ARC Review: Sparks




SERIES: Blackout #2

REPRESENTATION: FF relationship. MH rep (PTSD, anxiety, OCD)






In my review of Blackout, the first book in this duology, I said that:

Blackout is a near-future dystopian story with a very British feel. I don’t read a lot of dystopian books — or at least I don’t usually search it out? — but I absolutely loved Blackout…

Sparks has that same gritty, underdog feel but expands the world outwards, adding in international locations and high-tech allies.

Mallory does a great job of building on the believable dystopian near-future established in Blackout. As I’m not a huge dystopian reader, there’s just enough genre aspects here to interest me, without feeling too overwhelming or confusing.

As in the last book, Skyler, Angel, and Mack completely won my heart. There’s also a few new characters both fighting with and against our heroes. You know that the author’s really captured complex, well-rounded and likable characters when I find myself muttering “my baaaabies…” at my Kindle.

I really loved the way Sparks has unrepentantly queer characters (and that it’s not something that’s made a big deal of in this future) and the way it looks at both PTSD, anxiety, and OCD. I’m not an ownvoices reviewer for mental health so I can’t comment on the way it’s handled, but it felt believable and handled with respect. The characters are so wonderful and messy, and completely heart-warming.

The plot is fast-paced with plenty of action, assassination, and theft, but there’s still plenty of time to let the characters breathe and the relationships develop. In terms of action, this was everything I could have wanted from the Blackout sequel. It adds even more danger, new threats, a big international agency (which of course, we don’t know if our heroes can trust) and globe-trotting missions.

Sparks (and the Blackout duology in general) is a fantastic dystopian novel. Having such strong characters makes this the perfect book if, like me, you’re just dipping your toe into the genre, while. For fans of dystopian stories, the tone and heart of this story make it stand out from the crowd.

I really couldn’t recommend giving the Blackout duology enough.




Sparks (Blackout #2)It’s 2034 and the United Kingdom is no more. Now there is only North and South, and the vast concrete Wall that separates the two.

A group of misfit outcasts have saved the North from annihilation – and started an unwinnable war with the brutal, totalitarian Board. Two months later, as the future grows ever bleaker, a mysterious international agency offers a final glimmer of hope.

But the Agency may not be all it seems, and the gang are still reeling from the fallout of their original mission as they wrestle with old demons and fraying loyalties. Plus there’s still the small matter of having a government to overthrow…

It turns out starting the fight is one thing. Finishing it is a whole different story. 

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.




4 thoughts on “ARC Review: Sparks”

  1. Dystopians are a hard genre for me—they often seem to either be too over-the-top with their setting, or there’s not really enough difference between real life and the book. This one sounds like it could be a good middle ground!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I really think that’s the hardest part of a dystopian, and what makes them so hit or miss for me. I don’t always understand what makes some of them not work for me, either. Like: The Hunger Games worked as a dystopian in my eyes. Divergent didn’t work nearly as well. And I can’t point to what I believed about the one that I didn’t believe about the other.

        Liked by 1 person

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