Skylark (Skylark Trilogy Series #1)

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Skylark

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Bonita Herold
While there is no clear line that typical teens cross to become adults in today's culture, Meagan Spooner relates an altogether different scenario. In Lark Ainsley's world, young teens cross that line through the harvest of their magical energy, or Resource. Lark keeps getting passed up and, at sixteen, feels relief and gratitude when her name is finally called. Yet, she shows up for the procedure with some trepidation, questioning what takes place during harvest. Will it hurt? While many assure her it does not, she comes face to face with the reality that it will—and that she should run at all costs! Nothing is as she believes, and Lark ends up needing to escape the only world she ever known. Set in a world of magic and danger, the post-apocalyptic novel makes readers feel as if they are by Lark's side as she struggles in a fight for survival at every turn. The fast-paced plot line will appeal to dystopian lovers everywhere. Reviewer: Bonita Herold
VOYA - Bonnie Kunzel
This debut novel depicts a dystopian world in which magic is disappearing. It is finally Lark’s turn to be harvested, to have her magic stripped away at the Institute run by an administrator whose falsely-friendly fa?ade soon gives way to true malice. The harvesting process is awful, but even more frightening is the woman hooked up to machines, an energy source for the city, whose telepathic plea is for Lark to flee. When the sixteen-year-old discovers a similar set-up being prepared for her, she escapes through the bubble that surrounds the city into the great unknown. Her telepathic instructions are to follow the birds and find the Iron Wood, where she will encounter others like her. This is easier said than done, especially when mechanical pixies come after her. She manages to destroy all but one, which joins her on her quest. Along the way, she encounters people who hunt in packs like wolves, turned into cannibalistic monsters by their lack of magic. She is saved by Oren, a feral young man who becomes her protector, until they discover his true identity. Once she reaches the Iron Wood, she has more questions than answers. While the people there are a renewable source of energy for the City to drain, her power is different, which she discovers when the City invades. The quest to find a way to save her world will continue in the next installment of this action-packed trilogy, that is also a thought-provoking examination of good and evil, survival, and man’s inhumanity to man. Ages 12 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
Another debut, another dystopia. For 15 years, Lark Ainsley, like all other children in the city, has longed to have her Resource harvested so she can begin life as a working citizen who contributes to the good of the whole. But Lark isn't like all the other children. When she discovers that the architects plan to use her unique brand of innate magic to power the entire city, she is forced to choose between living life as a glorified battery or venturing beyond the Wall, leaving everything and everyone she has ever known behind, to search the wilds for others of her kind. Hunted for a power she possesses but barely understands, Lark is forced to journey through a treacherous wilderness, with little more than a hope that she will find her way to the safe haven of the Iron Woods. Spooner's debut, the first in a planned trilogy, gets off to a bumpy start. Readers will likely be scratching their heads for a few chapters as they acclimate themselves to the rules and language of this dystopia. However, as the story becomes clear, readers will quickly find themselves invested in Lark's success. Though magic lends an interesting dimension to the narrative, at its heart, this is an intense story of survival and self-discovery. At the end, though, it doesn't stand out from the throng of like dystopias. Only for those who will read nothing else. (Dystopian adventure. 14 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—In this mildly interesting first book in a dystopian steampunk series, Lark intends to follow tradition and have her Resource (magic) harvested at the Institute when she's 16 and officially becomes an adult. Instead, she's held captive-to be forever linked with glass wires protruding from her veins to a machine to supply the city's power. Her Resource is different. She has the rare ability to renew it. Kris, a sympathetic Institute staff member, helps Lark escape. She crosses the Wall that surrounds their domed city to try to reach others like her living in the Iron Wood-a perilous journey through a wilderness filled with human cannibals. She's also being tracked by a tiny mechanical pixie. With the aid of a mysterious boy named Oren, she succeeds in finding the Iron Wood and is taken in, even though the people sense her magic's not like theirs. Kris shows up claiming that he had to escape because they found out he helped her. Then Lark discovers everything she's been told is a lie. She's not a Renewable and Oren's not who she thought he was. There is little explanation about how this dystopian world came about. The book focuses exclusively on Lark, and the rest of the characters are seriously underdeveloped. Lark's not even that interesting. Fortunately, Oren is. Readers who stick with the story may be rewarded with more fleshed-out characterizations in the next book, but it's doubtful that most teens will have that much patience.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761388654
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Series: Skylark Trilogy Series , #1
  • Pages: 338
  • Sales rank: 271,598
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 830L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    “Skylark” by, Meagan Spooner. Lark Ainsley has gro

    “Skylark” by, Meagan Spooner.

    Lark Ainsley has grown up in a place where magic is real and it controls everything. This magic is called resource and it’s harvested from the citizens to help run the city. The story begins with Lark finding out that it’s her turn to be harvested and assigned a career. Lark is very excited and can’t wait to start her adult life. The citizens are born with a certain amount of resource and consequently are only harvested once. However there are rumors of renewables, special people who are born with resource that doesn’t run out. When Lark realizes that she is a renewable her life becomes a frightening fight for survival.
    I want to start by saying that this book gripped me from the first page. Meagan Spooner’s storytelling is magical and gritty. I had a few moments where I had to put the book down and just take a breath because the story was so intense. I struggled right along with Lark as she traveled through a world that terrified her at every turn.
    While fleeing, Lark meets Oren, a wild boy that is drawn to Lark and reluctantly decides to help her. Oren has been alone for a very long time and Lark makes him feel normal again. He is afraid to need her but he is undeniably drawn to her. Lark learns from Oren and through him she finds a new strength and purpose. The world building in this story is wonderful! “Skylark” is a perfect blend of fantasy and dystopian writing.
    I have read and loved many books but not all of them make me want to take a sick day just so I can stay home and read. This book did! It would freak me out to have to live in this world but I can’t wait for the next book in this series so I can revisit it from the safety of my bed. Meagan Spooner is amazing and is a great addition to my favorite’s shelf.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Meagan Spooner has crafted a story and a world that just flies

    Meagan Spooner has crafted a story and a world that just flies above
    so many similar books available today. No, “similar” is not the right
    word because it really isn’t anything like any other. First of all, we
    have a heroine who isn’t particularly strong in temperament or physique
    and she isn’t on a quest to save her world. She is, in fact, running
    away from what appears to be a dismal, horrifying fate and her only
    thoughts in the beginning are for herself. Actually, she isn’t always
    very smart and does some pretty dumb things. How refreshingly natural!
    Despite that, she doesn’t indulge in much self-pity and, brave enough to
    try to get herself out of the destiny others would decree for her, she
    forges on through all sorts of terrors and deprivations. Her journey to
    find safe haven in Iron Wood becomes one of self-discovery and, out of
    necessity, this teen matures beyond her years. Many of her childhood
    illusions will vanish like a wisp of smoke but magic is still all around
    and the future she’s seeking may not turn out the way she imagines.
    Perhaps best of all, Lark recognizes her own shortcomings and fiercely
    wants to be competent enough to take care of herself. Second, no
    insta-love. You know what I mean if you read today’s young adult fantasy
    and science fiction and you can rejoice that it isn’t to be found in
    Skylark. Yes, there are hints and even some attachment, but Lark doesn’t
    fall madly for the handsome dude (which one?) who may or may not love
    her back. Perhaps that will come in the next book but that will be okay
    because it means Lark has waited more than a nanosecond to let the
    hormones take over. Then there are the other characters, main and
    secondary. We meet the potential love interests, Oren and Kris, both of
    whom harbor secrets and still manage to be intensely appealing. The
    Architects control the City and are led by the Harvest Administrator, a
    woman who is oily and smarmy and as unfeeling as they come but still
    somehow intriguing. Friends Dorien and Tansy show Lark what humanity
    should be all about and Nix, a mechanical pixie that looks and acts
    something like a bug but can communicate, is one of the most original
    and loveable characters I’ve ever come across. Ms. Spooner‘s
    worldbuilding is among the best I’ve seen. While we don’t yet know much
    about the magic wars that destroyed previous societies, the crafting of
    Lark’s world and what is outside the force field enclosing her city is
    meticulous. Much is left to the reader’s imagination but, at the same
    time, the details we learn through Lark’s eyes and intellect take us
    along the journey with Lark. Her fear of the sky she has never seen
    before comes across as though that fear were alive and only a good
    writer can create that kind of reader empathy. Another surprise is the
    combination of a kind of steampunk with a sort of faery element, a
    zombie-like threat and a large dose of magic. Taken by themselves, each
    of those is seemingly only a small part of the story but, taken
    together, they’re of huge importance. The result of all this is a story
    that mesmerizes and chills the soul at one and the same time. Is it
    fantasy, science fiction, maybe even mystery? It’s all of those ,
    really, and trying to label it would be shortsighted. Twists and
    betrayals, promises and friendships abound and a truth is revealed at
    the end that is, quite simply, breathtaking. If I still had my
    bookstore, I’d ask this wonderful author to trek a couple of hours down
    the road for a visit that would have thrilled our customers but that’s
    not going to happen so I’ll just have to tell everyone who’ll listen to
    READ THIS BOOK!.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2012

    This beautiful, unique story is pure magic. The prose draws you

    This beautiful, unique story is pure magic. The prose draws you in and weaves an incredible world, but the book doesn't dwell too long in description. Skylark draws you along and never lets you rest. Often dark, sometimes shocking, stunning the whole way through, this book will stay with you.

    Lark is a fantastic protagonist -- she doesn't charge out of the gate ready to kick ass and take names. Instead, she's determined, but has almost none of the skills she needs to survive in the world she's entered. While sometimes a helpless heroine can drive you mad, in this case Lark's far more annoyed than we could ever be about her lack of survival skills, and fights to improve and save herself. She learns as much about herself as she does about the world around her -- she's been told lies about both.

    The world is rich, and Lark's journey as she comes into her own is like nothing I've ever read. The supporting characters are wonderful, each of them fully developed -- I can't WAIT to see more of some of them in the sequel, as I'm sure I will.

    As for the ending... well, there's not much I can say, but I've rarely, if ever, been caught out by a twist like I was this time! I'd say 'be prepared', but I guarantee you won't be!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2013

    Nix

    I loved this book since i am a fan of dystopian books. Skylark is different because it adds a steampunk environment. Lark is a strong female heroine but not with the same effect as Katniss. My favorite character, however, isNix. Nix just adds a nice vibe to this book. The author doesnt go into much detail about Harvesting but that is okay. She makes up for it with amazing description about Lark surviving outside the wall. Overall, I give Skylark 5 stars because I had to read it over and over again to be appealed. I mean that as a good thing. I would recomend this book to anyone. I cannot wait for the rest of this series!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2013

    **3.5 Stars** MY OVERVIEW: I have no idea where this book takes

    **3.5 Stars**

    MY OVERVIEW: I have no idea where this book takes place. It seemed like it was supposed to be earth in the future, and when everyone has magic… but there is so much that is wrong with that. The pre-war method of transportation was horse and carriage. This seems a little outdated even for a world that was full of magic.

    PROS: OMG! I love Nix!!! I want it so bad! For a pixie who is just a program, he really builds up such a fantastic personality. I can’t wait to see more of him in the next book.

    CONS: There were a lot of times where you really didn’t know what was going on. Especially when Lark is still in the city. I also didn’t understand how the magic thing happened to Lark at the end (not giving spoilers cause it is a big one), but I can just say that her magic didn’t really make a lot of sense through the whole book.

    MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Ok, the twist with Oren at the end… did not see that coming. I won’t give any spoilers, but it really makes you stop and think, “What if?”. I look forward to reading the next book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    When I read the synopsis for Skylark I was immediately drawn to

    When I read the synopsis for Skylark I was immediately drawn to this dystopian type fantasy. I am delighted to tell you that it delivered a magical, dark dystopian world with a touch of steampunk. Spooner’s depiction of this world was refreshingly original with fleshed-out characters and a tale that kept me reading through the night.

    I will be honest; the beginning however fascinating was a little rough for me. Rather than laying out the world in detail, Spooner has us learning as the protagonist does. This little speed bump was soon over as I dove into the story. We meet Lark Ainsley as she makes her way through the tunnels leading to her school. She is sneaking in to see if her name has been selected for Harvest Day. Does this sound eerily familiar to the very popular Hunger Games? Fear not because that is where the similarity ends. When she is discovered by a pixie-bot, she accidently uses her magic and kills it. Use of magic is forbidden within the city. Shaken she returns home only to discover she has been selected and is quickly taken to the city's institute. Once at the institute she is scheduled for harvesting. Lark soon discovers that thinks aren't as they seem, and that the institute has horrific plans for her. The tale that unfolds kept me completely spellbound as Spooner took me to a world I will not soon forget.

    Lark Ainsley is brave, strong willed and snarky. She faces challenges head on and questions the world before her with such believability that she came to life on the pages. Despite her fears of the unknown she moves forward in her quest. I connected with Lark and felt like I experienced every emotion with her. Oren is raw, wild at times and complex. I eventually fell for this soft spoken, sensitive, quirky young man. We learn bits and pieces of his back-story giving an air of mystery to him. I adored Nix and laughed at her comments and loved her loyalty. She holds her own rightful place in this tale and I thoroughly enjoyed her. Kris is the son of the ambassador to the institute and he helps Lark. We never really know him but this adds to the mystery. Other characters added to the tale, creating suspense. I loved that even the secondary characters felt fleshed out and added to this gripping tale.

    The world-building in Skylark is absolutely breathtaking. Spooner brings us a fascinating dystopian world unlike any I have visited. With only the power of her pen she brought this world to life. As I read, I could see this world unfolding before me and instantly connected with Lark as we both met it for the first time. Spooner slowly reveals this world and provides some back history. The Institute and sealed city was interesting and how the city survived fascinated me. The world outside of the city was absolutely amazing and Spooner’s depiction held me captive. The pockets of magic, the house in the woods were brilliant. The creatures Lark encounters were terrifying. One of the things I loved about this book was the way the author took elements of steampunk, fantasy, dystopia and other genres and wove them into such a delightful, believable and original tale. It is clear she has a true understanding of these genres and successfully integrated elements of each.

    Skylark completely blew my mind and I cannot wait for the next book in this series. Fans of fantasy, dystopia and magic will love this tale.

    I want to thank the publisher and netGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Skylark by M

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***




    Skylark by Meagan Spooner
    Book One of the Skylark series
    Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
    Publication Date: August 1, 2012
    Rating: 3 stars
    Source: ARC sent by the author




    Summary (from Goodreads):




    Sixteen-year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.




    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?




    What I Liked:




    Overall, I feel like I enjoyed this book. This book came highly recommended to me over a year ago, with it's paranormal dystopian premise, hint of romance, and gorgeous cover. I found that while this book has all of those things, I didn't love the story. There were a lot of things that I liked about the story, but I didn't love it.




    Lark has always felt a bit left out in her society - she has been harvested, like all the other children her age. But, one year, the current year, it is her turn yet again to be harvested, and she does it - she gets harvested. But it isn't what she seems. She is harvested to be a like a Renewable - as the summary says, a human battery.




    I'm confused about the harvesting thing, and the Renewable thing, but I kept reading the book, despite my confusion. As I was reading, I noticed that I didn't really connect with Lark, unfortunately. She's definitely not the brightest Young Adult heroine, and while I understand why her survival instincts are razor sharp, I still think that she has a little more brain space than what she uses.




    But anyway. The book is broken up into several parts. One, Lark is in her city, and she has been harvested. She finds herself in a hospital-like environment, and she cannot remember much of what happens to her while in this place. She finds herself exhausted and weak, brainwashed and in constant pain. This part of the book, to me, was extremely boring. It just went on and on and there was no point in reading it, because we know that Lark will get out of there.




    The next part takes place out of the city. Here, she must learn to survive and not get killed, and not get recaptured by her city's officials, who are looking for her. Lark makes some discoveries while outside her city. She basically doesn't know nature. She has never seen the sky. Also, there are pockets are magic everywhere. I didn't understand that part, either, with the magic, but I'm rolling with it.




    The last part takes place in the Iron Wood. I'm not going to say much on this part, because the climax occurs in this part of the book. I actually cannot remember much, specifically, which is bad, because that means the author didn't do a good enough job of wow-ing me with the plot.




    There is a kind-of love triangle in this book. To be honest, I have no idea what Ms. Spooner is doing with the romance. By the end of the book, Lark is confused, and I am confused, in terms of the romance.




    I enjoyed this book, but the plot, climax, and ending confused me, so I really can't say much about those things. The ending isn't super jolly, but it isn't morbid either. I'll be reading the second book to find out more about Lark and her abilities! Hopefully the second book will clear up things for me. 




    What I Did Not Like:




    I think my biggest problem with this book is that I was confused a lot, while reading the book. I read this book back in August, when I was still home (I hadn't moved into college yet), so I wasn't rushed into reading this one, and I took my time. That didn't help me understand this book any more than if I had rushed through it. I feel like Ms. Spooner did an excellent job of building the world and characters of this book, but not a great job explaining situation after situation. I still don't quite understand Lark's former society, or the Iron Wood. I don't really understand what Lark is, or what she thinks she is. I don't really understand the role of Oren, or the other boy (whose name I cannot remember at all). Each character has a specific role to play in the book, and maybe I'm just not seeing them, or maybe as readers, we aren't supposed to yet, but I feel like some characters weren't necessary, or didn't seem important. 




    For example, the people from Lark's city? They're portrayed as villains, but I don't understand why they're so preoccupied with Lark escaping. They make her seem like she is soooo important, and then they make her feel like she is worthless. Towards the end, I feel like Ms. Spooner tried to explain why Lark is so crucial to the story and to the world, but I still don't get it (or just don't remember why). You know it's not so good, when you can't remember why the protagonist is "the chosen one".




    Also, I feel like the non-existent romance, which total exists, but I'm calling it non-existent, was kind of strange and totally unnecessary. We have Oren, on the one hand, who helps Lark unconditionally. He's a bit prickly, and he has his reasons to be that way, but I believe he is genuinely a good person and a nice character. But by the end of the book, Lark isn't sure what she wants from him. Like, I feel like if it were me, the decision would be easy. Lark is too indecisive. But then, she's also a bit younger than most Young Adult heroines. Not that she isn't a young adult.




    The pockets of magic, the Renewables, harvesting, the Iron Wood... I'm so lost in all of that. I wish I could explain why I'm confused, but I don't even know that much. 




    I'm definitely going to read book two, since the publisher sent me a copy, but by the end of book one (this book), I felt a bit let down. I had such high hopes for this book, and I feel like I just ended up being more confused than anything else. I'm not sure how to feel about this book, which is why I'm sticking with three stars, and not lower or higher. 




    Would I Recommend It:




    Eh. This book was worth the read for me, but I'm not going to go to the streets telling random people that they MUST READ this book. It's not a must-read, but I feel like it's one of those books that you might read by chance, enjoy, and never read again. Not to say that I didn't like this book overall (because I did), but I probably wouldn't find myself re-reading it, unfortunately. Reading the next books? More likely.




    Rating:




    3 stars. I'm definitely going to read the second book in this series, since I have had it for a few months now. I am excited to see how Ms. Spooner will turn the story into a series. Hopefully, I'll love the subsequent books even more than I liked this one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2012

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