Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan is the second novel in the Sky Chasers trilogy, following Glow . It had been a while since I had read the first book before I began this one, and I had forgotten a few details, but luckily it started to come back to me as I read. The premise is this: several hundred years in the future, two ships have left a ruined Earth in search of a new planet. The ideologies of the two ships are very different and some disagreement has arisen as to which will better serve the people who make it to New Earth. In this second book, events in the previous novel have left only children to run one of the ships. It is impossible not to see ghosts of Lord of the Flies in there somewhere and in some situations it is more pronounced than others.
One thing I am really enjoying about this series is the exploration of the way religion affects the creation of a society. Ms. Ryan has said in an interview that she was very interested in the way that the religion of the early Puritan settlers of America impacted the creation of a nation and its politics for centuries. Will a more religious society or a more secular society offer the most to the future citizens of New Earth?
As I said about Glow, no character is all good or all bad. Many of the characters do horrible things, but with the best of intentions. Once these actions are set on course, the consequences are often unforeseen and irreversible. How does one correct a mistake, large or small? Can we ever forgive and move on from what many would consider the unforgivable? One section I thought was particularly timely was this:
"'So we condone spying on our crew members?' Waverly spat, then coughed. Her throat still felt scratchy and weak.
'We are all afraid,' Alia said simply. 'Fear makes people do terrible things.'
'Well, it shouldn't go against people's rights,' Waverly said stubbornly."
I read this book quickly and I was fully engrossed. The third book in the series was initially set for release Summer 2013, but that date has been pushed back to January 7th, 2014. I know exactly on what I'll be spending those much hoped for Amazon gift cards from Santa.