Mr Sparks

By Danny Weston

1. Angelika: I enjoyed the book “Mr Sparks” as it was a very original story and had a very interesting plot over all. The characters in the book all had a small description the first time they’re mentioned making you want to continue reading the book to find out more about the characters and their surroundings.

My favourite character is Mr Sparks / Charlie as he was not your typical mischievous villain who just wants to kill the main character but instead makes people trust him and get used to his evil personality and make them think it’s just a ‘bad trait’ so they don’t turn him away which I found interesting as it seems most books I read the villain has the same kind of backstory, personality and goal.

Although I didn’t understand what the history aspect of this book was, the book was still interesting and did teach me what a ventriloquist was and had me looking into the subject more as it interested me, which makes me want to learn more about the history of who invented things such as dummies and who was the first famous ventriloquist was etc.

This book made me want to look into what other books this author has written because it seems he has very original and enticing storylines, plots and characters and I don’t like reading very repetitive stories with similar characters as it bores me and I also don’t like very long books because most long books give away most of the story in the first 150 pages and there is no point in reading the rest  and I just don’t have the time but most short stories end in a plot twist or something similar to that and aren’t too detailed leaving you wondering.

I would recommend this book to someone who doesn’t have much time on their hands but like to read and would like to read a short, original story.

2. Jacob: Mr Sparks is unusual type f book but all the same as any other book in the quality of writing. It is a bizarre story and uses subversion particularly well to create an unexpected plot with twists and turns right to the end. One of my favourite scenes was the last (major) scene at the lake where the story takes an ironic ending. The story resembles and old post-WW1 England and uses the customs of witchcraft well in creating contrasting views about Mr Sparks to keep the reader reading. I could find no other flaws apart from the fact that Owen’s fathers scar was a little too severe and major to result in just amnesia. Probably being hit by a piece of shrapnel would alter his face at least or certainly kill him. Other than that, the book made me want to read more books by Danny Weston which I look forward to doing.

3. Molly: I did not like this book. The puppet thing creeped me out too much and it meant I didn't want to read any more. I would read others books by the author because the writing was good but nothing involving creepy puppets please.

4. Gabriel:  Mr Sparks is a very intriguing, exciting book that was written by famous author Danny Weston, who recently won the Older Readers (12-16 yrs) category at the Scottish Children's Book Awards 2016, with his book 'The Piper'. Mr Sparks is about a young boy (Owain) who's father had gone missing in the Great War, so is left to live with his cruel, cold hearted aunt in her small seaside hotel, wishing everyday that he could leave. There in the hotel, Owain meets  a mysterious ventriloquist who appears to have a dummy he calls 'Mr Sparks'. Owain soon finds out that the dummy can really talk on his own - and he's looking for a new, young puppet master. But Owain soon discovers, while on his journey with Mr Sparks, that Mr Sparks really had a dark, twisted past...

I loved reading Mr Sparks, as the book seems to keep you clinging on to the pages, wanting to find out what will happen next to Mr Sparks, or to Owain. I think the author has really laid out all of Owain's dilemmas very well, also making the reader think about what the best solution will be, and what the consequences could be for Owain's choices.

Mr Sparks is based in Wales, just after the Great War. Unfortunately, it has little to no historic resemblance in the book, only briefly talking about the Knight's Templar (Around 4-5 pages on it). Therefore, it hasn't really encouraged me at all to lessen more about the time period.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has time to read it. I think this is a book mostly targeting people 10-18, as it is quiet a lengthy book, and a lot of older people might find the story and idea of this book as 'childish and 'unrealistic'.

Overall, I think Mr Sparks is one of the best books I have ever read, as it keeps me up all night reading the book, excited about what's going to happen next.

5. Anon: This novel is set in 1919 and it is about a boy named Owen who lives with his cruel aunt in wales. His aunt owns a hotel and treats him as almost a slave. One day a man arrives with this doll but it no ordinary doll, it is a disturbing and haunting one.

This book has a dark theme to it and as the plot unravels we learn more about the doll and the rest of the characters. It is thrilling and i would recommend it to people who enjoy darker books. Also it’s an easy read with not too many pages and a good size font. I enjoyed the time that it was set in and the history was realistic. I would also read this author again.

6. Olivia: When I was reading Mr Sparks it wasn’t just like reading a normal book, to me it was like entering a new world. Whilst reading Mr Sparks I was creating an image in my head, almost as if I was directing my own movie, just with the help of the description of characters, scenes and the overall atmosphere of the situation. I really enjoyed this book because of these reasons in particular. 1) Every page I read made me want to continue reading, 2) I enjoyed the way the Author described the characters, this made me change my prejudice of the characters depending on how he would describe them, this also developed my understanding of the character and helped me create an image of the character in my head. E.g. “He wore a thick tweed suit and a small bowler hat was perched precariously on his rather large head.” Just by reading this I can analyse that he was quite smart looking, and he wore a small bowler hat that was almost falling of his large head.                                                                            

A particular character that I liked was Mr Sparks, the main character. I like Mr Sparks because although he was not the nicest he was very clever. He could manipulate people (such as Owen and Mr Schilling) to do whatever he wanted them to do. He would make promises that he would never keep and he would use his painful past as an excuse not to kill him. Not only can he manipulate people but he can also mysteriously kill people without leaving a single trace behind, and somehow bring back memories to those who can’t remember them. That is why I like Mr Sparks, because he is not all good, but not completely bad either. He always grabs my interest and always leaves me wondering, out of all the characters in the book, he is the only one who I can’t image how he sounds, how he looks without looking at the front cover, and how on earth he is able to do the things he does.       

I thought the history in the book was very realistic. The way that the Author describes the scenes makes me imagine what it was like back in the 1900s, it makes me interested in how many things have changed/developed over the last century. “Now they were in a small workshop, a place that smelt of the delicious scent of freshly carved wood. Shavings crunched like autumn leaves under Owen’s feet and from the walls hung tools of every description – saws, chisels, hammers, planes. From the rafters hung a selection of wooden toys in various stages of construction.” Just by reading this passage has made me think that still to this day we still use tools like: saws, chisels, hammers and planes for various reasons, such as for construction and woodworks. However, it is unlikely nowadays to see wooden toys, as we have developed our resources to things like plastic, rubber, metal, etc. We have also developed our technique and understanding of the process in making toys. This book has made me more interested in finding out about more history. This book has lead me to believe that still to this day we are still using objects that were used in the 1900s, and there are some traditions that we have still kept for many years. This Is fascinating to me and has intrigued me to learn more about history.                       

Personally I think this book is fantastic, I love Danny Weston’s style of writing and how he really captures the reader’s attention. This has urged me to read more books by Danny Weston and has encouraged myself to write more like him. I hope that one day I will write a book similar to this one as it has been my longing dream. This book has inspired me to do and discover many things. When you have a chance to read this book, try and enter the world that I once was in, and think about all the things in this book than can improve your writing skills, and remember, never judge a book by its cover.

7. Maksymillian: Mr Sparks is very gripping book. You do not want to stop reading the novel once you have started. It is based upon religion with the crusaders, which takes history to a whole new level. It features mind blowing and shocking moments, which takes you a while to release what has just happened as there is surprise everywhere. I personally love how the author removed Owen’s father’s memory only to have it unexpectedly come back. Mr Sparks is amazing with aweing powers and fluent in all languages along with other amazing surprises.

I will not spoil it for you though, but revealing all the twists and turns, you will have to travel back to the First World War and go to his creepy world yourself! I would definitely recommend this book as it is a gripping story based during a time where the world was going through such a change. I would like to read more books by Danny Weston.

8. Jacob: Mr sparks is an enjoyable fiction story that is based during the Great War. The story is based on a ventriloquists’ doll called Mr Sparks that has come to life. One day a teenaged boy called Owen comes across him and takes on the challenge of caring for him. But there is a man that believes that the doll is evil and is on the chase of Owen and his new friend Mr Sparks. I think that Mr Sparks is a very good adventure book that is very unique. But the book had a very slow start and it took a while to get into the book, although it is very exciting once you get into the book. Mr Sparks was very fictional and contained very little history. It only mentioned the Great War vaguely.

Overall, I would give this book three out of five because it was an enjoyable book to read but there wasn’t enough history in it for it to be a historical novel.

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