June 19, 2014

Skylark by Meagan Spooner

"I shivered, thinking of my brother's explanation for his sacrifice. You weren't made to live in a cage, little bird. That much, it seemed, was true.  In a city utterly dependent on its every citizen to perform their duties and fit in like clockwork, where was there room for me?" 

If you think about the types of books I enjoy, I absolutely should have enjoyed Skylark more than I did.  It's a futuristic, dystopian Earth.  It's a girl running away from the oppressive regime trying to use her like a tissue.  It's said girl finding herself on an adventure in a place she never really knew much about.  Sounds perfect for me, right?  So why did I struggle with it?

It's not that I didn't enjoy it, it's just that instead of finding it right up my alley, I instead found myself on a strange detour that didn't fit my expectations.  I found Lark to be dull when I should've found her courageous and daring and independent.  I found the love triangle trite.  (Aren't we done with this yet?)  I found the passaged where Lark is transversing the wasteland of post-nuclear Earth to be wasted.  Lark isn't a deep girl.  She isn't interesting.  Besides the magic she has that everyone wants, she is utterly forgettable.  You can't have a forgettable main character.  

The part that was the most interesting to me is when Lark is being held against her will at the Institute, where they are draining her of her magic in order to run the city (this is what she ends up running away from).  

Pretending to make sure I was settled, he said in a voice barely louder than a breath, "Just hang in there for now. I'm going to get you out of here, Lark.  I promise."  And then he was gone, the room went black, and I was screaming before the vibrations reached my skull. -pg. 61

In addition, as Lark explores the wasteland and finds other pockets of magic like the one her city was in, some interesting things happen:

"I listened as hard as I could, but I heard nothing else, only the slight creaking of wooden tree trunks as if in a breeze. I closed my eyes, trying to hold absolutely still, breathing shallowly. The wooden creaking grew louder, and then the hot pit of fear in my gut turned to ice. It isn't windy." - pg. 113 
The problem is these interesting things happened in between a whole lot of downtime filled with absolutely nothing going on at all.  No action, no character development, just her and a mechanical pixie.  I confess, the pixie was more interesting than Lark.  

I think the plot had so much potential, but it just fell flat for me.  I even feel bad about it falling flat for me (and, in truth, procrastinated writing this review) because a) it came so highly recommended to me, and b) I met Meagan Spooner and I listened to her discuss Skylark and I thought I would love it.  

Have you ever read a book that for all intents and purposes should've been something you loved, but you ended up struggling with it?

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