“Destiny doesn’t come from a test tube.”
– Rachael Craw, Shield
The final action-packed instalment of the Spark trilogy.
Evie is out of options. She must comply with the Affinity Project – obey their rules, play their deadly games, give up Jamie. And her losses keep growing. When she decides to help a small group of Shields trying to affect change, Evie finds herself in the firing line. Counsellor Knox is intent on revealing her secrets and shackling her to the Affinity Project for life. To protect her family, Evie must betray those closest to her. The odds of success – let alone survival – are slim.
I was extremely happy when Shield arrived in the mail. This is the much-awaited final book in the Spark Trilogy by Rachael Craw. The story continues for Evie, Jamie and the Affinity Project. In Spark (book one), Evie discovered she is a Shield, a genetically modified being designed to protect the vulnerable Sparks. A genetic flaw makes Sparks a target for Strays, seemingly normal people who turn into savage, obsessed killers when they come in contact with a particular Spark. In Stray (book two), Evie became involved in a deadly game with the Affinity Project in an attempt to prove the Stray gene can be cured. Unsurprisingly, the Affinity Project wasn’t open to their program being questioned and so they continued to press Evie further under their control. Across the two books, there were many twists, revelations, tragedies and plenty of action!
Shield picks up where Stray ended. The Affinity Project has been divided by Evie’s claims and many people want her out of the way, dead or alive. Evie isn’t sure who she can trust. Old faces reappear and new faces are introduced to the game and time is running out to save the ones she loves. However, Evie must also fight for herself, as there are certain people who are keen to reveal her secrets and tie her to the Project forever. Evie will try to protect them all – but at what cost?
I have thoroughly enjoyed this series. Evie is a fierce and independent character, headstrong and impulsive. Her act now, think later attitude definitely gets her into trouble and at times only heightens her own insecurities – and her angst. Her need to control everything and save everyone is commendable and foolish, yet it makes her all the more likable! Her love interest Jamie is also incredibly headstrong which makes him controlling, and is another force for Evie to push against. He isn’t a character I really liked or connected with, unlike his sister Kitty – Evie’s best friend – whom I would have loved to have seen more of! Unfortunately, she was fairly important to the story in the earlier books, just not this one!
Craw’s writing is fantastic. She maintains an almost frantic pace throughout the series and never drops the intensity or suspense. The reader is constantly aware of Evie’s claustrophobia and the danger she is in. I applaud the work Craw has put into her world building – it is quite complex yet the technology and ideas are believable. I got completely lost with all the tech talk, however this is a reflection of my reading skill not Craw’s writing. I have never been a great sci-fi reader and find it confusing in many books! I found the whole ‘love game’ – explained by genetics – quite tiring, however this is my general feeling of the trope across all YA, not just this book. I really enjoyed Craw’s views on human rights; the rights of genetically modified beings is a contentious one, so is the belief that a female’s reproductive organs are fair game. The potential for exploitation is a real one and I like how Craw approached it!
Overall, this is a great YA series that is fast paced, action packed and a really enjoyable read!
AUTHOR: Rachael Craw
PUBLISHER: Walker Books
PUB DATE: 1 September 2016
Thank you to Walker Books for sending me a reading copy in exchange for an honest review!