I absolutely loved this! It was so much more than I’d expected. I mean, from the looks of it I thought it would be a romance with the flowery prose (come on, don’t you get the same feel from the title?) but it turned out to be more than that.
The Vanishing Spark Of Dusk is the perfect mixture of science fiction, aliens without humanity, some with humanity, strong humans with empathy, and a well-developed romance.
The story revolves around Lark, a native on Earth, who hasn’t been captured by the alien-controlled mercenaries and traded to slavery, yet. That does happen, though, and she is transported to Tavdora, a planet where humans are brought, sold, and used as slaves. Things become worse from bad for Lark but maybe Kalen, the inheritor of the slave-trading company, is the good in this all. The plot, as such, is quite interesting with the inhumane tendencies of the aliens being used to its best by pouring in slavery and loads of torture. It struck my heart’s chords with the main focus of the story being freedom, escape, and the need to go back home.
There’s some great character development in this book which would be my first reason to recommend this. Lark, who preferred to stay hidden, out-of-sight and not being payed attention to, speaks up to be heard, given the circumstances. When the story starts out, I felt a little annoyed at her for not being a vocal person (maybe because I’m one) but the way she develops and essentially evolves into this strong woman who speaks out her opinion clearly, stands up for her people and even risks everything to get the right thing done, all the while keeping her compassion the only driving force, I grew fond of her. If Lark wasn’t enough to win my heart, Kaylen was more than enough. His personality was well-thought out by the conflicts he faces, the inner turmoil he often went through, and despite of being the next in line to a royal life, he holds strong on his views regarding slavery—how passionately he opposes it. While I’m at it, I’ll even appreciate how emotional he was, not holding off his tears at times when he felt devastated. Also, how he understood Lark so well and the respect he gave to not only Lark, but to all the women he knew, slaves or not. It’s always nice to stumble upon characters who make me happy and sad at the same time, and I’m glad this book gave me those.
In fact, not just the main characters, but even the supporting ones were interesting in their own way and developed as well. None of them had characteristics constricted by stereotypes; there were those who belonged to the wrong side simply because they had no choice, while a few had their own stories that forced them to choose this path. I’ll not be naming names because a spoiler-free review is what I’m intending to write, but there are a few twists here and there that make you raise your eyebrows at the bad guys one in a while because you hadn’t expected something they just did—in a good way.
The writing is one of the strong features of this book. There’s detailed prose to give the clear picture of what’s occurring and more often than not, they are studded with some beautiful words. The world-building is a great result from this picturesque writing; there are violet eyes, hoverboards, spaceships, and even bioluminescent plants to create the world this story is set in. Dialogues are spoken by the right people at the right place and in the right setting.
The romance that slowly strengthens between Kayle and Lark is worth 300 pages and never seemed too dragging. Though there’s an attraction, it doesn’t take the front seat in the romantic representation. They respect each other, trust one another, and eventually fall for the other. It’s gradual and each interaction between them—cute, angry or sexy—is like a stepping stone to their flourished feelings.
Moving on, there’s just enough science-fiction in this novel that lets me count it as one. Though, there aren’t all that many technological gadgets or scientific theories, I did like it for the space pirates, an interplanetary rebellion, and aliens who look almost human—expect for violet eyes and a tall height. Moreover, the fact that the story line touches the most gifted and probably the best trait of a human, humanity, as the deciding factor in what’s right or wrong, strikes a chord and is a pleasure to see become the undercover hero of this story.
Overall, I loved this and would recommend it to all those who are looking for a science-fiction that doesn’t confine humanity to just humans and a romance that develops alongside the story.
Sara was born in the heart of the Andes Mountains in Ecuador where she spent her early life exploring uncharted lands and raising chickens. She now makes her home among the endless cornfields of Indiana with her husband and two children…and she still raises chickens. Her dystopian novel BLACK TIGER was self-published in 2016. When not getting lost in a book, Sara can be found gardening, devouring chocolate, and running off the sugar-high from said chocolate.
I received a digital copy of this book via Netgalley but that in no way influences my rating and/or opinions about this. Thank you Entangled Publishing and Sara Baysinger!