Today we’ll be looking at Spark by award-winning author Amy Kathleen Ryan. Spark is the second book in her Skychasers series (the first was Glow).
Let’s look at what Amy does to hook us on the first page of this novel.
Seth Ardvale wasn’t aware of what woke him; he only remembered the fading dream of the rumbling sound that shook his bones. He sat up on his lonely cot in the brig, deep in the bowels of the Empyrean, and rubbed his eyes. He listened for voices. Sometimes he could catch hints about what was going on from the chatter of his guards, but there was no sound at all.
This isolation was part of his punishment, along with the lights being kept on twenty-four hours a day. Seth had come to accept that it might be a very long time before he was out of the brig. If Kieran Alden stayed Captain of the Empyrean Seth might never get out.
Why It Works
Many of the books I’ve looked at on past First Page Fridays have started with character. This one starts more with a situation and a plot. We don’t know much about what kind of guy Seth is on the first page. But we do know almost immediately that something serious is going on. First, Seth remembers “the fading dream of a rumbling sound that shook his bones.” When someone is dreaming of a sound that shakes his bones, I have to wonder if perhaps it wasn’t a dream or if it’s a premonition of some kind.
Next we find out Seth is in solitary confinement on a ship, with the lights kept on 24 hours a day. What did he do? What’s going to happen to him? If we tie these questions to the title of the chapter – ESCAPE – then we can make an assumption that he’s going to get out. But how?
A good first page always raises questions and this one raises some big ones. Don’t you want to jump in and read more?