Title: The Sparks
Author: Kyle Prue
Series: The Feud Trilogy (Book 1)
Page Length: 334
Publication Date: Jan. 31, 2017
Publisher: Cartwright Publishing
Synopsis: Honor does not bend. A will of iron does not break. Victory lies within the ashes.
The Vapros, the Taurlum, and the Celerius: three dynasties bound by an ancient promise, and given superhuman abilities to protect the city of Altryon from the dangerous world beyond its walls. The Vapros have the ability to teleport and turn their enemies to ash, the Celerius have super speed and the ability to heal from any wound, the Taurlum have skin like steel and godlike strength. Centuries of petty infighting have turned the families against each other, resulting in a secret war. A powerful emperor now rules over all, as the families have weakened by massive casualties.
16-year-old Neil Vapros desperately wants to become an assassin, to please his hyper critical father. After failing his first mission, Neil learns that a sinister new force has awakened. This mysterious new power threatens to shatter the established order and threaten the lives of everyone in Altryon–regardless of their family name or allegiance.
An immersive and entertaining fantasy, The Sparks is a fantastic introduction to The Feud trilogy! I loved the characters, the amazing world-building, the intrigue, and more.
Three families – the Vapros, the Taurlum, and the Celerius- were chosen long ago and given superhuman powers with the task of protecting the city of Altryon from the dangers that lurk beyond their wall. Now, the three families are embroiled in a bitter feud, each determined to undermine and assassinate the others. However, when an even greater threat comes after the families, will they change their feuding ways and work together to defeat the enemy?
The story primarily follows several teenagers from the three feuding families, including Neil and Rhys Vapros, Darius Taurlum, and Lilly Celerius. The narration is told from several perspectives, so you really get to see the world from different points of view. I liked this, as you understand the thoughts and feelings of a variety of people, good and bad, which immersed me even more into the story. They are so many richly developed characters with unique and distinct personalities, many of whom face tremendous pressure to fight the other families and maintain their family’s reputation. Neil, Darius, and Lilly have slightly larger roles than the rest, and I loved each of them!
Neil Vapros is determined to become an assassin and make his disapproving and critical father proud. I love his determination and charisma. He lives in an abusive home with almost impossible expectations put on him. However, he never gives up. He is strong, determined, and brave. Like his Taurlum and Celerius counter-parts, Neil is a leader among his people, although he seems to be working harder than the others to prove himself to his family. Lilly is strength personified and seems to have the best support system of the bunch. She’s a fierce warrior and loyal to her family. Darius is confident, aggressive, and often brutal, but there is so much depth underneath all of his bravado.
I also like the moral greyness to some of the characters and their actions. It is unclear for most of the story who is honorable and trustworthy and who is treacherous, and just when I thought I had certain characters figured out, something would happen in the story that made me reevaluate my assertions. There are characters that I definitely rooted for and others that I loved to hate, but the moral ambiguity fascinated me.
Another aspect of the characters that I love is the cool powers that the families possess. The Vapros can teleport and turn people into ash, the Celerius have fast self-healing powers and super speed, and the Taurlum have skin of steel and superhuman strength. Several characters have added abilities beyond the traditional inherited powers, and they hone their skills and use them to their advantage, especially when their lives are threatened. Prue did an amazing job in describing the powers and the imagery is fantastic!
The author is also skilled in describing the intricacies of the families and the world without turning it into a big info dump. Altryon has a long history, as do the feuding families, and the progression and changes of the society are woven into the story quite naturally. Strong messages of family, trust, faith, finding oneself, and resilience are also at the forefront of this engrossing story.
A wonderful and vivid young adult fantasy with tons of action, political intrigue, and surprising twists, The Sparks will appeal to readers who like immersive, well-developed stories. Thanks so much to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
The characters. They are well-developed and interesting.
The world-building. Fascinating and immersive.
That ending!! I’m so glad I have the second book because that ending was EPIC!
If you focus on the sparks, you might come to ignore the fire.