Rachael Craw, Shield (Spark #3), Walker Books Australia, 1 Sept 2016, 432pp., $19.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781922179647
Shield is book three in the Spark Trilogy and completes the series. For readers new to the series, Shield continues the story of the teenage Evie and the Affinity Project, a paramilitary organisation which created a synthetic gene which turns people into Sparks, Strays and Shields. Strays become obsessed with killing particular Sparks and Shields are obsessed with defending these Sparks. These obsessions lead to an endless cycle of murder that the characters cannot control. As one of the characters puts it:
‘You can’t catch a Stray and not kill it. You either have a dead Stray with a living Shield or a living Stray with a dead Shield. Or a living Stray with a dead Spark and a Shield gone crazy with grief.’
Evie has suffered since becoming a Shield and hates Affinity passionately, but now they have a project that might lead to a cure. It might kill her too but then when has she had much choice about the direction of her life, anyway?
Besides the obvious themes of obsession and sacrifice, Shield also looks at second best relationships and asks the question: can you settle for an okay relationship when you can’t have your soul mate?
Like my previous reviews of the Spark Trilogy, I wouldn’t recommend the books for younger teenagers. The violence in each book is very detailed. But for teenagers over 16, I do recommend this very exciting book. I enjoyed it very much, though I did skim over the fight scenes.
Reviewed by Katy Gerner