Spark and Carousel by Joanne Hall
Genre – Fantasy
Note – I won this paperbook a few months ago on twitter during BrizzleLass’ blogiversary giveaway. I’m so pleased I won and found a new author to follow.
It is a beautiful book to read with its smooth cover and soft creamy pages. It’s heavy for just under 400 pages and I loved reading it in this form rather than ebook. I don’t like the cover art very much because you can’t get a feel for the characters, but the darkness suits the story and there is a hint of the demons that will soon be unleashed on the city of Cape Carey.
The inclusion of demons in a fantasy was something I haven’t seen much, so this really drew me into the story.
Spark is a young mage who is untrained and out of his depths, trying to escape his past after the mercy killing of his dying master. He has great power, but because his master was sick, has no training or understanding of how to use his gift. Watch out Cape Carey, and whatever you do, don’t make Spark angry…
Incidentally, Spark is his nickname which he isn’t given until page 83. I did find this a little annoying, but understand it can’t be helped. It’s just in the beginning you are introduced to quite a few characters and it is not immediately clear which one is the main character.
One of my favourite characters is Lord Carey’s daughter, Allorise. She is a nasty piece of work and will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
All the characters are well drawn and believable.
I liked the characters I was supposed to like and hated the ones I was supposed to hate but I didn’t feel any great personal attachment to any of them. This is a shame, as caring for the characters is what makes a book great and truly memorable.
The other issue I found with the book was its description of sex. I don’t feel the level of detail added anything to the story.
Spark and Carousel was a real page turner and I had a lot of late nights when I just couldn’t stop reading. I will be looking out for more of Joanne Hall’s books.
All fantasy fans, especially those who are not phased by graphic sex and death scenes.
4 stars (if I had found more of a connection with the characters, it would have been a 5).
Spark is a wanted man. On the run after causing the death of his mentor and wild with untamed magic, he arrives in Cape Carey where his latent talents make him the target of rival gangs. It is there that Carousel, a wire-walker and thief, takes him under her wing to guide him through the intrigues of the criminal underworld. But when Spark’s magic cracks the world and releases demons from the hells beneath, two mages of his former order make it their mission to prevent his magic from spiralling out of control. They must find him before he falls into the clutches of those who would exploit his raw talent for their own gain, forcing Spark to confront a power he is not ready to handle. Meanwhile, a wealthy debutante learning magic in secret has her own plans for Spark and Carousel. But the sudden arrival of the mages throws her carefully laid plans into disarray and she unleashes a terrible evil onto the streets of the unsuspecting city—an evil only Spark’s magic can control. Everyone wants a piece of Spark, but all Spark wants is to rid himself of his talents forever.