Book Review: SPARKS RISE by Alexandra Bracken (TDM Novella)

Genre: YA, Short stories, Sci-fi, Dystopian

Released on: September 2nd, 2014

Pages: 110



Buy the Novella:


Goodreads Summary:

Sam didn’t think things could get worse at Thurmond rehabilitation camp. Then the Reds arrive. Everyone assumed the kids with firepower had been killed years ago. Instead they were taken away, brainwashed, and returned as terrifyingly effective guards. To her horror, Sam recognizes one of them: Lucas, the one spark of light in Sam’s dark childhood. Lucas has a deadly secret–he beat the brutal training that turned his fellow Reds into mindless drones. When Sam defends herself against an attack by a vile PSF guard and faces a harrowing punishment, Lucas must risk his everything to save her. 

Includes a bonus preview chapter from the final Darkest Minds novel, In the Afterlight.

My Review:

Holy crap. Sparks flew. Fires erupted. Hearts were destroyed. 

This novella was so so so good, you guys. The writing style of Alexandra Bracken has always enthralled me. It’s vivid, striking, clear, and of course this novella retains all of the wonderful things that make up the writing in The Darkest Minds. 

Right off the bat, I was interested to hear this was going to be about Sam, a girl we met for a short time in TDM, and honestly I didn’t really think twice about her. I got so absorbed in Ruby’s story that I forgot there were other things outside of Ruby that were happening too, other people suffering. So it was also very humbling to read Sam’s story in Sparks Rise. 

I fell in love with Sammy. With her passion, with her willingness to keep fighting, with her spark. It’s interesting to read through Sam’s pov (since I’m so used to Ruby) because I started to recognize a pattern with these characters…Each voice has its own personality, but at the same time it’s as if their voices are shy and timid in light of the current events happening in their lives. Ruby had it in the beginning of TDM, Sammy has it in Sparks Rise, even Lucas has it when we first read from his POV. That says so much about the time they’re living in and the ordeals they’re facing. 

I absolutely love Lucas. I didn’t know I could love someone as fiercely as I do with Liam, and then I met Lucas. He’s so different from Liam in a lot of ways, and yet very much the same. It was, not only refreshing to read from a new male character’s perspective, but exciting too. For a couple chapters, I got to see inside this creative boy’s head; I got to be inside Turtle’s head! (You need to read this novella to get that, but trust me, it is dang cute.) Especially toward the end, it really feels like we get taken along on this epic downworld spiral inside Lucas’s mind – and as sad as it was to read, it was also very cool.

The ending. Oh boy. Alex Bracken, you are a mastermind of the broken hearted. It’s so hard to put into comprehensible words how I both loved and hated the ending. Maybe I’m just used to getting my heart torn out of its chest by Alex that I just smile through the tears and trudge along, but it was beautiful. Beautiful in a heart breaking sort of way. Did I wish it had ended differently? Of course. Am I totally upset and mad at Alex for that ending? No, not at all. I guess the best way to describe the ending would be: It fit the moment. 

And once I took to twitter to pour my feelings out to Alex (follow her at @alexbracken – she’s doesn’t bite…or so I’m told…) she replied back with something I was not expecting: “…but I’m not so sure their love story is over yet??”

Well. I’ll use the phrase I tweeted to her once before that she said was her new favorite tweet: The screech I let out was the equivalent sound to a whale pooping out a roaring T-rex. I’d also like to add on to that and say the roaring T-rex also drank too much whale pee and had to throw up a roaring pterodactyl. All those sounds? Yeah, they came out of me when I read her tweet. 

Suffice to say, I absolutely LOVED Sparks Rise. And if that didn’t already kill me, reading the sneak peak for In The Afterlight at the end brought me back to life just to kill me again. I’ve missed Ruby oh so much, and that sneak peak just smashed through the floodgates of love for Ruby. As we speak, the flood is still gushing. I cannot wait for In The Afterlight!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s