Friday, November 13, 2020

Book Review | SPARK AND THE LEAGUE OF URSUS by Robert Repino

by Robert Repino
Publication: April 21, 2020
Publisher: Quirk Books
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy
Rating: ★★★½

Spark is not your average teddy bear. She’s soft and cuddly, sure, but she’s also a fierce warrior. At night she fulfills her sacred duty: to protect the household from monsters. But Spark’s owner Loretta is growing up and thinks she doesn’t need her old teddy anymore.

When a monster unlike any other descends on the quiet home, everything changes. Children are going missing, and the monster wants Loretta next. Only Spark can stop it. She must call upon the ancient League of Ursus—a secret alliance of teddy bears who are pledged to protect their human friends. Together with an Amazon-princess doll and a timid sock monkey, the bears are all that stands between our world and the one that lies beneath. It will be a heroic chapter in the history of the League . . . if the bears live to tell the tale. -Publisher

Through Sir Reginald, Spark learned all about the League of Ursus. And with her mentor to train her, she had the confidence and readiness any protector should have. But the monster that appeared in Loretta’s bedroom is something different altogether. It comes in the night, while the kids are sleeping, crawling from the darkest corner of the room. It has a distinct power to open portals in different locations and cancel all the sounds in any place it occupies. And while most monsters only feed on their prey’s fear, this one drags them away where no one has gone before.

Robert Repino gave life to a story most kids hold on to -that their teddy bears are more than just toys -they are loyal companions. Bears serve. Bears watch. Bears Protect. Always and forever. Spark knows the oath by heart, and she means to do everything to protect Loretta, her dusa. The very premise raised plenty of questions. How did the teddy bears realize that they are protectors? Instead of addressing it, the story chose to focus on the deep love these bears have for their humans until their final light, on kids standing strong for their siblings, that friendship matter, that being afraid is not cowardice, and that compassion should still rule at the end of the day.

SPARK AND THE LEAGUE OF URSUS has enough scare and challenges to entertain its middle-grade audience. A perfect read for Friday the 13th. Spark is the kind of friend kids would like to have. Also, Matthew and Loretta’s motto is something everyone should hear – “Keep dreaming, and keep trying!”

Book #2, Spark and the Grand Sleuth, is out on March 23, 2021.


About the Author:

Robert Repino is the author of Mort(e), Culdesac, and D’Arc, which make up the critically acclaimed War with No Name series (Soho Press). He holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College and teaches at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop. He lives in New York City where he works as an editor at an academic publisher. This is his middle-grade debut. Robert had two special teddy bears when he was growing up: Bear and Blue Bear.

*Thanks to Quirk Books for the printed copy in exchange for this unbiased review.
*This post is a part of the monthly linkups organized by Lovely Audiobooks! You can click here to check it out and be a part of it.


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