authors recommending books by other Young Adult authors? My favourite.

Spark is an incredible novel, its story woven with adventure, friendship, family and love. Of course. I think I managed to read this one in a day, I found it so hard to put down. Here’s the quote found on the back cover:

“You think God has a loophole for people who don’t have a choice?”
Jamie shrugs. 
“Hope so, otherwise we’re screwed.”

GIMME FRIENDLY BANTER AND POSSIBLE RELATIONSHIPS AND FAMILY THINGS AND PEOPLE KICKING BUTT. Duuuuude. This book.

It’s very Divergent-esque, but I think that’s what I love about it. It’s the same in some ways, but different in others. Rachael Craw, unlike Veronica Roth, doesn’t jump the gun. Every single step throughout each page in Spark is thought out, and if not answered straight away, it is by the end of the book. Speaking of, that ending. I know that’s the way all books with sequels are destined to end, but…come on. I can’t handle that. I read this book almost a month ago and I’m still reeling about it. Only two other books/series have managed to do that- The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater and The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. The first because I can’t deal with the relationship between Sam and Grace (reviews found here) and the second because I totally misinterpreted TFIOS and was colossally unprepared for the death in that book. Bah.

So I’m pretty stoked I can add Spark to that list, and that there are two books coming over the next two years for me to freak out about. Plus, Rachael Craw is a lovely lady. I’m glad I’ll be in good company with If You Say So. This is definitely a re-read. And Hollywood? I better not be waiting for that movie in two years time.

Dec 16,2014
5

Actual rating - 4.5/5, but rounding up because maths.

I've been meaning to write a review of Spark for a very long time. Months. I'm a slacker, so this means I've only just gotten around to doing so, but THIS IS IT. It's being written. 

I was lucky enough to win my copy of Spark, which means I feel a bit guilty about it taking me this long to review.  There's also the fact that I completely loved the story. This review's long overdue, and so I think I should probably stop rambling and review. RIght.

I'll get the (very small) amount of negatives out of the way first. My only problem with Spark was the fact that, towards the end, the pacing got a little iffy. Not majorly so, but compared to the start, which was so well done, it was noticable. Not enough to change my opinion on the book, so it wasn't a major problem. The good aspects of this book were numerous enough to outweigh this, so the less-than-perfect pacing in some of the later chapters didn't make the story disappointing.

It's been that long since I read Spark that my review's not going to be as detailed as if it were fresh in my brain, but that said, I do remember it pretty well - it has made enough of an impression on me that I haven't forgotten about it, despite all the books I've read in the meantime. Probably the stand-out of the book was the fact that the story was simply captivating, and Rachael Craw managed to handle the suspense and mystery perfectly. Loved the uncertainty over who the baddy was, and I loved having a somewhat unreliable narrator.

This book had some great Buffy vibes to it, which is never a bad thing. Similar feel, but a completely different storyline meant it didn't feel like a copy.

I was really pleased reading this book. It was extremely well-written, and surpassed my expectations. It was in many ways a superhero story, but still with the teen angst and fear of not being able to fulfill your destiny. All the characters were believable and differed from each other fantastically. 

I might go back and update this review after I reread Spark, because I don't think this review is quite doing it justice. Looking forward to Stray, when it comes out, and definitely recommend this book.

Oct 20,2014
5

I picked this book up for a good read and was hoping it wouldn't let me down.

well it certainly didn't let me down.

I had worry in my heart and a smile on my face this book really made me re think a couple things in this world. 

Reading the beautiful writing inspired me to write my stories even better then I normaly do. this book was a wonderful experiance not much to fault!

pick this book up now and you wont put it down!

Oct 05,2014
5

One word. 

Spectacular.

I just finished reading this phenomenon and I'm already craving the sequel. This book by Rachael Craw was beautifully written and Sparked many emotions and tugs towards my thoughts about secret government projects. I thank the author for writing such an amazing book and I can't wait to read more about Evie and her journey.

 

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