22 October 2012

Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Waverly and Kieran are finally reunited on the Empyrean. Kieran has led the boys safely up to this point, and now that the girls are back, their mission seems slightly less impossible: to chase down the New Horizon, and save their parents from the enemy ship. But nothing is truly as it seems…Kieran’s leadership methods have raised Seth’s hackles— and Waverly’s suspicions. Is this really her fiancĂ©? The handsome, loving boy she was torn from just a short time before? More and more, she finds her thoughts aligned with Seth’s. But if Seth is Kieran’s Enemy No. 1, what does that make her?

In one night, a strange explosion rocks the Empyrean—shooting them off course and delaying their pursuit of the New Horizon—and Seth is mysteriously released from the brig. Seth is the most obvious suspect for the explosion, and Waverly the most obvious suspect for releasing him. As the tension reaches a boiling point, will Seth be able to find the true culprit before Kieran locks them both away—or worse? Will Waverly follow her heart, even if it puts lives at risk? With the balance of power precarious and the clock ticking, every decision counts… every step brings them closer to a new beginning, or a sudden end...

If I had to pick one word to characterize this book, it would be "slow".  Everything in this book seemed to move slow.  Although I had difficulties with the first book, I would be the first to admit it had a great pacing and the ability to hook you into the plot.  This book . . . not so much.  Although Ryan deftly juggles three different character points of view, the characters are slow to grow and change, and the changes they make aren't good.  Kieran gets more suspicious and power-hungry, while Waverly gets more stubborn and defiant of any authority.  Seth . . . well, Seth gets kinda bland.  He seems to operate as the only plot device in the book, doing all the figuring, planning and thinking.  This use of a singular character to drive the plot makes for a lot more time watching the kids be kids, and not in a good way.  The Lord of the Flies -like infighting and subterfuge really slows down the pace of the book.  It also serves to make the few points the plot had seem insignificant at the time.  Add in the fact that the plot doesn't resolve itself and you get a rather unsatisfying book that suffers from middle syndrome.  However, even though the book also suffers from the first book's major problem (that the plot seems to have no resolution that is not "rocks fall, everyone dies") there is also still a glimmer of promise from the first book that may keep readers coming back for the third.

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