Blog Tour: Giveaway, Review & Interview for Spark by Rachael Craw

June 26, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 4 stars, Blog Tours, Books, Reviews

Blog Tour: Giveaway, Review & Interview for Spark by Rachael Craw

Blog Tour: Giveaway, Review & Interview for Spark by Rachael CrawSpark by Rachael Craw
Published by Walker Books Australia on July 1, 2014
Source: Publisher
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
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Evie doesn’t have a choice.

One day she’s an ordinary seventeen year old, grieving for her mother. The next, she’s a Shield, the result of a decades-old experiment gone wrong, bound by DNA to defend her best friend from an unknown killer.

The threat could come at home, at school, anywhere. All Evie knows is that it will be a fight to the death.

And then there’s Jamie. irresistible. off-limits

My review – Genetically modified super humans

Spark features an interesting concept about genetic mutations in a select number of humans, that determine their role to play people based on their DNA – the Shield (protector), the Spark (igniter) and the Stray (the aggressor).

Evie is the Shield who has just been sparked by her best friend Kitty, and she finds herself developing great reflexes, enhanced senses, a healing ability, the ability to see people’s memories, feel people’s frequencies, and an unhealthy fixation on Kitty’s safety. It turns out she’s a Shield who has developed her powers, and her job is to protect Kitty from her Stray, who will hunt her down to spark their own powers.

I really liked Evie, her determination to protect Kitty despite the odds and her strength of character, and it was funny seeing her act like a possessive boyfriend at times. Her behaviour was understandable given the Fixation Effect, to ensure she will be able to sense a threat to Kitty at all times. Their relationship reminded me of the girls from Vampire Academy, where one is the protector and the other is the best friend. Kitty took her best friend’s new role all in stride as she was afraid of the impending attack.

I’m not going to apologise for my feelings for your niece. You know the stats on Synergist coding. Genetically speaking, Everton and I were made for each other. 

The concept of DNA manipulation to breed fighters for private security was really interesting. Shields, Sparks and Strays have an interesting relationship with each other, as the Strays will hunt down the Sparks who will die once triggered. Having this secret world in society where super humans are about was a fascinating new twist. Although the sci-fi elements were explained in a brain burning scientific manner early on, I managed to pick up the concepts along the way as the story was told. I had to refer back to the explanation a few times during the book, as there’ll be appreciations used such as KMT which wouldn’t really be explained again.

There is a well-developed romance between Evie and Jamie, Kitty’s brother. They have a history together but they will bond even further through their training and amplified attraction to each other. Both of them are Shields, and they have a rare, Synergist bond where they both amplify each others abilities. The couple have great chemistry, and I liked how it never overtook their main objective in protecting Kitty (despite what their families thought).

Spark felt like it could have been condensed into fewer pages, at over 400 pages it felt like the pace was rather slow at times. This could be due to the range of characters who were developed throughout the novel. It does pick up towards the end though, with an action-packed ending and lots of twists and turns along the way.


Spark’s scientific twist on enhanced human beings was the highlight as it was developed well throughout the novel. Although it tended to be heavy on the concepts, I really enjoyed how they were weaved into the story. Featuring excellent character development and a romance I can ship, I really enjoyed Spark.

Rating: 4 out of 5

I received a review copy from Walker Books Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Interview with Rachael Craw

1. How did you come up with the concept of Spark?

I had the dream that is now the prologue of Spark. In the dream I was running through a forest at night, incredible speed, reflexes, stamina. Then I was gripped with a terrible urgency and I knew that there was a girl out there in the dark and that someone was hunting her down, intent on killing her. I knew I had to get to her first in order to save her life. I woke knowing I had the seed of the story I had prayed for just before going to sleep! (No kidding!) I started asking questions: why was I so strong/fast etc? How did I know the girl was out there? Why would someone want to kill her? Why was it my responsibility to protect her? Etc etc. But it didn’t feel like magic or anything supernatural, it felt like being a bit of a superhero, like radio-active gamma rays had given me powers or something comic-bookish in premise.

2. I was really impressed with your scientific explanations in Spark. Did you do any research to form these concepts?

I sniffed about on Google, looking at things like DNA, brainwaves, physics stuff … basically looking for any explanations that used very small words. Then I approached the rest of it like a giant game of Balderdash.

3. Spark was really well rounded in both the character development, world building and romance. What is the most important element for you in writing a novel?

Undoubtedly character. I want them to grab the narrative with their own hands and force the plot into dangerous waters, take me by surprise and own the page. Everything else grows around characterization for me.

4. What can we look forward to Stray and Shield? Any thoughts on writing from Jamie’s point of view?

In Stray, you will see Evie go through grueling interrogation, training and testing during orientation at the Affinity Project compound. She is stretched to the very limits physically, emotionally and psychologically. All of her relationships are placed under tremendous strain. The title is significant for reasons I cannot divulge without entering SPOILER territory! Shield will deal more with the injustices suffered by the genetically engineered. As to writing from Jamie’s POV … hmmm, in my experience I have been irritated by sudden changes in narrative POV when a series is midway.  It doesn’t bother me so much if a series starts with a shared narrative but there’s something about hitting book 2 or 3 and giving the narrative away to other characters that irks me. I can’t really quantify why I feel like that. However, I should never say never. I might be digging into bk3 and it could suddenly seem like a grand idea! Watch this space.

5. Will we see more of the other super humans in the future?

Oh yes! Evie meets many of her own kind at the Affinity Project, makes some allies and enemies among them.

6. I love how active you are on Twitter and social media. Are there any challenges associated with this or have you always been into social media?

I have always LOVED social media. I never had the stamina to keep a blog. Give me 140 characters any day. My only problem is keeping me off the damn thing!

7. What authors inspire your writing?

Soooo many! From contemporary lit: Margaret Atwood (I love her with th
e love of a thousand fiery suns), Kate Atkinson, Isabelle Allende, Alice Hoffman, Tony Morrison, Alice Walker. From YA and genres: Patrick Ness, Elizabeth Knox, Erin Morgenstern, Kate De Goldi, Samantha Shannon, Leslye Walton… (I could go on all day)

Thanks for the chat, I look forward to seeing what others think about Spark and chatting to you more on Twitter!

rachael-craw-croppedAbout the Author

Rachael Craw studied Classical Studies and Drama at the University of Canterbury, but
became an English teacher after graduation. Working with teenagers has given her a natural
bent towards Young Adult fiction and a desire to present a feisty female protagonist in her
writing. Her debut novel, Spark, is the first in a series released with Walker Books Australia
from 2014. Rachael was born and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand, and currently lives in
Nelson with her husband and three daughters.

Giveaway – Australians only 

Walker Books Australia is giving Happy Indulgence readers the chance to win 1 of 2 copies of Spark! Just fill in the rafflecopter below to win. Genuine entries only – no cheating!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Entry conditions

  • Over 13 years to enter
  • Winners will be picked at random and must respond within 48 hours
  • Winner will be announced on the rafflecopter form.
  • We do not accept responsibility for prizes sent from the publisher.
  • Entries close on 4 July 2014.

Follow the Blog Tour

Tuesday, June 24 Diva Booknerd
Wednesday, June 25 The Tales Compendium
Thursday, June 26 Kids’ Book Review & Happy Indulgence
Friday, June 27 Fictional Thoughts
Saturday, June 28 Inside My Worlds: R.L.Sharpe & Aussie Reviews
Sunday, June 29 Striking Keys & Thoughts by J
Monday, June 30 Books for a Delicate Eternity & Fiction in Fiction in Fiction
Tuesday, July 1 The Loony Teen Writer & Kkatie Reads

@RachaelCraw |

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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57 responses to “Blog Tour: Giveaway, Review & Interview for Spark by Rachael Craw

  1. Bec

    I'm not usually a sci-fi reader, I prefer fantasy, but Spark sounds amazing. I'm looking for a decent YA sci-fi after I was so burned by Delirium.

    What intrigues me most, though, was the Rose/Lissa comparison to one of the central relationships. Vampire Academy is one of my favourite series and so anything that is on the same level is AOK with me.
    Bec recently posted…The climb beginsMy Profile

  2. carli

    I am eagerly anticipating this novel! The premise sounds intriguing, and the cover is absolutely gorgeous!

  3. Sherry Butcher

    I think that the concept of DNA manipulation to breed fighters for private security would be the most interesting to me.

  4. Jeann! Y u make me want books I can't have?? GAH. This sounds awesome, and your author interview is fabulous. ALSO–Balderdash is like my favorite board games EVER, so how could I not want to read this? Maybe it'll get to the states eventually . . .

  5. I really love the idea of DNA manipulation, Jeann. I haven't heard of this book before today, I'm definitely adding this to my TBR because I'm obsessed with all things biology. The main character sounds like a girl I could easily root for as well. I love how devoted she is to her friend. It's a shame about the length, but if there's good character development, it's all good! 🙂

    Great review!
    Nick @ Nick's B recently posted…Blog Tour Stop: Boneseeker by Brynn ChapmannMy Profile

  6. I'm so excited to read this books soon, I've already seen heaps of positive reviews for it! It's really great to see a sic-fi story from a local author (yes I'm going to claim her as local despite being from NZ 😉 I'm always looking for well written sci-fi novels that have a great story without the romance being the main focus, so Spark sounds perfect!
    Amy @ The Reading Re recently posted…{ARC Review} Perfected by Kate Jarvik BirchMy Profile

  7. I like the spin on the drama triangle of rescuer, victim and predator! I haven't come across this book before but I'm definitely adding this to my read list. Thanks for sharing the review and interview with us!
    Henrietta recently posted…That Night – Chevy StevensMy Profile

  8. Ooooh, this sounds really good. I can't believe this is my first time hearing of it. I'm definitely intrigued! I find books that involve mutations or dna manipulations to be interesting reads so I'm going to have to add this one to my tbr. Great review!
    Janina @ Synchronize recently posted…Alpha by Jasinda WilderMy Profile

  9. I need to get into the dystopian mood again! But I am kind of worried about the slow pace that you mentioned because of the 400 pages, it's kind of daunting. But I've read looooong books before. I do like the concept of the Sparks, Strays, and Shields. I am quite intrigued by this, so I will check this out 🙂
    Dre @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…Review 180 : We Were Liars by E. LockhartMy Profile

  10. Fantastic review Jeann! I love the premise it feels eerily real and I am glad the characters were likable. Glad the romance worked, although to be honest I don't need it in this type of genre, but appreciate when it doesn't take away from the overall plot
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Five Ways to Fall by K.A. TuckerMy Profile

  11. All you Aussies get the good books and we're stuck waiting for an year for them to be available to us 😛

    I saw Kelly's review for this one a couple days ago and had to add it immediately. I loveee books that deal with genetically modified humans (although not in a dystopia context). I am so glad to see you enjoyed this!

    ALSO it's super cool that the idea came to you (Rachel) in a dream! Perhaps you have magical powers….. dun dun dun dun.

    Great review, Jeann and thanks for sharing the interview!! 🙂
    Rashika recently posted…ARC Review: In The End by Demitria Lunetta – RANT ALERT!My Profile

    • No problems Rashika, it was a really enjoyable read! Haha sometimes we have to wait a long time for US releases too which is agonising especially when everyone else is reading it.

  12. I want to read this book so so bad now!! At first I was dubious because it sounded quite run of the mill…buuuut, I'm CONVERTED. I love how awesome the author is too. I've chatted to her a few times on twitter and I'm not even on the tour or reviewing. She's such a nice person! ^_^ That sells me the book any day regardless. lol! I love that the book has a scientific angle too…with all the DNA and brainy stuff. Eeep! Also romance you can ship? YUS PLEASE.
    Cait @ Notebook Sist recently posted…The Interrogation of Mime: Is she or is she not a bad blogger?My Profile

    • YAY I am so glad you love the sound of this novel Cait, my job here is done. Rachael is so lovely and humble too! The science stuff was great as was the romance 🙂

  13. Wow girl, this book has just hit my 'consider more now' list! It sounds like a rush, a fantastic book, a new, develop-able premise and just wow! I thought it would strike a pretty cover problem, but clearly not. Definitely caught my eye now with your review, so thank you Jeann! 😀
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  14. Great review Jeann! I have seen so many twitter conversations and tweets about this book, so I am definitely very intrigued! The unique dystopian/sci fi premise and genetic elements make it sound really interesting – I'm hooked already 🙂
    Eugenia @ Chasm of B recently posted…ARC Review: Flirty DancingMy Profile