Spark, Alice Broadway – Book Review

Hello humans! It seems that, of late, I have been reading a lot of sequels to books that were among the first I read and reviewed when I started blogging. There’s been Legendary, Smoke in the Sun and now Spark. I read Ink way back when, largely because it had a gorgeous shiny cover, but also because of the idea of tattoos having a huge significance. I was excited to read the sequel and to see how this story developed.

Possible spoilers for Ink but no spoilers for Spark, you have been warned.

spark alice broadway

Goodreads Summary

Leora is reeling: questioning everything she has ever known about her family and herself.

As half-Marked and half-Blank, can she ever wholly belong in either fractured community? Mayor Longsight wants to use her as a weapon: to infiltrate Featherstone, home of the Blanks, and deliver them to him for obliteration. Leora longs for answers about her mysterious birth mother, and Featherstone may reveal them.

But will she find solace and safety there or a viper’s nest of suspicion and secrets?

Find Spark on Goodreads | Amazon UK (Affiliate)

This book explores the idea of place, of home and also of how identity fits into that. I think that is a theme that would have resonated with me as a teenager even more than it does today. I like a second novel that expands upon the world of the first novel, giving the reader more detail about things that were hinted at in the previous book. In this case, we get to see Featherstone, the settlement of ‘blanks’ and Leora’s mother. I think that this has its pros and cons, which I’ll get into below. However, thematically I think this book is interesting.

One of my problems with this new setting was that you don’t get the very thing that made me want to read this series in the first place. Those looking for interesting descriptions of the various tattoos and discussion of how people get marked will find themselves disappointed. There are some interesting aspects to ‘blank’ culture that do make for a fascinating society but didn’t tickle my interests in the same way. That’s purely personal preference, of course, and you may feel differently, but it’s one thing that I found myself missing.

Another thing I ought to mention is that at times this book felt like it was getting a little ‘ooh look at the strange tribe’-y? I’m not sure if there’s a word for that, at least I can’t think of it now. I don’t think the issue was handled insensitively (though I may be wrong and will gladly state my ignorance of such things) but I’m not sure why it was necessary? I’m wording this poorly I know, but I feel it’s especially important to think about these things when you have a book written by a white author.

Another thing I did enjoy was the way this book engaged with the idea of oral history, and the way that history is told differently by the winners and the losers. Within the wider theme of identity and of ‘home’, this was hugely significant since Leora’s understanding of the good and bad things of her own upbringing are gradually torn apart and put back together. One of my favourite tropes is the ‘everything you thought you knew was a lie’ and this, while it isn’t quite that extreme, plays well with those ideas.

Should you read this? I would suggest reading Ink first as I do think it’s necessary to understand what’s going on in Spark. However, these are both quite quick reads so it shouldn’t be too difficult to do so. I’d say that this book isn’t earth-shattering, it has a few problems, but there are some great ideas in there and I am still probably going to keep reading Alice Broadway’s books.

My rating: 3/5 stars

All opinions are my own.

What say you? Have you read Ink or Spark? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!


One thought on “Spark, Alice Broadway – Book Review

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  1. Ironically I had to skim read this review because I’m worried about spoilers for Ink BUT you’re so right isn’t the cover stunning?? I saw it in Waterstones and was like MUST. HAVE. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

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