Book Review: “Spark and the League of Ursus” by Robert Repino

There’s nothing quite like a middle grade novel to comfort me after a difficult read. I needed a teddy bear, and Spark was there for me. Now I want to share her with all of you.

I received a little care package from Quirk a couple weeks ago, containing this book and some treats. Quirk is one of my favorite publishers and has been for quite some time now. I’m grateful for the books that they send me for review, and honestly would buy (and do buy) many of their titles regardless.

I started Spark after reading Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, because I needed something comfortable to read. Spark really came through here; it’s an adventure full of teddy bears that are here to protect their human dusa (best friend). Spark is Loretta’s teddy bear, and the book starts the first night Loretta sees a monster.

Well, Loretta doesn’t really see the monster. But she feels something off, and Spark sees the monster. When Spark tries to banish it, the monster just laughs her off. Luckily, it seems like a bit of a reconnaissance mission, and the monster leaves after it wakes Loretta. Spark is worried, and when she tries to contact Loretta’s brother’s bea, she doesn’t hear back from him.

Loretta’s brother disappears. While Loretta thinks that he went looking for their mutual friend who had also gone missing, Spark knows he was taken by the monster. Spark has to band together toys to get the brother back and keep Loretta safe.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

This book is touted as Toy Story meets Stranger Things, and I can truly vouch for that. There is dimension travel, talking toys, and adventure. I think specifically, that it feels like Toy Story 3 mixed with the dimension-hopping of Stranger Things. It’s a neat and fun combination.

Overall, I really loved this book. While I was reading it, I was thinking of a friend whose daughter will absolutely love this book. It has darkness in it’s adventure, but is beautiful and a bit emotional. Plus the final battle is truly epic.

Obviously, I am not the intended audience for Spark and the League of Ursus; it’s a middle grade novel, which means it is written and edited for readers 8 – 12. As a 27 year old, that’s not me. But I can definitely appreciate the adventure and excitement while keeping the book from being too much for younger readers.

When I said that Spark was the teddy bear I needed, I meant it. I had just finished Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, which contains some triggering scenes. While I really enjoyed that book, I needed something warm to cuddle up with afterwards, and that was Spark. I found this book to be incredibly comforting, without coddling me.

After reading it, I gave this book to my friend. I really think it’s a fantastic read for all ages, and I honestly think he will enjoy it just as much as his daughter. For everyone else, grab yourself a copy of Spark and the League of Ursus here! Spark was released on April 21, and I think it’ll provide comfort to all who read it. Plus, it’s the start of a series, so you may as well get on that train early!

Interested in what Emily is reading? You can check out her monthly reading wrap ups, or her Instagram for updates.

What is a book that you’re looking forward to being released? Leave it in the comments below!

Emily received this book to review from Quirk, but all opinions are her own.

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