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Reviewed by Stephanie Chapman for Readers' Favorite
Evelyn Puerto's Flight of the Spark presents cultural differences and fantasy combined. Villagers follow rules for safety and believe Riskers are barbarians to avoid. When Iskra takes a trip to another village, the caravan she rides with is attacked by bandits. Forced to run, Iskra heads up the mountainside and is rescued by two men. Tarkio is a trader accompanied by Xico, who is a Risker. Iskra learns that the Riskers are nothing like what she was taught in the village. After Tarkio escorts Iskra home, she tells her best friend Tavda about her experience. Tavda starts asking questions about why they were forbidden to associate with Riskers and two days later is taken. Iskra believes that it was her fault Tavda is gone and goes to the Riskers for help. Iskra and Xico fall in love, despite the law against mixed marriages. Iskra's trips to the Riskers are discovered by the leader of the village, and now she must face her worst fears.
Flight of the Spark is a story that drew me in, and I found myself hoping that Iskra and Xico would prove the village laws were wrong. Iskra's emotions and fears are conquered the more she discovers the freedom that Xico teaches her. I loved reading about Xico's fearless approach and can-do attitude toward life, and I can completely understand how Iskra felt motivated by him. I didn't like how the leaders of the village encouraged others to belittle Iskra when she returned safely from her trip. Evelyn Puerto's description of the poverty in the village and the beauty of the Riskers' camp was what I could picture as hell versus heaven. Puerto was able to put me in the mind of all the main characters; I could feel their fear, anger, hope, and happiness as it happened. The ending was not what I thought it would be and I'm glad this is a series because it hints at more. This is a 5-star book that I recommend to anyone who likes an adventurous story of discovery mixed with love, rebellion, and suspense all rolled into one.