Okay, just a word of warning here...I am NOT good at waiting, and I am pretty upset that it's going to be another year before I find out what happens next to the Sky Chasers. So yep, I enjoyed Spark, the second in the series. Now let's get down to specifics.
Spark picks up shortly after Glow left off, with Waverly having led the captive girls back to their own ship, the Empyrean, after being held hostage on board the New Horizon by the nefarious Anne Mather and her crew. While most of the girls should be excited to be home, they are mostly angry at Waverly for leaving their parents behind, which happened only out of necessity. Now the Empyrean is being run by children, with Waverly's former boyfriend Kieran leading in his heavy handed way, and friend Seth being held in the brig on trumped up charges. When it becomes apparent that there is an intruder on board, panic ensues; Seth and Waverly face mortal danger as Kieran watches his hold on power begin to slip. And then the real action starts.
Spark didn't really come alive for me until almost a third of the way in, and then it had me in its grip until the end. In fact, after a few chapters, I was disappointed with both the writing and the situation; never have been a fan of exclamation points in descriptive sentences, and there were way too many early on (I know that's a minor irritation, but still, it lent to the overall feel of being written for a much younger audience than Glow had established). Fortunately, however, things began to pick up rapidly and suddenly I was finding myself thoroughly enjoying seeing a ship run by kids trying to balance power in a life-or-death situation. Things kept going from bad to worse and it doesn't end in a pretty little box.
One of the things I found most intriguing in Spark was the character development; when I think back over the story, it's very apparent that everyone has a dark side to grapple against. Waverly struggles with her personal disappointments and her anger over what happened on the New Horizon; Seth relives his abusive father's treatment and his own regrets over how he behaved while in charge; Kieran realizes he's playing against a master by engaging Anne Mather and he knows his grasp on power is tenuous at best. All do things they regret immediately; all have to live with the consequences. Suddenly it's not a child's game any more.
Spark works with its unique setting and it's slow build to a heated climax as well as its tragedy and its determination to succeed. Despite a shaky start, it picked up speed nicely and had me hooked with its vivid action (sans exclamation points) as the story went on. My own imagination has been sparked...I'm ready for the next step...Flame? Ignite? Firestorm? It doesn't matter. I just want it now.