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Narrator: Jon Eric Preston
Publisher: Cartwright Publishing (2017)
Length: 9 hours 14 minutes
Series: Book 1 Feud
The Houses have been warring for generations. Each House has it’s warriors and assassins along with their special abilities. Now something has taken aim at the major Houses and old feuds may have to be set aside in order for the remnants of these Houses to survive. Building trust enough to mount a strategic attack may be impossible.
Set in the fictional city of Altryon, Neil Vapros is an assassin in training. He desperately wants his father’s approval but gaining that may be impossible. The Vapros are currently targeting the senior members of House Taurlum but taking one out is harder than Neil expected. In fact, if it wasn’t for Neil’s street-wise commoner friend Bianca, his role in this tale may have ended quite early on.
Even as Neil tries to come up with new ways to prove himself worthy of the Vapros House, something starts targeting the three ruling Houses. Despite their special powers, they die or disappear one after the other. The steel skin and incredible strength of the Taurlum House doesn’t keep them safe. For each incredible power, there is a weakness and the Taurlum weakness is not a secret. Members of the Vapros House can teleport and also turn human bodies into ash. House Celerius (the ability to heal quickly coupled with super speed) comes into it a bit later but also plays a significant role. Myth holds that these Houses were given special abilities in order to protect the people of Altryon. Outside there city-wide walls lies only rumors and guesses.
This rich, deadly world that Prue created is the thing that I loved most about this book. These long-feuding Houses and the kids growing up in this culture where they are expected to kill members of the other Houses whenever they get the chance is a great setting. When major changes start happening to this status quo, it gets really interesting. Now the main characters no longer have this family script on how to behave and they have to start thinking and acting for themselves and the ones they truly care about. For instance. Neil’s sisters (Jennifer and Victoria) aren’t particularly loving towards him. Once his family comes under attack, things shift.
Michael of House Tarlum experiences a character shift as well once he loses most of his family. I was particularly intrigued by this character because he seems so rough and bull-like at the beginning. He’s a big ball of anger and perhaps lust (lust for power, life, the ladies). Losing the comforts and prestige he grew up with changes him.
I also enjoyed the glimpses we get into the Emperor’s life and those closest to him. He’s a force to be reckoned with and he isn’t playing fair. Then there’s also the hints that there’s a bigger world outside of Altryon. I hope the author explores this possibility in later books.
There was one small weakness that stood out to me. There’s a point where these remnants of the great Houses plan to meet to discuss where to go from here. They set a time and location and share that around. It was painfully obvious that somehow their foe would get hold of this info and they would be attacked. It was a predictable plot point that was delivered without subtlety.
Despite that one little criticism, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was trying to describe this book to my husband and I went with ‘imagine Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastards without all the creative cussing mashed up with Red Rising without Mars and you got something like The Sparks‘. Now he wants to give it a read as well and he’s not particularly into YA books. I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series.
I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobookworm.
The Narration: Jon Eric Preston was a really good pick for this book. While is female character voices could use a bit more femininity, he kept all the characters distinct. He had a variety of voices for all the male characters. What he excelled at were the numerous emotions. He was great at getting the characters’s anger, grief, frustration, joy, triumph, surprise, and more across to the listener.
What I Liked: Great setting; the super powers; the culture these kids were raised in and how that affects their actions going forward; the intense scenes with the Emperor; hints of a bigger world outside the city; how the remnants of these great Houses come together.
What I Disliked: There is one particularly obvious plot point that I cringed at.
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About Author Kyle Prue:
Kyle Prue is an award winning author, actor and comedian. Kyle wrote The Sparks: Book 1 of the Feud Trilogy when he was just 16 years old. Kyle has spent the past year on a national book tour visiting over 80 middle and high schools and meeting over 60,000 students. Kyle is now a freshman at the University of Michigan, studying acting and creative writing. He still visits schools and is a keynote speaker for conferences.
Kyle is the founder of Sparking Literacy, a non-profit dedicated to lowering the high school dropout rate by inspiring teens to read, write and follow their dreams. The Sparks has won numerous national awards including Best YA Fiction awards from: The Florida Authors and Publisher’s Association, the Florida Book Festival, New England Book Festival, Midwest Book Festival, Southern California Book Festival, and the International London Book Festival. Kyle also won an International Moonbeam Award and IndieFab Award for Best Young Author.
Synopsis of The Sparks:
One teen assassin-in-training must unite three warring supernatural dynasties before death comes to them all…
Find out why USA Today calls The Sparks “a crackling read” that “builds a vivid world (both) otherworldly and relatable.”
Neil Vapros just wants to make his father proud. The sixteen-year-old aspires to serve his family as an assassin, but he nearly dies in the process. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Neil’s family, as well as two rival dynasties, have abandoned an ancient promise to protect their city. An unknown evil has begun hunting all three houses from the shadows…
As Neil’s relatives fall one-by-one, he attempts to unite the three supernatural families against a common enemy. But earning trust after years of assassination attempts could prove impossible. Neil’s fight may involve more than a bloodthirsty empire, as betrayal rears its ugly head…
The Sparks is the first book in the award-winning Epic Feud trilogy of young adult fantasy novels. If you like captivating characters, inventive world building, and supernatural battles, then you’ll love Kyle Prue’s action-packed coming-of-age tale. Buy The Sparks today to ignite your thirst for adventure!
About Narrator Jon Eric Preston:
Jon Eric Preston received his Theatre degree from Florida State University after returning from the London program. He earned top honors narrating in the Dramatic Interpretation category on the Speech and Debate team, and performed professionally in Children’s Theatre companies and did National Tours of A Christmas Carol, Twelfth Night, and Othello.
As a SAG BookPAL and a father reading to his two boys for more than 12 years, moving into the booth to record audiobooks was a natural and joy filled progression.
He is thrilled to be narrating and giving voice to the characters for Kyle Prue’s Feud Trilogy.
Kyle Prue is offering up a $50 Amazon gift card!