Bone: Quest for the Spark by Tom Sniegoski & Jeff Smith

Bone: Quest for the Spark
by Tom Sniegoski & Jeff Smith
ISBN-13: 9780545141024
Rating: 3.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it

Something evil has poisoned the Dreaming and is now invading the Waking World. As the darkness spreads, the people of the Valley – even Queen Thorn – are caught in the grip of nightmares, and it’s up to one boy to save them all.

Twelve-year-old Tom Elm has spent his life turnip farming, but he’s always felt destined for something greater. When his fmaily falls into a dangerous sleep, Tom, along with Roderick the raccoon, teams up with three lost explorers from Boneville, Percival Bone and his nephew and niece. Together with a Veni Yan warrior, a mysterious shape-shifting woman, and two stupid Rat Creatures, this mismatched group sets out on a quest to find the lost pieces of the Spark. Without its vanquishing light, Tom’s family – and the entire valley – might never wake up again.

I first heard of the Bone books when I worked in a bookstore two years ago. Kids and parents would come into the store all the time looking for them, and I heard numerous stories about how they were wonderful and perfect for reluctant readers (it’s the pictures, you know). Surprisingly, I never picked one up to read and have still not read any of the Bone books – until now.

Quest for the Spark is different from the original Bone books in that it’s primarily a novel with pictures spaced throughout, while the others had been graphic novels. However, I think any fans of the original series won’t mind the change, and highly enjoy the new addition to the Bone family. The book is most definitely the first in a series – it sets up the plot, characters and setting to be continued in the next books. We are introduced to our main character Tom and his friend Roderick the raccoon right off the bat. As the story continues, the other main players are added into the mix: the Bones, Percival, Abbey and Barclay, the Veni Yan Randolf, Lorimar and two rat creatures. We only get initial introductions to them all in this first book, though more-so for Tom and Roderick. I’m thinking we’ll get deeper into their characters as we go along.

The plot was set up well, with a lot of discovery and creepy dream sequences – it was pretty neat, actually. There is quite a bit of action that will keep the reader interested and on the edge of their seats, and the story seems to be setting up for a nice personal-discovery story for Tom. He’s a young boy, but I’m betting that he’ll do a lot of growing over the course of his quest.

I’m sure I would have enjoyed the story more if I had read the previous Bone books, just so I knew the world even a little bit, but the story can be read and understood without any previous experience with Bone. Previous fans will undoubtedly enjoy this new addition, and I highly recommend it to young readers; I know a couple of my grade twos would just devour it!

Thank you to Scholastic Canada for sending me a copy to review!