Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed barrier of energy enclosing all that’s left of humanity. For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children’s innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.
Forced to flee the only home she knows to avoid life as a human battery, Lark must fight her way through the terrible wilderness beyond the edge of the world. With the city’s clockwork creations close on her heels and a strange wild boy stalking her in the countryside, she must move quickly if she is to have any hope of survival. She’s heard the stories that somewhere to the west are others like her, hidden in secret – but can she stay alive long enough to find them?
AH’s Review – 3.5 Skulls – B
The world of Skylark is a fascinating place. It is a post-apocalyptic world where the inhabitants live in a walled, climate controlled city. The city is powered by a magic that is harvested from its young inhabitants. Most young residents are “harvested” before the age of 12. The main character Lark refers to herself as “…the unharvested freak.”
The story begins as Lark is finally harvested. This is where I had a little sense of déjà vu as the Harvest kind of sounded like the Reaping of another popular young adult novel, minus the fight to the death. Lark is fed an amazing quantity of food, she is tested, and she is poked and prodded and put into a strange machine. There’s something sinister going on, but Lark just can’t seem to remember what it is.
Then Lark sees the girl with the glass tubes. Here, all I could picture was the Borg Hive Queen from Star Trek, a pretty scary image if there was one. Lark wonders if this is to be her fate. With a little help from someone on the inside, Lark manages to escape and escape her domed city.
And so begins Lark’s life outside the wall. Remember, Lark has never seen the sky, nor has she experienced weather. Most of the plants and animals were extinct due to war. It’s a shame that we don’t get much detail or background about this war but since the story is narrated by Lark, she doesn’t really seem to know anything detailed information about it. Lark had been taught that there is no life outside the walls of her city, only monsters. Imagine her surprise when she finds out that this is not true.
Oh, there are carnivorous trees – freaky. There are also pockets of magic which cause some interesting things. Lark is also able to see ghost images of previous inhabitants before the bombs fell.
Lark is accompanied by Oren, a feral boy with a taste for meat and a pixie. Not your magical little pixies but a clockwork insect shaped flying contraption. Together, they journey to find others like her. Lark and Oren reach the Iron Woods where the squatters are hiding. Oren refuses to enter the woods, fearing death. Lark goes on and finds a group of people.
I really liked Lark’s voice. Lark’s intelligence and her resourcefulness was her saving grace as she was not equipped to live or travel outside her city. Her pleasant manner made it easy for her to be accepted by the people in the Iron Wood. Lark also has surprising powers although they need to be developed further.
One of my favorite characters had to be Nix. Nix was a sentient insect like clockwork contraption that followed Lark throughout her journey. At first, Lark tried to destroy the pixie but later she allowed it to join her.
Skylark is a perfect summer reading book. The heroine is feisty and intelligent and the story is compelling. I enjoyed the mix of fantasy with a touch of clockwork contraptions in a post-apocalyptic world. Skylark is a solid start to the series and I can’t wait to read more.
Series Reading Order:
- Skylark – August 1, 2012
- The Paper Bird – TBA 2013
- The Leaden Sky – TBA 2014
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.
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