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review 2016-08-03 14:25
The Song of the Skylark - Erica James

Two stories. Lizzie is a walking disaster who gets the sack from her job in London and returns to live with her parents in Suffolk. With nothing else to do but mope finds herself working as a volunteer in a care home where she meets and befriends one of the residents, Clarissa, who goes on to tell her about her wartime escapades. As a fan of Erica James I was looking forward to reading this book, but didn't enjoy it as much as previous ones. Lizzie and her sister in law were particularly irritating so I tended to skim read those sections. Clarissa was far more interesting, so I liked the parts during the war and also the description of the boat journey across the Atlantic. This is the sort of book to put in your suitcase or to read on a long journey.

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review 2015-11-22 10:49
Thoughts: Lark Ascending
Lark Ascending - Meagan Spooner

Lark Ascending -- Meagan Spooner

Book 3 (final) of Skylark trilogy

 

 

@62% into book
This last book is probably the least haphazard one of the trilogy with a much clearer direction. Even with new events surfacing that give rise to new plot twists, we’re at least still focusing on one main conflict, even if said main conflict is extremely predictable.

Unlike the first two books, I’ve yet to encounter too many dragging moments. And then, much like the first two books (with the exception of some of the first book), Lark Ascending is fast-paced with an urgent “need-to-know-what-happens-next” narration. At least it has that going for it.

However, also much like the first two books, the characters are hard to relate with--I find myself caring very little for them or concerning myself about what happens to them. This book is more plot driven than it is character driven; but as I’d mentioned in the other two Skylark reviews, the characters have a lot of potential for great story. They just don’t seem to come to life in the books.


@ Book’s Completion
To be honest, this wasn’t a bad ending for the Skylark trilogy, if only because despite having an ongoing conflict that was hard to grasp, each book also had it’s own well-rounded conflict and conclusion.

And maybe, aside from that fast-paced storytelling that made the books within the Skylark trilogy easy to read, I can give it a little bit of credit for the above-mentioned well-roundedness of each book’s sub-conflict within the bigger main conflict of the trilogy.

Of course, for all the other things I stated in the 62% few paragraphs further up in this haphazard review (characters that are hard to relate with, ready predictability of story direction, uncertainty of each book’s general direction throughout the series…), the overall impression I got from the trilogy was quite less than enjoyable.

Makes sense? Probably not. I’m not even quite sure I know what I’m trying to say.

Nevertheless, I still managed to fly through the books without too much trouble.


In this conclusion:
Basically, it feels like we’re moving forward in the main series conflict with the start of Lark Ascending. But at the same time, it feels like the book recycles the same formula and storyline from both, the first and the second book.

There’s traveling in the dark wilderness outside of the safety of magic-generating cities wherein Lark and her companions are headed to fight another evil. Except that, much like the first two books, she doesn’t know she’ll find another villain to save the world from--she’s just traveling to her destination to find answers she has lots of questions about. And in doing so ends up in another large-scale battle to save lives and overthrow oppression or defeat the bad guys or something like that.

There’s a lot of fighting, a lot of bloodshed, a lot of inner monologue-ing angst about darkness and evil and monsters and etc….


My Thoughts:
The only real difference between this book and the previous two in the trilogy was the fact that (as I’d already stated), the main conflict and the story’s direction are a little more clear cut. It made the book easier to read than the previous two books; I fell asleep less often and got bored less often. I turned pages with a good bit of urgency, curiosity, mostly; wanting to know how the series would tie up; disappointed that there were still a lot of loose ends. Of course, it could also be stated that because the storyline was easier to grasp, so was the predictability of future twists and secret reveals.

Even then, it doesn’t mean that the book itself wasn’t chaotic.

As a dystopian in a sea of other YA dystopian series/trilogies, Skylark isn’t a terrible set. As I’d stated before, the world created in Skylark has potential; the storytelling and the general YA formula, however, made it into “Just another YA dystopian trilogy”.

 

***

 

This book is a pre-chosen participant in the following Reading Challenge(s):

 

 

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review 2015-11-21 02:15
Thoughts: Shadowlark
Shadowlark - Meagan Spooner

Shadowlark -- Meagan Spooner

Book 2 of Skylark

 

 

@50% into book
I fell asleep twice reading this book already. Whether it’s because I’ve been overly tired from lack of sleep or because the book is kind of boring, I’m not sure. Up to this point, there’s a fairly flimsy plot line wherein I have an idea where the book is headed, but I’m not entirely sure I know what is actually going on in this book. Even since the first book I’m not sure I know what the main conflict really is--

1. Lark is looking for her brother, Basil.
2. Lark is trying to find a place where she can live normally.
3. Lark doesn’t want to settle where the society will use her for their own needs.
4. Lark creates her own romantic angst by not knowing what she wants when it comes to Oren.

I honestly have no idea what’s really going on here and I’m having an even harder time relating with any of the characters. I’m not even sure Lark knows what she’s doing, honestly, but I suppose it helps that no matter where she goes, everyone likes her.


@ Book's Completion
I still have issues trying to figure out what all happened in this book. It still feels overly haphazard and confusing. And boring.

But at least it was fast-paced and still had some points where I could get into it and forget that I'm not exactly enjoying it. At least the characters are different and at least Lark is a strong character even if she makes a lot of misguided decisions (misguided by her own dramatic, wandering monologues).

And it's not like Shadowlark was a terrible book, or anything. It's got serviceable writing and a narrator who isn't entirely boring. And the situations DO present with a slight "Wait and see what happens next" vibe. And so I keep reading to figure out what happens next.

And also, Nix is kind of a new take on the R2-D2 of a YA world, with attitude and all. But, of course, Nix is no android Iko from The Lunar Chronicles (Yes. I'm still riding some residual Book Hangover from finishing Winter).


To Paraphrase:
Basically, Shadowlark picks up where we left off from Skylark wherein Lark is continuing her journey to finding her brother, Basil, if he’s still alive. After the events at Iron Wood, Lark is more determined to find Basil and figure out where she belongs in this world.

And she is joined by her human-like pixie, Nix, as well as Tansey, one of the scouts from Iron Wood. Of course, along the way, more conflicts happen, Oren rejoins Lark, but there’s the obligatory romantic angst for reasons… and so on.

And also, more evil stuff surfaces and more saving the world ensues.


My Thoughts:
My thoughts are pretty much what I’ve already stated above: this book was fairly boring. But on top of that, we’ve got some awkward emotional flip-flops all over the place. Scenes that were meant to be gut-wrenching or heart-breaking felt overdone to me. Scenes that required a more emotional reaction ended up narrating rather flat.

Once again, much like Skylark, I really DO feel like this series, this world, had a lot of potential. It’s creative and different. The history of Skylark’s world, however, is still rather vague. But at least back story is what these books have going for it.

The characters seem intriguing on paper, and even the situations and relationships have potential for development, for a more exciting storyline. But in the story itself, the characters are hard to relate with and kind of dull and kind of typical YA standard, even if their situations are a little more unique, especially the romance between Lark and Oren--a darkness to their realities that intrigued me to an extent.

Another fortunate aspect to this book is that it’s pacing is fast. I flew through it before I even knew what was going on. In fact, as I already stated above, I still had no idea what was actually happening in the book, but I breezed right through the entire thing pretty quickly. I mean, I get the events and I see the happenings… but I’m still not entirely certain I know what the point of the book had been. Nor did I understand where the book’s direction was headed.

At least not until the end.

And now, despite knowing what’s in store for the concluding book in this series, I’m not quite sure I’m all that excited about it. The only thing keeping me connected to this series is the curiosity--wanting to know how it all ends.

 

***

 

This book is a pre-chosen participant in the following Reading Challenge(s):

 

 

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text 2015-11-13 12:24
In which I try to read ALL THE BOOKS! - Take Two
Shadowlark - Meagan Spooner
Fear the Dark (A Bishop/SCU Novel) - Kay Hooper
Walk on Earth a Stranger - Rae Carson

I'm not actually trying to read all the books on my TBR this time.  It's more like I'm feeling a slight empty void after finishing Winter and somehow decided to start reading three more books.

 

 

Obviously, "needing time to recover," means reading everything I can get my hands on so that I can somehow figure out if I'm going to be regaining those good FEELS I had gotten when I was reading Winter--especially towards the end of Winter.

 

Again, logic does not become me, apparently.

 

At least the books are enjoyable so far, so maybe I can get over this short Book Hangover quickly.  After all, I really should be jumping back into Career of Evil of which I'd been anticipating reading for so long.

 

But Shadowlark is actually starting out kind of exciting, Fear the Dark has that nicely creepy vibe of a paranormal mystery that I'm already intrigued with, and Walk on Earth a Stranger has promise even if I didn't quite get into it with the first chapter.

 

I'm starting to get an itching to crawl back into my Reading Cave and stay there forever.

 

 

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review 2015-11-10 11:28
Thoughts: Skylark
Skylark - Meagan Spooner

Skylark -- Meagan Spooner

Book 1 of Skylark trilogy

 

 

When I first started reading YA dystopians, Skylark had been one of few I’d been immensely interested in. For what reason that is, I’m not even sure I remember anymore. But due to the current “trilogy” fad for any and all YA novels, I had decided to wait until the entire series was completed before reading it.

As intriguing as the story concept is, and as solidly as the story had started out, Skylark wasn’t exactly the most exciting YA dystopian out there, among many. I can’t help but feel like it could have been better or more exciting… but in the end, I’m not even really sure what it is that Skylark needed to have in order to appeal to me from beginning until the end; because I could have used a dose of something in order to not feel like the story’s adventure arc dragged something terrible.


The Basic Story Line…
To be totally honest, I’m not entirely sure that I understand what the story line of Skylark encompassed. The beginning was a bundle of confusing, and I understood only that our heroine, Lark Ainsley, lives in a city (of typical dystopian setting) wherein children are “harvested” regularly for their power. No one knows what it means to be harvested, except that a certain power within each person is taken away to help power the city’s machines and keep the “Wall” in place, to keep dangers outside of the wall from coming in.

Then it is discovered that Lark may be a “Renewable”, an individual capable of regenerating her power even after it is taken away from her. And now the city wants to plug her into their network so that she can endlessly power the city.

So then we start an adventure wherein Lark escapes and must make her way through the dangerous outside world of uncivilized wilderness where there are fierce hunters, monsters, who used to be human--it is said that the lack of magical influence has turned them into what they are now: monsters, cannibalistic, dangerous…

Lark’s destination is a place called Iron Wood where she will find many others like her, a place where she may finally feel as if she could belong; a place where she can feel safe and live out the rest of her life.


My Thoughts:
I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I’d been hoping. In all honesty, the book’s premise had potential. The world is a creative one with interesting ideas. The characters were a little bland, though, and Skylark felt like it might have been grasping for story while trying to get Lark from Point A to Point B. It dragged.

I love adventures. So books wherein there is a lot of travel or a lot of walking don’t typically bother me… unless they’re written with such little pizazz that I stop caring about what’s going on with Lark as she travels by herself and self-monologues about her life and her future life and the life she left behind, and all the new scary, frightful things she’s encountering. Because it didn’t feel exciting to me even if it was whole new territory for her.

Even while I got extremely bored with Lark’s solitary trek through the dangerous forest; and even after she met up with Oren and brought the pixie, Nix, on-board her journey, the adventure was still a bit boring. And then, the moment things started getting exciting, another change would take place with our traveling troupe and the story would dip into either boring (again) or frustrating (even worse).

So while I DID find some parts of Skylark enjoyable, and while the ending seemed to reignite my interest, it makes me wary that the book had more moments of boring monotony than the good stuff.

Nonetheless, I’m still curious (a mild curiosity) as to what will happen next, and so I’m hopeful that things will pick up a little bit in the next books. I may not be entirely invested in these characters, but I’m hoping something will come of the rest of the trilogy.

 

***

 

This book is a pre-chosen participant in the following Reading Challenge(s):

 

 

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