But there has been a sign.
The Troth will attack my village.
And we cannot hold against them alone.
I was chosen to find the Riders.
To plead for their help.
But the journey was not what I expected.
I discovered something about myself.
I am one of the four Guardians of Tarnec.
The Guardian of Life.
Now I journey to find the stolen amulet.
My stolen amulet.
For no one else can retrieve it, but me.
My name is Lark Carew.
Book: Lark Rising
Author: Sandra Waugh
Series: Guardians of Tarnec
Standing: Book 1
POV: 1st person, past tense
Genre: YA high fantasy
Source: Physical copy
Release: Sept. 23rd 2014
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Lark has foreseen two things—she will fall for a young man with sage green eyes,and he will kill her.
Sixteen-year-old Lark Carew is happiest close to home, tending her garden and gathering herbs for medicines. But when her Sight warns her that monsters called Troths will soon invade her village, Lark is summoned on a journey to seek help from the legendary Riders of Tarnec. Little does she suspect that one of the Riders, Gharain, is the very man who has haunted her visions. Or that the people of Tarnec have called her there for another reason: Lark is the Guardian of Life, the first of four Guardians who must awaken their powers to recover four stolen amulets. Together, the amulets—Life, Death, Dark, and Light—keep the world in Balance. To take back the Life amulet, Lark will have to discover her true inner strength and give in to a love that she swears will be her downfall.
I wasn't quite sure about this book in the beginning, but it got a lot better near the end.
Lark is that girl who spends all her time working at home, helping her Grandmother and her cousin, who are the village Healers. She's doesn't think herself as very important, expect that she has the Sight, which she avoids using. She gardens, gathering medical herbs and weeding, and is timid and shy. Upon the threat of a Troth attack, Lark is chosen to go seek the aid of the mysterious group of Riders, who are skilled in combat. And thus her journey begins, and it leads her to some very unexpected places and discoveries.
At first, Lark's quiet and uncertain personality had me bored to tears. Nothing was happening, and she was ridiculously helpless and scared. It was only when she began to become more outspoken did the pace of the book pick up. But one can only become outspoken if there are people to talk to. The beginning of the book depicted her travelling alone, meaning pages and pages of descriptions. But once she actually meets people, things get a lot more exciting, and the plot starts going up.
Similarly, the writing style was a bit hard for me to get used to. This might be because I just finished Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins, in which the language is very casual, full of slang, snark, and other witty comments. Lark Rising is written in a more traditional way, and the language is older (as in the way Thor and the other Asgardians speak in the Marvel Universe). But once I got used to it, it was fine.
A two themes really stuck out to me in this book: staying true to yourself, and that you're never truly alone. Lark is told over and over again that she must find the courage to stay true to herself, to not let others influence her to become someone she's not. Needless to say, that's part of her growth and strength of her character. As for never being truly alone, Lark learns that the absence of physical company doesn't necessarily mean you're alone. As the Guardian of Life, nature itself is company. Also, Lark herself is more than enough to make up for her loneliness.
I won't say that the love story in this is relatively normal, because though it somewhat is, it also isn't. Lark, with the Sight, dreams of Gharain. Yet in these dreams, he kills her not once, but twice. Add to the fact that Lark also dreams of him ending up with her cousin, Evie, and you have a very heartbroken girl. But she's able to push those thoughts aside and continue on her journey. The love plot is a little predictable, but it's original in a high-fantasy sense, and was cute to read about.
As one of the Guardians of Tarnec, Lark has access to twelve Riders. Twelve, all sworn to protect Tarnec, and thus Lark, as she is one of the four Guardians. That's pretty cool. I wouldn't mind have twelve of the best swordsmen and defenders of the land at my side. What girl wouldn't want that? Fighting alongside a pack of close-knitted skilled swordsmen is like my dream. Heck, being part of one would be fantastic! Also to add that all of them are really awesome to be around :)
I would have given this book 4 stars, as the plot is quite good, but the fact that it took 100 pages before something interesting happens brought it down for me. It's not a bad book, so if you guys do read this book, read it to the end!
The next book, Silver Eve, comes out September 22nd, 2015. I'm probably going to read it, as I find myself oddly attached to Evie, who is Lark's cousin, and the protagonist of the next book. Needless to say, I'm certain she's another Guardian :)