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Rich Fantasy World | Book Review: Lark Rising by Sandra Waugh

Lark Rising is ideal for high fantasy lovers who don’t mind plots that get a bit derailed.

Book Review: Lark Rising by Sandra Waugh

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Lark Rising sandra waugh book review

Title & Author: Lark Rising (Guardians of Tarnec) by Sandra Waugh

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy – Magic, High Fantasy

Release Date: September 23, 2014

Series: Guardians of Tarnec #1

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

How I Got the Book: Bought


“Full of romance and nature magic, this debut fantasy is perfect for fans of Shannon Hale, Juliet Marillier, and Kristin Cashore.

Lark has foreseen two things—she will fall for a young man with sage green eyes,and he will kill her.

Sixteen-year-old Lark Carew is happiest close to home, tending her garden and gathering herbs for medicines. But when her Sight warns her that monsters called Troths will soon invade her village, Lark is summoned on a journey to seek help from the legendary Riders of Tarnec. Little does she suspect that one of the Riders, Gharain, is the very man who has haunted her visions. Or that the people of Tarnec have called her there for another reason: Lark is the Guardian of Life, the first of four Guardians who must awaken their powers to recover four stolen amulets. Together, the amulets—Life, Death, Dark, and Light—keep the world in Balance. To take back the Life amulet, Lark will have to discover her true inner strength and give in to a love that she swears will be her downfall. ”

High Fantasy, Low Results

Lark Rising is a tough book to review. I am falling more and more in love with high fantasy, so after reading a dystopia and a sci-fi book I decided to treat myself with this story.

I certainly got the romance and the rich fantasy world. Lark is a shy girl from a small town, a quiet, happy place. After an elder is found dead and his hand marked with a tell-tale mark of the Troths, the town decides someone must seek out the legendary Riders for help.

Things started out very well – Lark embarks on a journey to find the Riders and save her people. I liked Lark right away and felt tied to her progress.

So, with her prophecy in mind (see the full book description above), she meets the riders. Although I enjoyed the romance, it boarded on super awkward because Lark has had this vision, so she already knows she loves this one rider.

Which is basically insta-love. That became uncomfortable as I watched Lark sort of throw herself at the rider on a few different occasions.

I’ll take a break from this rant to say that I enjoyed the magic in this book. Lark is sensitive to people’s emotions and moods, and I thought the way it was portrayed was interesting and believable.

Ok, break over. Then there’s a “dark wood” with dark creatures. I’m so sorry but in fantasy books spanning time this trope has been DONE. Personal pet peeve alert.

More than halfway through a very-well paced book, Lark Rising comes to a crashing halt. This may be an accidental exaggeration, but it felt like at one point there was 15 pages devoted to this one very specific incident.

I kept turning the pages to discover the same topic was being talked and talked and talked about. STOP. It was waaaaay too much.

For me, this story’s annoyances added up and left me feeling disappointed.

Second opinions:

– “I was so excited for Lark Rising when I first heard about it, and I really wanted to like it. I tried hard to make that happen, but this heroine kept getting in my way.” – Love is Not a Triangle

– “Lark Rising hit all the right buttons for me, and I loved every moment I spent with it! For me it was the perfect balance of magic, fantasy and world-building.” – Book Swoon


The magic and premise of this book kept me going for most of the story, but the insta-love, the old tropes and the stop and start plot left me wanting more. If you’re a big lover of high fantasy, consider picking it up anyway, as the world created really is an interesting one. If you’re not a huge fantasy fan, then skip Lark Rising.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Beth

    Good to know- thanks! Instalove makes me throw books, so I’ll skip this one.