Duty. Desire. Destiny.
How far would you go to be safe… to be free…to be loved?
Iskra doesn’t question the rules. The rules are there to keep her safe from those who are deemed unsafe or unfair. Anyone who breaks the rules is taken, never to be heard from again. But that’s the price everyone gladly pays for peace and safety. And no one wants to live like the Riskers–barbarians who reject order and justice, and could kill or be killed at any moment.
When a friend is taken because of Iskra, the guilt forces her to do the unthinkable: seek out the Riskers. Iskra’s quest to save her friend quickly entangles her fate with a cryptic prophecy and a young Risker named Xico, who ensnares her heart and is willing to put it all on the line to win her.
With every risk Iskra takes, the closer she gets to true freedom. But every choice carries a consequence. The choices she makes set events she never imagined into motion, and the price of her freedom could very well be her life and the life of the man she loves.
Flight of the Spark ended up being a very unexpected book for me, from the cover I thought I was in for a magic heavy, high fantasy, however, it was very much a dystopian world albeit in a medieval setting. It was an easy world to get into with great descriptive world building that painted a vivid picture of the area. I loved the opening stages, Iskra is wonderfully naive and but also horribly controlled by fear. Her inquisitive nature, however, leads to the perfect story arc for her. As I discovered more about the village and those that are tasked with keeping its inhabitants safe, the more it made sense that she was so easily pulled further and further into the arms of the Risker’s. The two area’s could not be more different and made for a nice juxtapose, between the bleak village and the hard but colourful Risker life, it gave great light and dark to the story. The school elements really allowed for the backstory to be creatively woven in across several lessons, which meant the the author cleverly avoided an infodump. I think I would have liked to have understood sooner though why the villagers and the Riskers were not allowed to mix, because I was always questioning why Iskra felt she had to always return to the village up until that point.
The magic system was simple and understated in this opening book, more of an ideology, those who are able to wield do so sparingly and with subtlety. I hope that it gets the chance to shine later in the series as I liked the way the foundation was laid for it.. The relationship for the most part is very sweet but does have a Romeo and Juliet undertone, I liked how the romance was able to develop slowly and didn’t dominate the story, which was complex at times and also pretty dark in places. There’s a side story that I would have loved to have explored further with regard to the Taken, but events overtook that section quickly and it probably would have pulled too far away from the fast pace of Iskra’s arc to return to it. There are many fast paced and a few slightly chilling moments woven through which really had me turning the pages! As a stylistic point, I liked how the inner monologue was denoted by italics so I always knew where I was with the narrative.
The book for the most part read like a teen novel for me but there is a lot of violence and whilst the intimate moments are fade to black, the underage aspect didn’t sit well with me. The point that Iskra was just 15 was drilled so heavily home to drive certain aspects of the story forward that the author was left with no choice in order to get the rest of the story where it needed to go. I also felt that the earlier part of the story was bogged down a little with a huge cast of side characters who didn’t really add anything to the story. I was also often left struggling to keep track of every new name and area, this was also compounded by the fact that days of the week, seasons, even the moon all had their own new identity too and it felt name overloaded at times.
However, it remained a captivating read throughout and one that I found myself eager to pick back up, I’m intrigued as to where the story will head next, given the devastating cliffhanger and revelation! My thanks to the Author for providing a finished copy for review.