Disclaimer: This is the second in the series therefore there may be spoilers for the first book, as well as Spark.
Leora is questioning everything she thought she knew about her family and herself. She flees to Featherstone, outlawed home of the Blanks, but will she find solace and safety there or a viper’s nest of suspicion and secrets?
After the death of her Father and the truth revealed about her parents, Leora finds it hard to comprehend that she can be both Blank and Marked. The truth about the “relationship” between Saintstone and Featherstone has been revealed and Leora is struggling to understand what is truth and what is lie. With Mayor Longsight seeing this conflict within her as an opportunity, Leora is banished to the home of the Blanks in order to gain information that could potentially lead to all out war between the two societies. However, not long after her arrival, Leora begins to learn the stories of Featherstone’s past that seem at once similar, yet different to those from Sainstone. Unable to understand what she should believe and on the path to finding out more about her birth mother, Leora starts to question where her allegiances lie and the lies hidden beneath the surface of both Featherstone and Saintstone begin to emerge.
To be completely honest, I had forgotten most of what had taken place within the first novel and had to use my own review of Ink (click here) to refresh my memory slightly. However, as I began to read through the pages of Spark, I found myself remembering more clearly the events that had taken place and understanding why it was that I loved the first book so much. For those that may not remember, Leora had gotten one of her first ever tattoos – a crow – that is used in the world as a symbol of sympathisers (to the Blanks) as well as criminal outlaws. Though this tattoo was not positioned in the same place, Leora had all but pledged some allegiance to the Blanks following the drama surrounding her Father and the burning of his skin book after death.
Ink focused primarily on Saintstone and the society of those marked with tattoos, Spark draws attention to the Blanks and the aspects of their society that have been skewed by Longsight and those previously in power before him. We begin to see that they are not as we previously thought, a society that is downtrodden and relying on the scraps and the hand-me-downs of Saintstone. However, we find that the two societies originate from the same foundations that have been read in completely different ways – an aspect that Leora begins to realise as she is told of the creation of Saintstone following the banishment of Belia behind the wall by Moriah, finding that each story is the mirror image of the other but with slight differences in the themes, morals, and politics. However, there is discontent running beneath the surface of Featherstone and soon it will rear its ugly head.
Though I thoroughly enjoyed Ink, I did find Spark to be a bit slow going and that the action/conflict didn’t really draw my attention too much due to the nature of it. However, any conflict that we did see did flesh out the society within Featherstone as you realise that their hatred is festering deep below the surface resulting in them losing all sense of reason given their living conditions and the way that they are forced to live their lives. Leora did develop and become a much stronger character throughout Spark, becoming more bold in her approach to the conflict between Featherstone and Saintstone, fully finding her place and understanding the role that she must fulfil in the impending war between the two societies. I believe that the third novel will be on par with the first, and provide more conflict and action that will draw you in. Spark, though very informative and providing backstory, definitely feels more like a filler novel as you primarily get in trilogies.