Author: Rachael Craw
Publisher: Walker Books
Date of Publication: 1st September 2016
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher
Review of Spark
Review of Stray
"This is the Affinity Project - where freewill is turned to ash."
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.
The final thrilling conclusion to the Spark series.
I was very excited to receive this final instalment in the Spark series by Rachael Craw. I've been hooked on this series since the first book crossed my path. I'll try as far as possible to avoid spoilers for the first two books, but no guarantees!
In Spark, Evie found out that she was genetically altered as part of the Affinity Project. She is a Shield. Programmed to save Sparks from being killed by Strays. Strays are also a result of the genetic experimentation carried out by the Affinity project. No one involved has any choice. When a Stray comes in contact with a Spark, a switch goes off and they are compelled to kill them. The Shield feels the same compulsion to save the Spark, meaning they need to kill the Stray. Although with Evie's discovery in Stray, it may be possible to fight the inevitable.
As Shield starts, Evie is recovering from the events of Stray, and the consequences that followed. She has discovered hidden truths about her parentage, risked her relationship with her best friend Kitty and her love Jamie, and brought the wrath of the entire Affinity Project down on her. When she is returned to the compound it's clear she's made some enemies, and Ethan 's new project, which may be able to stop the cycle of killing, is under threat.
As with the first two books in the series, Shield is a roller coaster ride. The action is fast paced and the tension continues throughout. The stakes are high here. Everyone Evie loves is at risk, and her actions will either save or condemn them. She needs to make alliances with former foes in order to achieve her aims, but there is always the risk that they will betray her.
This is sci-fi at its best, where the technology comes second to the relationships involved, and we learn something about what it means to be human.
Rachael Craw has created a compelling and exciting series. I closed the last page with tears in my eyes, sad to be leaving this world, but satisfied with the conclusion. I sincerely hope Rachael finds more stories in this world, but if this is all we get, then it's enough.