reviews

Spark City: Book One of the Spark City Cycle, by Robert J. Power

Write on: Thu, 17 Oct 2019 by  in SPFBO 2019 663 comments Read 20636

This year I have the honor of being an SPFBO guest judge for Booknest. My job is to review five of the thirty books in Booknest's batch, though with no ratings, and then forward my pick as semi-finalist. Today I'm reviewing Spark City by Robert J. Power. It took me awhile to figure out just what kind of fantasy this was, but once I found my feet, I could not stop reading. And though I finished it weeks ago, I still find myself thinking about it.

Powers tosses us right into the story, with no idea who our main characters, Erroh and Lea, are, or what they are really doing. Their obviously on a journey of some sort, but we don't know for quite awhile where they're coming from or going to, or why. I have no problem with that kind of thing when it is well done. And Powers does it well.

The story begins with Erroh and Lea arriving in a sleepy town in a remote valley on the eve of a festival. Here they meet a rather delightful bunch of villagers who will become our main characters. Eventually we do find out exactly what Erroh and Lea are up to, and who they are, but it plays outs slowly, and in my opinion, that makes the discovery of their identities and purpose even that more impactful. The structure of the story is a bit unconventional, and not only do I like that kind of thing in general, I think it was very deftly done. I found the prose to be oddly addictive as well.

I mentioned it took me awhile to find my feet with this story. I scratched my head for awhile, thinking this might be romance fantasy, and due to the use of certain terminology, maybe even shifter romance. Wrong. Spark City is not PNR in any way, shape or form, but epic fantasy with a slow burn romance element between the main characters - and never does that overwhelm the narrative. If you give it a try, and I highly recommend you do, don't be turned off by making that mistake early on.

This will sound strange, but this is kind of a strange book. It's almost like Joe Abercrombie and Sarah J. Maas got together to write it, each tempering the grimmer and romancier elements of the other, while keeping the narrative thrill of both. Yeah, I know, but I'm sticking with that.

As far as I can tell, there are no other books in the series out yet. I wish there were. I, for one, look forward to reading them.

Last modified on Wednesday, 30 October 2019 13:25
Dyrk Ashton

Dyrk Ashton is a Midwestern U.S. boy who spent some time in Hollywood. He teaches film, geeks out on movies and books, and writes about regular folks and their trouble with monsters. Author of The Paternus Trilogy, of which book one, Paternus: Rise of Gods, placed third out of 300 entries in Mark Lawrence's SPFBO 2016.

663 comments

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.