Spark by John Twelve Hawks
|Spark by John Twelve Hawks|
|Category: Science Fiction|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: Disturbing, original and thrillingly fast paced, John Twelve Hawks has created a unique new hero in this rapid read. An uneven tale but one that shows a glimpse of a dark new world|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: October 2014|
|Publisher: Bantam Press|
Jacob Underwood is dead. At least, he thinks he is.
Suffering the after effects of a traumatic accident, Jacob believes he is dead, just a spark existing inside a body, but unable to fully interact with anything around him. Emotionally detached and living in a shadowy, silent world, Jacob is the ideal assassin. When a new hit is assigned to him, Jacob must prepare himself - and his journey will change both his self, and how he sees the world around him.
John Twelve Hawks is an interesting character - he rose to fame following the publication of his 'Fourth Realm Trilogy', and yet the real identity of the author is unknown. His fear of publicity, fame, and putting details in the public domain, are used wonderfully in this novel, and really help to build the world.
The world itself is a dystopian future, one in which privacy is long extinct, and all thoughts are monitored for deviations against the norm. Jacob Underwood, the main character, fits in well in the world - his lack of emotions making him able to carry out assassinations without much fear of detection.
It's the cold, clinical tone of Jacob that initially made it hard for me to concentrate on this novel - whilst it does change as the book progresses, it initially feels like a very grey, cold book. It is testament to both the writing and the character that within fifty or so pages I was drawn in, and the pace is so fast that it was hard to put the book down. In fact, the ending cries out for a sequel, and I've no doubt that I'll be seeking that out when it arrives.
It all makes for a compelling, if rather pulpy read. It reminded me a lot of other authors - Philip K Dick and George Orwell clearly have had a great influence on the author, and the world Hawks has built is one that openly satirises the current state of the world today
Spark is somewhat uneven, but manages to grip hard after a while, given that the main character and the world built around him are so strong. There are some scenes of violence, but nothing overly gratuitous, and I feel this could easily be read by teenagers too.
Many thanks to Bantam Press for the copy
Anyone who enjoys this bleak futuristic dystopia should seek out Philip K Dick - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick is a wonderful, thought provoking story.
For another look at technology and how it can effect us, Zero History by William Gibson is a more grounded look at that issue.
You can read more book reviews or buy Spark by John Twelve Hawks at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Spark by John Twelve Hawks at Amazon.com.
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