Book Review: Spark and the League of Ursus

This book write up intrigued me when I read it on NetGalley because it said a cross between Toy Story (which I love) and Stranger Things (which I also love). So I applied and Quirk Books gave me this book. It was a cute story that went in directions I didn’t expect. Keep reading for details. The top part of this post will be spoiler-free, but below the giant spoiler image, I’ll put an analysis that includes some spoiler-y details.

So this month seems to be all about videos! I made a book trailer for this book.

Spark and the League of Ursus

by Robert Repino
Quirk Books Publishing
192 Pages

I’ll let the Trailer speak for the description of the book.

I found this book a delightful mix of childish fun and serious courage. The story was paced well. I read it in only a few days. The characters were interesting and relatable.

The plot unexpected but not in a bad way. As an avid reader, I tend to be good at predicting where the story is headed. It did not always go where I expected, which is rather refreshing. (More on this below the spoiler image)

My one regret…because this book was an ARC, I got a proof copy which did not have illustrations. I really wish I could see those sometime.

Who will like this book?

I thought because of the Stranger Things comparison in the Goodreads description, that this might be too scary for littles. But it was not bad at all. I could see this as a parent read aloud for young children, maybe 8 years old if they have the patience to sit for a 192 page story.

I could also see kids up to preteen reading this and enjoying the story. As always it depends on the child. I have had 12 year olds that request books that have no blood, no swearing, and no realistic violence. They love a good clean story. This is that. It has enough secrets and intrigue to keep the reader engaged without horrifying violence.

One of my favorite quotes in the book is this:

“It does not matter who made us,” he said. “What matters is what we do now”

Spark and the League of Ursus by Robert Rupino

Only continue below if you don’t mind spoilers for this story.

Scroll down to find out what we can learn from this author (but that contains spoilers!)

Let’s talk.

Surprise Turn and Bitter-Sweet Endings

As I said above this story took turns I didn’t expect. Most of these came later in the book. When they started talking about bears with certain powers, I thought for sure that with the name Spark, this would be a bear with powers. Maybe he could zap the monster? But I applaud the author for taking a different route.

It would have been easy to give the MC these newly discovered powers to defend Loretta, but it was better that Repino had the MC win through sheer grit and determination. This gave it a more satisfying win because it was hard earned.

I also loved the bitter-sweet feeling at the end of this story with Sir Reginald going to the neighbor boy. Part of me is sad that he won’t be with Matthew anymore, but also Reginald is beginning a new adventure and is alive again. What is your favorite emotion for the end of books? Have you ever looked at your favorite books to examine how they created that feeling?

What can we learn from this author?

  • Magic is not the best answer! Magic (unless it comes at a heavy cost) is usually the easy way out of a situation and doesn’t give the reader a satisfying resolution to the problem.
  • Create a bitter-sweet ending by having a major character in the story move on to a different path to continue the story.