Spark by Rachael Craw

Spark by Rachael Craw
Young adult: contemporary, science fiction, romance
July 2014; 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.

Spark is a smart, thoughtful contemporary science fiction romance tackles questions of fate, choice and predestination within an original, well-mythologised science fiction framework.

I call Spark a romance, and it is, but the love story between protagonist Evie and her (very attractive) (very tall) (very charming) love interest Jamie isn’t the central relationship of this novel. Rather, the plot hinges on her friendship with his sister, Evie’s childhood best friend Kitty, who she is compelled to protect with her newly-developed genetically enhanced super powers. Her romance with Jamie is substantial and spine-tingly with a dash of paranormal-esque providence, but it’s ultimately secondary to Evie’s devotion to Kitty. The dynamic between Evie and Kitty thrilled with authenticity, and I can’t wait to see more of their friendship without the imminent threat to Kitty’s life in the upcoming sequel Stray.

I highly appreciated the important role that parental figures played in the novel, and the third act threw some curve balls that had me reading late into the night. Spark didn’t deliver everything I expected – I was anticipating a more explicit role from representatives of the secretive Affinity Project, for example – but considering it’s the first of a trilogy, it’s a smart move. While still allowing herself room to expand the scope in subsequent books, Rachael Craw has crafted a high-octane series debut to what is sure to continue to be an intelligent, compelling series.

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