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Lark Rising (Guardians of Tarnec #1) by Sandra Waugh: A Book Review

Lark Rising (Guardians of Tarnec #1)
Author: Sandra Waugh
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2014
Pages: 384
Source: My State Public Library
Synopsis: Full of romance and nature magic, this debut fantasy is perfect for fans of Shannon Hale, Juliet Marillier, and Kristin Cashore.

     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.

     My Review: Lark was happy living in her grandmother’s house, gathering herbs for medicines. One day a warning that holds a group of evil creatures called the Troths are marching to attack their village. In order for the village to be saved, someone must ask the The Riders of Tarnec, a group of their kingdom's finest and bravest warriors, for aid. Lark volunteers to the quest because she feels that she is chosen. Lark knows that she is special, not only because she has the gift of Sight, where she can see the future, but because she is destined to play a much greater role. Lark then embarks on a journey where she learns that there is a bigger crisis ahead than the Troths invading her village, and she must save her kingdom and protect everything she holds dear.

     Throughout most of this journey, I found Lark to be a weak character.  Lark is really helpless. She really does not make decisions for herself. She asks constantly, “What do I do?” and looks to someone else to answer what she should do next. She lets others give her the ideas and she follows them without questioning. She never makes any decisions for herself. Lark is also very insecure. She does not feel that her love interest, Gharain, truly loves her. She feels that her cousin, Evie, may steal him away if they ever come into contact. Because of this I was very annoyed with the main character. I wanted her to have self-confidence within herself and to think for herself, which sadly she never really did.

     To me, this novel seemed lost. It didn’t know which direction it is going until two-thirds of the book, when they meet Twig, a gnome, who eventually guides them to the right track. Therefore, I felt that this book was not really developed when the novel began. The characters were muddling along until eventually the author suddenly found the direction of where to go with her novel. After the story got on the right track, I found it be to very interesting. I would not have bothered  to read the sequel, Silver Eve, had I not read the first one hundred pages before I started Lark Rising. Silver Eve was very promising, and I thought that I would enjoy Lark Rising too. Yet, Lark Rising feels that it needed majoring rewriting of the storyline and the characters so that the author’s vision can be fully realized without it going nowhere until two-thirds of the novel. Also, I felt that the love story also needed to be rewritten. It felt forced. I also did not like the love interest Gharain. I did not understand why the author paired the heroine up with him. When they first meet, Gharain wanted to kill Lark on the spot with no explanation. Why would Lark want to be with someone like him? He was mean to her and seemed to hate her. Then out of nowhere, he loves her. Why did he love Lark? What did he see in her that changed his mind from hatred to love? The author gives us no explanation. He just loves her. There were no clues whatsoever that led to his love for her. Therefore, I found the love story to be cringe-worthy, and no matter what the ending said, I do not believe it will be a happy one. 

     Overall, this story is about friendship, love, choices, hope, and sacrifice. The main message of the book is to trust in yourself and believe that you can do whatever task lies before you. If you are interested in a light fantasy story, then you might enjoy this book. I am going to finish Silver Eve. I don’t know if I will continue to read the other series. In fact this book made me feel less excited to read Silver Eve, but I will try to read it without thinking about the disappointment in Lark Rising. Lark Rising is easily forgettable and makes the series seem very unpromising.

Rating: 2 ½ out of 5 stars

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