Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and has spent several years since then living in Australia. She's traveled with her family all over the world to places like Egypt, South Africa, the Arctic, Greece, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, and there's a bit of every trip in every story she writes. She currently lives and writes in Northern Virginia, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there's no telling how long she'll stay there. In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads. You can visit her online at http: //www.meaganspooner.com.
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 (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Skylark's rich narrative and plucky heroine will transport you into a mesmerizing and horrifying world. --New York Times bestselling author Carrie Jones-- "Other Print" (2/13/2012 12:00:00 AM)
Intense and absorbing, Skylark transported me to a world of magic and danger unlike anything I've read before. I loved Lark, and was riveted by her journey of survival and self-discovery. Dark, original, and beautiful, this is a novel you don't want to miss. --Veronica Rossi, author of Under the Never Sky-- "Other Print" (3/29/2012 12:00:00 AM)
Lark lives in a world powered by magic; since the war, however, magic is in short supply, so the small bits of magic with which children are born are siphoned off by the city when the children reach a certain age. Fifteen-year-old Lark hasn't been chosen for harvesting yet, and people, including Lark herself, are beginning to wonder why. When she's finally selected, it turns out to be for an unusual harvesting indeed, and she escapes into the wilderness to avoid becoming a human battery for the city's power supply. Once on the run, she meets a wild boy who helps her survive the terrors of the world outside the city walls, and she finds a settlement of folks like her--people with particularly strong magic that renews itself rather than dissipating as they grow older. The settings are fantastic in both meanings of the word, and they're beautifully drawn; Lark's experiences add further rich detail. Unfortunately, there's never really a full explanation of why Lark's power is different not only from others in the city but from other Renewables, and readers never learn why or how magical resources got scarce in the first place. That may be enough to generate sustained interest in the meantime. Shades of Lowry's The Giver (BCCB 4/93), Bick's Ashes (BCCB 10/11), Pullman's His Dark Materials (BCCB 4/96, 11/97, 1/01), The Matrix Trilogy, and even elements of steampunk wisp throughout the narrative at different points, but coherence depends overmuch on the temporal narration of Lark's journey, which becomes attenuated and a little dull as she faces one unrelated danger after another. Readers who enjoy speculating about gaps that may or may not be filled may nonetheless enjoy this techno-fantasy dystopian mashup.-- "Journal" (11/13/2012 12:00:00 AM)
This heavily anticipated dystopian debut mostly lives up to its hype. Lark Ainsley is 16, older than most kids when their Resource gets harvested. All she wants is to quietly contribute to the City's daily operation. But Lark finds out she is a Renewable, a hugely unfortunate creature who has the rare ability to power the City as it struggles to protect its citizens from the outside world long devastated by the ancient Wars. Held against her will and tortured in ways described with relentless, excruciating detail, Lark finally manages to escape. As she travels the blighted landscape of the world outside her domed City, she encounters terrors as seemingly benign as the sky (which she has never before seen) to those as treacherous as trees with razor teeth. Magic and technology blend seamlessly here, although the emphasis on exposition rather than dialogue sometimes bogs down the pages. The current demand for grim YA renditions of a dystopian future, plus the splashy landing, will likely ensure a significant readership for fans of the genre. --Booklist-- "Journal" (10/1/2012 12:00:00 AM)