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A magical world that will captivate fans of Kate DiCamillo and Diana Wynne Jones.

Marah Levi is a promising violinist who excels at school and can read more languages than most librarians. Even so, she has little hope of a bright she is a sparker, a member of the oppressed lower class in a society run by magicians.

Then a mysterious disease hits the city of Ashara, turning its victims’ eyes dark before ultimately killing them. As Marah watches those whom she loves most fall ill, she finds an unlikely friend in Azariah, a wealthy magician boy. Together they pursue a cure in secret, but more people are dying every day, and time is running out. Then Marah and Azariah make a shocking discovery that turns inside-out everything they thought they knew about magic and about Ashara, their home. 

Set in an imaginative world rich with language, lore, and music, this gripping adventure plunges the reader into the heart of a magical government where sparks of dissent may be even more deadly than the dark eyes.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published September 1, 2014

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About the author

Eleanor Glewwe

5 books24 followers
Eleanor Glewwe was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Maryland and Minnesota, with a brief interlude in Paris. She attended Swarthmore College, where she majored in Linguistics and Languages and worked in the music library. After graduating, she spent a year at an interfaith advocacy organization, working for social justice at the Minnesota legislature. She then spent six years in Los Angeles earning her Ph.D. in linguistics. In addition to being a writer, Eleanor is a musician and a folk dancer. She currently lives in Iowa, where she teaches linguistics at Grinnell College. Her debut novel SPARKERS, a middle grade fantasy, was published by Viking in 2014, and its companion WILDINGS came out in November 2016.

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5 stars
116 (27%)
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179 (42%)
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98 (23%)
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20 (4%)
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6 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 83 reviews
Profile Image for Brigid ✩.
581 reviews1,818 followers
January 1, 2015
I've known Eleanor Glewwe for a few years and have followed her journey of writing and publishing this book, so I'm really excited it's finally in print. And she was kind enough to send me a signed copy. :) (Also I'm in the acknowledgements, which is cool!)

Sparkers takes place in a fantasy world strictly divided by class, where magicians are the elite and the non-magician "sparkers" are the lower caste. But when a horrible plague starts spreading, Marah (a sparker) and Azariah (a magician) have to team up in order to find a cure.

I was impressed with the world-building in this book. It has a gritty atmosphere and a sense of realism that is often missing from high fantasy. I believed in this world. Their beliefs, caste system, language, and mythology were fleshed out very well. If magic really existed, I could see these class differences really happening. There's a lot of terminology to get used to and at times I got a bit confused as to which word meant what (although there is a glossary in the back, which helps!) and there was some political stuff that I'm not sure young readers would understand. But over all I appreciated how well-developed the world was.

I liked the characters and believed in their relationships with each other. And it's cool that there are empathetic characters on both "sides"––that is, both the sparkers and the magicians.

The plot is not really "action-packed" but it's still very compelling, as Marah and Azariah race to find a cure with the risk that some of their loved ones might not survive.

In general, a very well-written fantasy with a unique and interesting world, likable characters, and an engaging plot. :)
Profile Image for Amy.
1,282 reviews4 followers
October 22, 2014
As a children's librarian, I try to read as much children's fiction as I can in order to assist the little darlings when they come to me for readers advisory. I love children's fiction, especially the fantasy genre, so I was excited to start Sparkers which had a lot of promising buzz about it.

I only read the first 80 or so pages and have decided to stop. It is a very well written novel (make sure you give this to a high-level middle school reader)but it was failing spectacularly to hold my attention. I just couldn't seem to care about this young woman or feel the sense of impending doom that I think is coming to her life.

I read enough to realize that this is a book for a tween who doesn't mind a more methodical fantasy and does not need a lot of action at the beginning. Apparently, I do.
Profile Image for Miss Clark.
2,552 reviews200 followers
June 29, 2015
3 - 3.5 stars

One of those "magical plague books" where they have to determine the cause and cure if they want to save everyone, including beloved younger siblings.

Marah is our lead, a bright young girl and a budding virtuoso violinist. She loves her mother and her little brother Caleb dearly. They are all Sparkers/Halani, the downtrodden half of their society, held in contempt by the magicians who control everything. Marah is immensely likable, her struggles clear and relatable. Her love for her little brother is what inspires her to take incredible risks. She misses her father and blames herself for not being able to save him. The Sparkers get flashes of insight and warning, but not always a clear idea of how or what, so Marah was too late to save her father, but is very careful to mind her intuition this time, which warns her to keep her discoveries about the illness away from the government.

When a strange illness appears, striking down sparker and magician alike, Marah finds help in the form of Azariah, the son of affluent immigrant magicians. He is the brother of a little girl Marah saved in the square during a violent disturbance who surprisingly seeks her out and invites her for dinner. Together, with access to rare old records and their own skill with langauges, the two are able to determine what the illness is and how to cure it. Our two leads come from very different backgrounds, but forge a solid (and I imagine lasting) friendship with one another during the course of their shared research and difficulties.

They have to go on the run to make the cure due to betrayal from someone they thought they could trust. With the government after them so that it can take over sole control of the creation and distribution of the cure, Marah and Azariah are too late to save family and friends. Azariah's little sister dies, as does Marah's best friend. Their grief and pain is real and affects them deeply. Thankfully, Caleb is cured.

The showdown with their politicians was chilling. Marah offers the cure to their bitterest opponent to save his life, hoping it will change how he views her and her people. That perhaps her act of mercy can help him to see them as people. Instead, he strikes her down and orders the cure be given only to the magicians. Ultimately, he and his cronies are defeated, and there is reform in the government as the story draws to its close. The evil of this man and all those who thought like him caused the deaths of thousands, and for Marah and Azariah, it meant the loss of her father, her best friend and his little sister. There is hope for the future of Ashara, thanks to the bravery and trust of Marah and Azariah.

The worldbuilding and politics were well done. They added depth and purpose to the narrative without overshadowing it and slowing the pace. It is a new world and culture, but with the familiar issue of race and genetic purity permeating its society at every level. The magicians planned for centuries in order to be able to wipe out the sparkers. They intentionally suppressed the spells that eradicated the "bad magic" (to forego the technical terms), knowing it would result in a plague. They imagined they could use the cure for themselves, but lost it due to fire and accident. They sought to elevate themselves to a supposed genetic purity in their bloodlines so they could reestablish stronger magical talent and forever rid themselves of the weaker sparkers, whom they viewed as a drag on their resources. Merely because they lacked magical talent, the magicians saw them as unworthy of life. They did not even consider a forced exodus or some other non-violent method of ridding themselves of their hated fellow Asharans. Once we begin to see another person as less than us for any reason it becomes easy to regard them as disposable.

It starts off a bit slow, but it was quite good. Well worth a read.

I appreciated the lack of romance between our protagonists immensely! Marah is only 14, Azariah a bit older.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Magen.
786 reviews31 followers
January 25, 2020
3.5 star I was hooked into the story right away and was eager to figure out the plot. There wasn't a ton of character growth, but the narrator had depth, which added to the enjoyment of the book. It's rare I say this, but I would enjoy there being another book in this world. While the story wrapped up, there's much there to work with for a sequel.
5 reviews
August 4, 2021
Fourteen-year-old Marah is talented in languages and music, but her social class is desperately poor. She has no magical ability – unlike the elite governing class– and little chance of a future career. Then a deadly disease breaks out in her city and Marah must watch while others around her die. But when Mara forges an alliance with the rich boy Azariah, they unravel the clues to the plague in a banned book of forgotten language. And in its pages, they discover a secret even more dangerous than the plague.
Now they’re on the run.
Sparkers was such a gripping read that I borrowed it several times from the library to reread before buying a copy to keep. The world building was effortless, the characters believable and likable, and the plot was beautifully layered. Under the surface it’s quite a political story, tackling issues of social change, corruption in government, friendship, truth and justice. The magical stuff is really just a natural part of the story world and not a major feature in itself, so I wouldn’t describe the story as high fantasy. I’m glad I read it. I wish that I had written it.
Recommended for 12+
Profile Image for Parker.
25 reviews3 followers
March 15, 2015
Marah’s world is a place where magic resides, but also things like automobiles. Her world is where two kinds of people live.

Kasiri are people who can use magic, and they rule over the halani, the people who are unable to use magic.

Marah is a halan, and in her city-state, Ashara, kasiri treat halani unfairly.

One day a mysterious plague starts up in Ashara. This plague has an unusual warning sign, the dark eyes, where someone’s eyes turn completely black. When a person notices someone has the dark eyes, they know that person won’t live for very long.

A friendship between a kasir and a halan is uncommon. But Marah makes friends with Azariah. For fun they decipher a forbidden book telling about an ancient civilization. They discover something that could put an end to the plague, and then that’s when the kasiri government comes after them for an unknown reason.

When I first read the summary of Sparkers, I didn’t know if I was interested or not. But when I started reading it, I was addicted to it. I loved that there was a twist in this book, and it was a twist that wanted me to keep reading it.

There is a part in this book where the halani stand up to the kasiri aggressively, and it kind of reminded me of the Civil Rights Movement. I feel people would live a lot easier if they lived together equally. In the end, the Civil Rights Movement turns out successful. In the end of the book, you cannot tell if the halani and kasiri live together equally, but I think they have a high chance.

If the author wanted to write a sequel to Sparkers, she could. But this book ended in a way that another one isn’t needed. I really hope there will be a sequel, because Sparkers is a five star book.
Profile Image for Mara.
Author 10 books265 followers
December 14, 2014
Wonderful story with a satisfying ending and characters that matter (and suffer). I was completely absorbed into the imaginary world of Ashara. My only problem was the overabundance of names and titles, which could be confusing and sometimes took my focus away from the story-- and it is an excellent story. Highly recommend.
267 reviews4 followers
February 27, 2016
After a few disappointing reads where I was clearly not the target audience, I feel like this is a book that was written for me. (Thanks, author!) A smart female lead, ancient languages, music, and magic... seriously, I couldn't put it down.
Profile Image for Anita.
963 reviews11 followers
December 15, 2019
I'm always on the lookout for great middle grade science-fiction or fantasy that incorporates musical elements, string instruments are a bonus, and this duology has both!

Marah lacks magic, but she's a budding violinist in the city of Ashara, where the magical (kasir) and non-magical (halan or sparker) are segregated and prejudice against the non-magical runs rampant.

She saves a young magical girl, Sarah Rashid. Sarah treats Marah with none of the stereotypical racism or hatred of her elders and gets Marah to tell her a story. Marah doesn't finish, so Leah invites her to her house the next day, and Marah meets Sarah's brother, Azariah. He's trying to decipher a text in a language, Hagramet, he's never seen before, but Marah has. In fact, she knows some of it, and helps him to start translating it.

At the same time, a disease hits. It kills Sparkers and Kasir alike. The Council promises it is working on a cure, but as Azariah and Marah translate the book (it's a book of spells) they quickly discover it may hold the key to a cure to the disease. Because it's not a disease at all, but a side-effect of the kind of magic the kasir have been doing for decades, and it's finally built up to toxic levels.

I won't give away the ending, just know this was an exquisitely crafted book, and all the musical references (particularly to the violin) rang true!

Visit my blog for more great middle grade book recommendations, free teaching materials and fiction writing tips: http://amb.mystrikingly.com/
Profile Image for Niffer.
738 reviews16 followers
May 20, 2019
I enjoy reading children's books, and firmly believe that a well written book should be appealing to any age reader, even if intended audience is younger. Unfortunately this is one of those books that just doesn't hold up. I can see that it might appeal to younger readers, but it just really failed for me.

Much of what bothered me has been mentioned by other reviewers. There were a lot of coincidences and a lot of things that just kind of fell into the main character's lap. But I think the biggest thing that bothered me was the halfhearted world-building. The characters live in an obviously fictional world, with its own social structure, political issues, mysterious illnesses, etc. But then they drove cars, the one character lost his hearing due to meningitis, the main character played the violin, there was electricity and gas in the houses--??? Technically I suppose they weren't really anachronisms, as this was a fictional world, but it felt as jolting to me as an anachronism in historical fiction. It just felt wrong to me to have those things in the story. And that on top of the stiff writing and coincidences all over the place just didn't work for me.

If I were a less mature reader, I probably would have been less bothered. I could see this book appealing to certain readers. It just failed for me.
June 26, 2017
Real rating: 3.75 stars (Or something...)
Wow. I liked this book way more than I expected to. Ashara and its people were so well-crafted, the story was wonderful, and the characters were exceptional as well. AWESOME! It would be cool if there was a sequel, but this might be one of those books that would be completely fine without one.
Also, on a COMPLETELY random (and wholly geeky) note...David kind of reminded me of...
...Director Krennic.


I often found myself reading his lines in Krennic’s voice, which made reading them way too enjoyable...
God, I’m such a nerd.
Profile Image for Melinda Brasher.
Author 12 books34 followers
February 4, 2018
I love the setting and the world-building and the characters in Sparkers.

I actually read the sequel first, and I admit I liked Wildings more, but I still really enjoyed this. I did find some aspects of the Sparkers plot hard to believe—mostly on the part of the councilors. I really admire the way the Wildings plot was so exciting and socially important and world-changing...without violence. There's more violence in Sparkers. However, it's not as bad as some similar books.

Eleanor Glewwe's writing itself is also very good: smooth and engaging.

There are some very nice social messages here that don't come across as preachy.

A great book. I will certainly read more by this author.
Profile Image for Lynn.
464 reviews6 followers
March 15, 2021
A well-written plot, especially relevant in these times of Covid-19.

The focus on class segregation is very well presented and the author very cleverly does not fall into the trap of creating a victim mentality in any of the characters; thankfully there is also a complete lack of the racial hysteria that is so prevalent nowadays. The narrative has a strong eastern Europe flavour, with dark undertones of the Polish ghettos; this is further emphasised by the use of Jewish names. There is heartbreak as well as triumph, and I found the book impossible to put down.

This is suitable reading for all ages.

Profile Image for Shyla Colt.
Author 162 books966 followers
January 14, 2018
Glewwe has built a rich world full of magic , casts, and consequences. Marah is a Sparker, a non magic pre-teen. A member of a lower class, she leads a hard Scrabble life with her younger brother , Caleb, her violin a few friends and books as bright spots.

As she approaches her exams which will determine her future , things change. Unexpected changes in her life and a plague turn life as she knew it upside down. I liked Mara. She was brave, intelligent, and kind when she easily could've let circumstances harden her heart.

This quick paced magical mystery was an enjoyable read.
Profile Image for YuJa.
33 reviews2 followers
December 26, 2019
This book is AMAZING. Maybe it's just me but I like books where characters are prejudiced against and eventually they fight through the hardship to reveal such a beautiful ending. Marah is a very strong-headed girl who knows what she's doing to help her family. She puts her loved ones before the difference between class in society when she befriended Azariah, a rich magician boy. Truly, she took action for the cure her friend needed, and it's her determination that made this book so well-written.
December 20, 2019
Very good, very gripping. I wanted more worldbuilding, but in general, I just want to dive in and start exploring any new, compelling world.
The names and the culture made me think very strongly of prejudice in early 20th century Russia, between the Jewish population and the Russian people. I'm not sure if that is what the author was going for, but if so, props to her. I loved diving into that culture.
Profile Image for Chloe 文琪.
279 reviews3 followers
March 11, 2021
Just came back from an insane fantasy book, and wow, this was a neat read!
I found Marah and Azariah charming. The setting and concepts were nicely presented.

Although I enjoyed everything in this book, I feel like there were missed opportunities. The toxic dynamic between the kasiri and the halani could’ve been explored more. It would’ve made the foundation of the story a lot stronger, and the ending more impactful. For the most part, the book was predictable.

Still, wonderful story!
Profile Image for ⚜️Krithika⚜️.
33 reviews26 followers
June 6, 2017
It was a great action-packed book filled with intrigue, magic, and twists and turns. The main characters go on adventures together and discover the powers of magicians and the lost art of magic. This book will be remembered for years to come. I recommend it for ages 11-14. Fantasy-lovers will enjoy this book.
Profile Image for Krishna patel.
115 reviews1 follower
September 15, 2020
I enjoyed reading this to my girls for their bedtime story during the last few weeks. It touches on a lot of important topics that would be great to discuss with older kids in relation to what is currently going on and how it applies.
Profile Image for Zander.
11 reviews
June 21, 2020
The plot and the characters were wonderful and the delivery was phenomenal. I think I just read this book during the wrong time, seeing as there is a pandemic going on.
7 reviews
January 9, 2021
Loved the story. Well written, red it in 2 days, couldn't put it down.
37 reviews1 follower
February 3, 2021
I really loved this book. I thought the descriptive writing was wonderful, and I could envision the characters in my mind's eye. I couldn't put it down. The ending was so inspiring.
245 reviews10 followers
January 20, 2022
Marah and Azariah's friendship across the classes as well as their dedication to stopping the wide-spreading illness is all the reason you'll need to pick up this beautiful stand-alone fantasy novel.
Profile Image for Kathy Cunningham.
Author 4 books9 followers
August 10, 2014
Eleanor Glewwe’s SPARKERS is set in a world divided by racial prejudice and intolerance. The city-state Ashara is ruled by the kasiri, who are powerful magicians, able to shoot sparks of magic from their hands. The “halani,” on the other hand, are non-magical, and are thus scorned and ridiculed – the kasiri call the halini “Sparkers,” an ironic slur meant to highlight their lack of magical ability. In this society, the kasiri hold all the power – they make up the ruling Assembly, they hold all the good jobs, and they make all the money. The halini are relegated to crowded slums where they struggle to make a life for their families. Fourteen-year-old Marah Levi is halani – she loves to decipher languages, including ancient ones that have become lost to her people. She’s also a violin virtuoso with dreams of winning a place at a coveted music school. When Marah assists a young kasiri girl who is lost in the market, she meets the girl’s family, including her brother Azariah (who’s also into ancient languages). When a deadly plague breaks out, affecting kasiri and halani alike, the only hope for a cure might lie in a rare book that only Marah and Azariah know exists. Can they decipher the book in time to save Ashara, or will racism and bigotry doom them all?

This is a rather somber book, with a very heavy message. The political structure of Ashara can be compared to any number of real-life racial conflicts, including whites and blacks in America, Jews and gentiles in the mid-twentieth century, and even Israelis and Palestinians today. Azariah’s family, while kasiri and thus magical, are also “liberal” in their belief that a better relationship between kasiri and halani would be beneficial for Ashara – they favor integrated schools, and even the possibility of a halani role in government. But, as Marah comes to realize, “It’s not enough to have liberal-minded kasiri on our side. We need out own voice.” And it’s that voice that she and Azariah are fighting for as they work to find the cure for the plague. Unfortunately, while Azariah’s family is sympathetic, many more powerful kasiri are not. Marah and Azariah are threats to the racial purity the kasiri value above all else, and thus their search for the cure is very dangerous.

SPARKERS is being marketed as a Middle Grade book, aimed at readers aged 10-14. While the prose is appropriate for that age group, I do wonder whether the tone and pace of the story would appeal to young readers. There’s absolutely no humor in this novel, and little emotional content. Marah and Azariah, both fourteen, do become friends, but there’s little hint of either romance or real affection between them. Marah does love her brother, Caleb, and her best friend Leah, but neither relationship is particularly well developed. This is definitely a plot-driven novel, with its dark and sobering message coming through loud and clear – as Marah puts it, “we sit in the semidarkness, contemplating the unfathomable depths of the world’s injustice.” That’s exactly what this novel is all about – “the unfathomable depths of the world’s injustice” – and we are all in “semidarkness,” Glewwe suggests, until that injustice can be conquered.

Another problem for young readers might be the role of magic in this novel. While it sounds exciting that the kasiri are all magicians, able to cast spells and shoot sparks from their fingers, this is no Harry Potter! Glewwe is not much interested in the magical aspects of her story – yes, Azariah and his family can cast spells, but this is such a small part of the story that it’s easy to forget it’s even there. Magic is used here primarily as a means of dividing the kasiri and the halani, and since the kasiri (for the most part) are the bad guys, their magic is never shown as fantastical or exciting. And that’s too bad.

I admire Glewwe’s message here, and as an adult I appreciate the extent to which she explores the evils of racism and intolerance. I just never felt particularly close to any of the characters, and it was a bit of a stretch for me to accept two teenagers as the only ones who could find the cure to a mysterious and deadly disease. There is a “twist” at the end of the novel, revealed only in its final act, that attempts to make this part of the plot plausible; it’s only partially successful.

Bottom line, SPARKERS is a well-written Middle Grade novel with a very serious message. Had Glewwe spent a little more time developing her characters, and added some much-needed humor, I would have liked it better. As it is, it’s a good book with something important to say to young readers. And in that light, I do recommend it.

[Please note: I was provided a copy of this novel for review; the opinions expressed here are my own.]
Profile Image for Sam.
2,125 reviews31 followers
September 4, 2014
3.5, rounded to a four because I did have a lot of enjoyment with this story, but a few things rubbed me the wrong way.

Huge thank you to Razorbill CA/Viking Juvenile for this ARC

I knew zero about Sparkers going into it other than it was a middle grade fantasy adventure. However, having finished it, I feel like that is only a partial description. This book is incredibly dark for a middle grade read and it takes some very unexpected turns -- some that work incredibly well, and some that feel a touch awkward given the movement of the narrative.

First off, I loved that this story dealt with social justice issues and racism and made them such approachable topics for a middle grade audience. The moral choices and issues presented are very complex and rich without being overcomplicated or preachy. It helps, of course, that the novel is supported by a (mostly) excellent cast of characters.

Marah in particular, is vibrant, full of life and is someone with the desire to help others before herself. Although she's selfless, her fatal flaw is that she's very naive as well. She's a heroine I think a lot of readers regardless of age will appreciate simply because of the traits she possesses and how Glewwe weaves them into the story. Furthermore, I was surprised with the amount of death that occurs in the book, something that often feels uncommon in middle grade, and the deaths that did occur were very well done.

This book did take me awhile to get into, if only because it's a very slow burn and it needs to build its world and give just enough detail for the reader to be able to visualize it. However, sometimes I felt there was too little in terms of detail and I didn't always feel like I could visualize the world Glewwe was painting. The book also pulled a here's a villain in the last forty pages or so who is super evil and POOF! he's gone, which I did not like. It felt rushed and simply anti-climatic, even though the twist surrounding said character was pretty solid. I think after the twist I was just expecting more than I got, making the ending feel a little cop outtish for me.

I think Sparkers is still a great debut middle grade novel and I think middle graders who love and dig fantasy will definitely find something to enjoy here. There's simplicity in the writing and the story is easy to follow. I really loved the social issues in this book and I think they were the strongest aspect of the story, along with the characters, and those two reasons alone do make Sparkers a worthwhile book to check out.
Profile Image for Venus.
499 reviews4 followers
February 3, 2015
Review originally posted on Children's Atheneum

The world-building in this story is fantastic. Rich histories, stories, poems, secrets, ruins, relationships, and cultures are all blended together to create a beautiful tapestry of a world that felt almost real. At times, because normal words like violin and cinnamon were used amongst a plethora of strange words, I kept trying to make the story fit into a future Earth narrative, but eventually I gave up. This world is its own.

This is definitely a dark tale, showing the very worst of humanity. There are political asides and alliances, integration, racial purity, prejudice, death. Although the cover and ages of the characters may seem like a middle grade book, I would argue that in tone as well as pacing, this lends itself much more to a young adult novel.

Although I loved the world the story was set in as well as the fact that the plot was not predictable, which is always a relief, the characterizations were a bit lacking. Marah's relationship with her school friends and her best friend were, at times, puzzling. I was surprised that at 13, although she is so aware of this world around her, she and her friends didn't really speak of it much. She acts surprised by talks of rebellion when things have clearly reached a saturation point. You can only treat people so badly for so long before they begin to push back. Her relationship with Azariah also felt a bit muddled. There is a hint of love in the air, but this only makes Marah distance herself emotionally from Azariah, all while building a very deep life-threatening friendship with him. The two were a dichotomy that didn't work. The two most emotional scenes in the book for me involved the breaking of a violin which upsets me because I am a violinist and the second from a secondary character we meet at the very end. There are, of course, many deaths, but they were more expected and therefore less jarring.

This, in the end though, is a plot-driven story and what a plot it is. There is terrible darkness within some of humanity and Glewwe brings it to the surface, on display for all to see. It is heavy, with little humor to break up the terribleness, but it isn't bad. In fact, I have found myself thinking about it over and over since I read it. What the story lacks in characterization, it has made up for in though-provoking social commentary.
Profile Image for Barbie.
2 reviews
January 11, 2015

A very strange illness is turning people’s eyes black. Sparkers is definitely one of those books I was not able to put down until I finished it completely. This book is marketed at middle school readers and has definitely satisfied me. The novel’s plot, setting and characters are well written, thoughtful and unique.

The book is a mysterious and adventurous fantasy novel written by Eleanor Glewwe. Sparkers definitely is not a book written for humor or romance, but instead to take you on a mysterious adventure with the main characters Marah and Azariah. These two teenagers do what no one else in the city of Ashara could do. They discover the cure to a strange but fatal illness known as the dark eyes. They also unravel truths about their government and its plans.

The novel is set in a world full of magic. Those with the ability to do magic are known as the Kasiri. On the other hand, those who cannot do magic are known as the Halani or Sparkers. This story takes place in the magical city of Ashara where people like Marah are considered lower class if they are not born with magical abilities.

The story is written in first person from the perspective of marah, making a Azariah and his family a mystery that is soon unraveled. Marah's character is very beautifully written and i fell in love with her immediately. She is clever, smart, kind and a gifted violinist. She has also learned many different languages including the forbidden language of Hagram. Azariah, although a wealthy magician boy, is not like other Kasirs and befriends Marah even after knowing her low class.

Overall in my personal opinion, Sparkers is an easy and enjoyable read. I would definitely recommend this book to middle school students that take an interest in books about adventure and mystery. The novels twists keep the pages turning. This novel will almost surely attract readers ages ten to fourteen. The characters in this book are very well written and thoughtful. The setting is a big part of what makes this novel so unique and interesting. The plot is easy to understand and contains many surprises. Believe me, this is one book that you will not want to end.

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