Lark Rising (Guardians of Tarnec, book one)
By Sandra Waugh
Expected publication September 23, 2014 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Lark has the Sight and it has shown her many things. Recently, though, it's shown her that her village is in danger. It's also shown her a handsome stranger who she'll love - but who will also kill her. When Lark sets out to find help for her village, has she set herself on the path that will also lead to her doom?
It's pretty hard for me to resist a fantasy novel - I think I request most of the e-galleys that I see pop up on Edelweiss. I know I shouldn't - they can't all be amazing, obviously, and I should probably be a bit more discerning about what I request. But, almost as soon as a blurb suggests fantasy ahead, I'm sucked in. That's how I ended up with this one.
If I had been paying a bit more attention beyond the siren call of fantasy, I might have figured out that this was probably not the best book for me. It's being marketed for fans of Shannon Hale, Juliet Marillier, and Kristin Cashore. And now I fess up. The two Shannon Hale books I've read (admittedly, neither of them fantasy), I've not enjoyed, and they haven't made me eager to try out her other books. I've not enjoyed the Marillier I've read either (I know, I know). I did love Cashore's books, but one out of three similar authors does probably not mean a match made in heaven.
And it wasn't. I had a hard time with this book. I had a hard time getting and staying interested in much of anything that was happening. For me, the characterization felt pretty thin - I don't really feel like we get to know much about Lark before we are expected to be on her side as she begins her dangerous quest. I found much of the magic system confusing, perhaps because the information was mostly doled out in big lumps throughout the story. I hated the romance, HATED IT. It just felt awful, forced, completely unreal. It felt pretty much the opposite of romance.
Like I said, nothing about this book grabbed me right away and nothing about it really kept me interested throughout. I finished it, so I suppose that says something, but, I finish most books I start, so maybe that doesn't say too much. This is the first in a series, as Lark is just one of four Guardians waiting to be called upon, so for your fantasy fans that can't get enough of series, this is probably a solid bet. This book and I were just not meant to be - your mileage may vary.
Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.