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...
Released: July 17th 2012 Pages: 309
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin Source: Bought
Why do publishers have to change the style of covers in the middle of a series?* It annoys me to no end, because I take pride in the streamlined look of my bookshelf (I organize by height...), and this just makes everything look uneven. We don't need to encourage inconsistency in books!
Time for another episode of Lord of the Flies, spaceship edition!
After reading Spark, I have one question: Was Amy Kathleen Ryan trying to make Kieran and Waverly likable? Was I supposed to even care about them?
That's two questions. I lied. But really, how am I supposed to care about this story if two out of three point of view characters fall into near-sociopath territory? (Seriously, here's a list of sociopathic traits. Kieran and Waverly display far too many of these.) This is my stumbling block for this book. This is why I had trouble bringing myself to care.
I understand that Kieran and Waverly have been though more than a person should have to go through. Because of this, they have become either hardened and unfeeling, or anxious and depressed. For comparison purposes, let's talk about Bobby Pendragon, another sci-fi main character. He goes through five times the trauma that Kieran and Waverly see (Sky Chasers has two books so far. Pendragon has 10. Do the math). And yet...instead of becoming a sociopath, he sticks to the quest. He grows more and more determined the more struggles he goes through. He remains likable and retains his morals and sense of goodness.
I can't bring myself to care about characters who, instead of retaining their core of morality, turn heartless. Waverly tortures a guy, which is horribly unneccesary. She lost a lot of points for that, with me. Then again, she regained some of those when she was kind to Seth. More people need to stick up for Seth.
Seth was the main reason I enjoyed reading this book despite my dislike of Kieran and Waverly. Seth is the one to watch for in this series. He's the only character I really connected to, the only one I cared about. He's also been through a lot, but did he lose his humanity? No. That's why I like him.
Despite the sociopathic main characters, this story still interests me. It makes me a little mad, too, but I still want to know how it ends. I'll be sticking around for the next book, if anything just to see if Waverly and Kieran ever become likable again.
Similar Books: It's got the spaceshipy-ness (technical term, there) of Inside Out, or A Confusion of Princes, and has the no-adults aspect of Variant and the darker no-adultness of Gone.
*This just furthers my notion that I need to start my own publishing company. Our covers will be friendly to both genders (ie. the dress thing is out the window forever and ever unless our cover model is Max Klinger), and they will stay consistent throughout a series. We will edit our books, for goodness' sake. We will publish stuff that's actually original, and we won't merge with Random Penguin House or whatever it is now (or the HarperShuster or whatever that is quite possible...yep, they've been talking about it. Can anyone say monopoly?). We won't Fifty Shades-ize or vampire-ize anybody's book. And we'll have a giant portrait of J. R. R. Tolkein in our main office. Who is with me on this?
And while I'm at it, here's a shoutout to the person who currently has my school library's copy of A Clash of Kings.