I recently finished reading J. M. Hackman’s debut novel, Spark: The Firebrand Chronicles, Book One. This was a fun YA fantasy that was completely enjoyable as someone who is ahem not a young adult anymore. Technically. On the outside.
One of the first fun things I discovered about the story was that I share a last name with the main character, Brenna James, and I was even more tickled to share my whole name with her mom – Sarah James (although of course I spell mine without an “h.”) And then at the end — well, I don’t want to give that away. But it was amusing for me to have that name connection.
The story itself appealed to me because it involved a parallel world – or alternity, as the characters term it – and special talents that were exciting to uncover. New creatures and familiar fantastical beasts populated the world. I was able to feel at home in Linneah even as I was intrigued by the unique elements of the land.
I enjoyed getting to know the characters. Brenna is likable as a heroine, and she is surrounded by worthy friends and love-to-hate enemies.
One of my favorite quotes in the story sums up the theme of the story: “Nobody is ever beyond help or forgiveness.”
This book is recommended for fantasy fans of any age, and to parents and teens looking for a clean but exciting read. You won’t find profanity or sexual content here, just a good story.