Written by Rachael Craw
Science Fiction, Romance
Published July 1st 2014
Thank you to Walker Books Australia
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Evie doesn't have a choice. One day she's an ordinary seventeen year old, grieving for her mother. The next, she's a Shield, the result of a decades-old experiment gone wrong, bound by DNA to defend her best friend from an unknown killer. The threat could come at home, at school, anywhere. All Evie knows is that it will be a fight to the death. And then there's Jamie. Irresistible. Off limits.
Having lost her mother, seventeen year old Evie is now living in her Aunt Miriam's spare room in amongst the boxes that she can't bring herself to unpack. She mourns the only parent she's ever known, while night terrors, an awkward growth spurt and and her frantic heart palpitations only adding to her anxiety. But it isn't anxiety that is slowly consuming Evie's life, it's her DNA, and she's about to find out why.
Evie is a Shield, her hereditary disposition dictating that she's built to protect and serve those who need it most, and her instinct to protect best friend Kitty is overwhelming. So when Kitty plans to attend the Governor's Ball, Evie has no option but to tag along. But she never planned on seeing Jamie, the boy that Evie spent years trying to forget.
But when a killer has Kitty in his sights, Evie knows the only way to protect her best friend is to move into the lavish family estate and enroll at the prestigious Gainsborough Collegiate. It isn't long before training is in full force, honing her skills as a Shield requires focus and intensity, something that Evie has in abundance now that Jamie is slowly inching his way back into her life. But will the distraction prove deadly?
Spark was a mix of science fiction and contemporary, but felt more like a unique spin on the superhero and savior role. It was intense, and entertaining. Not often does a young adult storyline take me by surprise, but Spark certainly did. I adored Evie's character, not only has her world fallen apart with the loss of her mother, she lives each day with the knowledge that she never knew her father and the only family she has now is her Aunt Miriam, whom she now lives with. The only constant in her life, is spending each summer with her best friend Kitty. Evie has known the Gallagher family for the best part of a decade, including Jamie.
Jamie is Evie's Achilles Heel. Having shared a brief, but embarrassing kiss before he left three years ago. But now Jamie's eighteen and back in Evie's life. But Jamie isn't without his secrets and the relationship between the two is as intense as it is forbidden. The romance reminded me of that of Rose and Dimitri in the popular Vampire Academy series, the student teacher aspect and forbidden romance that follows. I really enjoyed Evie and Jamie's relationship, the two teens shared a history together so the seemingly instant love felt more natural.
My only one real complaint was the overload of information once Evie is told exactly who she is. There were so many descriptions and acronyms, that I knew I'd never be able to remember. But I didn't need to. As the storyline progresses, you'll learn what being a Shield entails alongside Evie, as she navigates her new role. First time author Rachael Craw is a born storyteller, she's taken what are seemingly normal teens who are still finding their feet, and throwing them into a world of killers, protectors are rules of how they must now live their lives. But what made the characters so engaging, was her use of dialogue. It's quick, it's witty and realistic between the characters.
The Final Verdict
If you're looking for a sassy, intriguing and unique read, this one is definitely it. Already eagerly awaiting book two in the series, Stray.