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"Everyone in the world has a Spark, a light inside that guides them, keeps them alive.”

 

Myxini School for Children specializes in training young men and women who have powerful Sparks. Strikers are taught to manipulate fire. Trackers learn to find animals in the most formidable terrains. Handlers are instructed in communication with large predators. But forty years have passed since the last time they had a Reader – a student with the ability to read minds. When Lark Davies enrolls at Myxini, he knows there aren’t many like him, but he doesn’t realize just how rare his abilities really are. He thinks nothing of being asked to keep his Spark a secret; after all, he can barely control it. Thoughts and emotions flood unbidden into his mind until he can scarcely walk or hold a conversation. But just when he needs it most, his ability fails him.

 

When it comes down to originality and conjuring up the fantastical, Sparks from author RS McCoy takes some beating. Judiciously borrowing from the best in genre, she has woven a rich paranormal fantasy that is well conceived and vividly rendered with young characters that are immediately endearing, whilst a heady sense of adventure pervades throughout.  Enchanting to the last page turned, it’s a veritable feast for the imagination as McCoy blends the boundaries of her imaginary world. Her backdrops well-conceived, there is an economy to her prose which keeps them light, proffering timely insight that encourages the imagination to find full form whilst she weaves a delightful web of intrigue. There is the obligatory mystery and budding romance which have become an intrinsic element of YA Fantasy, but McCoy ably manages to avoid trite clichés as her young protagonists follow less conventional paths, developing a curious relationship that will certainly keep her readers guessing.

 

An excellent debut by any stretch of the imagination, Sparks is sure to enthuse and entrall. Certainly deserving of a place on your reading shelf it is highly recommended.

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