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Lark Rising (Guardians of Tarnec) Hardcover – September 23, 2014
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"This romantic fantasy will quickly draw even reluctant readers into its beautifully rendered world, rich in setting and backstory, with inhabitants both fearsome and innocent. The character development is deep and the intricately plotted story line flows without a hitch and with surprises both pleasant and troublesome along the way. Happily, there should be other novels to follow as the remaining three Guardians fulfill their own destinies." - Booklist
"This suspenseful debut, first in a romantic fantasy series, is filled with animism, magical storytelling, and lyrical prose. Featuring a strong and courageous heroine who is constantly reminded to seek balance and trust herself, the story promises more to come for readers that will be hooked." - VOYA
From the Back Cover
- Lexile measure : 750L
- Grade level : 7 - 9
- Item Weight : 1.05 pounds
- Hardcover : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0449817482
- ISBN-13 : 978-0449817483
- Dimensions : 5.81 x 1.25 x 8.5 inches
- Publisher : Random House Books for Young Readers (September 23, 2014)
- Reading level : 12 - 15 years
- Language: : English
Best Sellers Rank:
#1,996,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #4,000 in Teen & Young Adult Science Fiction & Dystopian Romance
- #5,241 in Teen & Young Adult Fantasy Action & Adventure
- #30,926 in Children's Fantasy & Magic Books
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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My biggest struggle in this book was the narrator Lark herself. I had trouble understanding her character and just liking her in general. I felt like we would make some progress, and then she'd do something new that irritated me. It's hard to even describe why that was, because in many ways she acted like the typical heroine. But Lark had this underlying sense of self-doubt and feelings of unworthiness that permeated her character in a very negative way. Plus on top of that she was stubborn. It was a bad combination and just didn't connect well for me at all.
The romance in this book started off a little rocky, but I don't mind the antagonistic beginnings, and I sympathized with Gharain's enormous guilt over his past decisions. I was hopeful that the love story would be a strong aspect of this story, until Lark's immaturity and stupidity got involved and it became one of the more frustrating and unbelievable elements. Mostly in terms of Lark's misguided beliefs. The romance has an air of inevitability about it, and I didn't mind the instant attraction elements here, but some of the obstacles didn't work for me.
The story itself started off pretty slowly, but overall the plot was fine. Though, honestly, I was so distracted by Lark that I don't feel like I can analyze it properly. The fantasy world was interesting and I liked the idea of Balance as a major theme. I also liked Twig's role; he was a character that stood out to me. However, because of the way Lark acted, I didn't like this book more and I couldn't believe the ending she's given in the story. It just didn't ring true to me, or feel well deserved at all.
I was so excited about this new series before I read Lark Rising: I love fantasy, it was blurbed by Juliet Marillier, and the series is supposed to be four books with four heroines and no love triangles. But now I'm super bummed. I'm not completely ruling out reading the next installment, especially if the heroine reads differently, but my expectations have dropped tremendously.
This is the story of a shy 16 year old girl with the Sight. Lark has been chosen for a task. She is to travel the dark wood to Tarnac. This city holds the Riders. They are warriors that battle for balance. When Lark arrives with the enemy on her heels she is faced with a Rider ready to kill her for trespassing. This is where her real journey begins.
For fantasy readers, this is a simple plot with elementary elements of good fantasy. It also has a very weak heroine forced to man up and face her fears. I four d her a bit frustrating with her lack of confidence but she led a very sheltered life so it was believable. Gherain was a brooding meany that I wanted to smack some sense into. He grew on me but found his insta love a bit beyond belief. The villain was dark and predictable but effective. The journey was a bundle of life lessons you could apply to yourself. It was simple but I enjoyed it. It was fun getting lost in this world for a few hours. I will be reading the rest of the series.
I picked this book up because Juliet Marillier, one of the best fantasy writers on the planet, blurbed it. So, DUH! Of course I'm going to read something that she calls a "striking debut novel with a lovely folkloric flavor." AND IT'S TRUE. Lark Rising very much so reminded me of Marillier's own Shadowfell. It's a slow read at first, gradually picking up pace, but it is steady in its beauty. Sandra Waugh's style is poetic and utterly perfect for the mood of this piece. The writing is much like Lark herself, delicate yet powerful.
Lark is not the heroine for everyone. She's quiet, prefers to keep to herself because of her particular brand of magic, and there is nothing all that spectacular about her. In short, she's one of my favorite types of heroine. This book is about Lark's growth into a woman who comes to know herself. This book is about her figuring out how to trust herself when she doesn't have that high of an opinion to begin with. It's something that I definitely related to and is a great message for young girls who lack that faith in themselves.
But that is not a journey that anyone can go on alone. Humans are creatures that desire communion with others, and I personally love that this book isn't about finding independence, but rather finding yourself through others. Lark wouldn't be herself without the people around her. There's her cousin Evie, who greatly impacts Lark's story even though she has little page time (though she will in the next book, Silver Eve); Lark's loyal horse Rune; and the Riders.
Rune and the Riders add an interesting element to the story. The Riders are the only folk in the land who know the secret to horses, and with the horses they are the Keepers who protect the land from darkness. Rune, a horse, finds and saves Lark, claiming her as his. He continually gives her guidance and stability in that majestic way we all dream horses do. He's THAT HORSE.
The Riders are a band of twelve men, and given their numbers we can only scratch the surface on their characters in this one book. But we do get to know Gharain. He is everything that Lark is not - impulsive, quick, wears his emotions outwardly, unyielding, and persistent. It's strange how different they appear to be on the outside, but Lark and Gharain share so many qualities... or perhaps they simply bring those similar qualities out of each other. I absolutely love how they come to mirror each other as the narrative progresses, and it feels natural.
If you are a fan of Juliet Marillier, I think you will love Lark Rising. I highly recommend it to fantasy lovers who don't mind taking their time to fall into this wonderfully realized world.
Top reviews from other countries
The only thing I think would have made it better is more of a physical connection between the two main characters. The writer portrayed the tension between them so well & believably, I would have liked it if there was more of a finality or giving in between the two of them.
All in all a good book.