In her debut novel Corcino takes the reader to the future, where all that is required to start a revolution is a single Spark:
There are no more fossil fuels left on Earth, but the human race is nothing but adaptable and with the creation of the humans known as Sparks, they are still able to charge items. Sparks are a slave to the energy that runs through them, known as Dust. It allows them to do amazing things, but they always have a need to release this energy. There are nine cities that offer safety to the people but this comes at a price, control over the children who show they have the power of a Spark. The boys are taken away to be trained into agent, while girls that show promise just disappear. When Lena was a young girl, her father knew that she was powerful so they faked her death in order to let her live. When she was old enough she moved outside of the city to protect those she loves. She is self taught on how to use her Dust power and she sells her abilities on the black market. Lena thought she was safe but when come to her home looking for a renegade Spark, they get way more than they bargain for with Lena. She is the Spark that will change everything.
Corcino had me hooked from the first pages of the book, with the right off the bat action scene, introduction to this world and Lena's powers. While I did find the book did dragged on at points (really Lena thinking things too much) and there were big gaps in time every once in awhile, I never once considered putting this book down. Corcino also plays on all of your emotional strings throughout the book as you did not know what kind of trouble Lena was going to get in to and how it would affect those that she cares about.
This has one of the most original ideas for the powers of an individual (or new species really in this case) that I have ever read. Based on the cover you think that electricity would be Lena's power and while that is true, she can basically control anything, from her own body, those around her and it seemed some aspects of nature as well. She is also able to charge any battery out there from the electrical charge that seems to run through her. I am very interested to see where Corcino takes Lena's powers, as the possibilities and her power seem endless and really overall, just such a cool idea.The normal humans in this world have found a way to turn the Sparks in to relative slaves as they are needed to charge all the cities, they are even pitted against each other and even though Sparks are more powerful than humans, they are seen as a lower class.
Lena is a great female protagonist, she starts out as a loaner in forced but necessary exile because of how powerful she is, but she still has the need to protect those that she loves. She has developed all of her skills in secret and has many tricks that even the strongest of the other Sparks are not aware of. At times I found Lena a little bit childish but I think that this is due to "dieing" when she was young and not getting the proper social skills or interactions with other people.
I was secretly kind of hoping that there would be no romance in this book....but alas I was wrong, it almost seems impossible these days to find a sci-fi or UF book that has a strong female lead character without having the romance aspects. This is not to says that I am adverse to romance in novels, I just find that the romance just seems to happen and they jump into it. I thought that Lena was a stronger character than that and did not see the need for her to think of Reyes in a romantic way all the time, really from the first time she meets him.
This is a great debut novel, with a great original world and powers and while I could have done with out the immediate romance, I guess I have just come to expect in books these days. Corcino will have you hooked from the beginning and if you love a strong female protagonist, this book is for you. Well done Corcino, I know I'll be looking for the next in the series.