By: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Published: July 17, 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin
Source: Personal Kindle Library (gifted from Christmas)
(Goodreads / Amazon)
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 fiancé? 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?MY REVIEW:
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...
It has been quite a while since I read book 1, Glow, so I felt at a bit of a disadvantage not remembering very well a lot of the details from the first book. I remembered enough to not be lost in the story but I sort of wished I had went back and reread that one first. Having said that, book 2 was really good. I highly enjoyed it! I heard from some that said they couldn't finish it because they were too distracted and/or annoyed by the religious undertones of the book. However, this was not the case for me.
Religious fanatic Anne Mather, is the leader of the New Horizon ship. She takes what is good from the belief in God and twists it into her own version of religion and she raises herself up to be a god in a sense, the end all of all things, making her word law and rule over the people on her ship. She is an extreme manipulator. She takes advantage of her leadership role and sets about to do things in the name of "the greater good" when in reality they are evil and abusive of her self imposed power.
While on the other ship the Empyrean, their leader Kieran stumbles upon words of wisdom and encouragement and develops his own faith in God based on those words. In a world of hopelessness with all of their parents either dead or missing, and all the girls being taken in book 1, Kieran sets out to lead the children on his ship and to offer them hope, first to the boys and then to the girls when they are returned home. However, his words of hope are not accepted by all the girls, specifically the ones who were victimized by Anne Mather when they were taken. These girls view the words Kieran speaks as evil because they associate them with the evil that Anne Mather spewed forth. What this leads to is a distrust in anyone who claims to believe in the God that Anne Mather believed in.
Then there's Seth, misguided in book 1 into being power hungry only later realizing his mistake. Book 2 finds him still in the brig for his attempt to kill Kieran. However, Seth isn't a bad person and sets out to right his wrong by finding the person responsible for sabotaging the ship.
And lastly there's Waverly...I can respect her for her tough, unpopular decision making. There are those who despise her for leaving behind their parents in book 1 when they should be grateful for her saving them from a fate of a form of slavery, being used as egg donors against their will, being violated by the likes of Anne Mather. The younger girls don't understand exactly what Waverly saved them from. In book 1 we find Waverly and Kieran in love and matched up to marry since birth because in their world they marry early so they can carry on the human race. There is literally no time to waste. However, Waverly isn't sure Kieran is the right person for her...and after she comes back from the New Horizon ship she realizes she and Kieran aren't on the same page. Unfortunately because of their situations and what that brings out of their character, she realizes she is no longer who he fell in love with and he is no longer who she fell in love with. They don't even recognize one another anymore. He wants her to blindly follow him and trust and believe him just based on his word, and she isn't willing to do that. Her feelings for Sam also confuse her as to what path she needs to take.
Honestly at such young ages as the characters in the book are - 14, 15, 16, who can say for sure which path they need to take? These are not your average kids though. These kids are forced to grow up incredibly fast and forced to take on responsibilities of adults, to run a ship, raise children, feed everyone, etc... There are no adults to depend on. So they are forced at such a young age to become adults.
The setting of this story is incredibly intriguing to me...perhaps it's because I haven't read many, okay none other, YA books set in space. This is not a religious book. It's a book about finding hope in the midst of tragedy. It's a book about adversity and survival and humanity.
"He had two hundred and fifty lives in his hands. and it was his job to protect them, no matter how uncomfortable it made him feel."
"...he knew how easily power could be abused."
"You're just like Anne Mather. You've turned into a petty little version of her, and you're only going to get worse until you see the light."
"Just like you, I'm a kid doing an adult's job. Even though there have been problems along the way, I'm confident that I've done the best job anyone on this ship could have done."
"Her humanity had gone on hiatus, and what was left behind was her animal instinct: kill, hurt, maim, survive."
"There was nothing worse than knowing how deep you could go into barbarity."
"...everyone had a dark side; everyone could be pushed past the limits of their own humanity."
Spark is fast paced, action packed, and will leave you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next. It is a gripping tale of survival and loss.
Final Rating: 4.5 stars!