Book Review: Spark and the League of Ursus

Spark and the League of Ursus

“Bears serve. Bears watch. Bears Protect. Always and Forever.”

When I hear a book being touted as “Toy Story meets Stranger Things,” I’m going to give it a shot. The problem with comparisons though is that they are not always accurate, and thus they can be misleading. Not always, but in this particular instance I was certainly hoping for more than what I actually got.

SUMMARY: 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.

Safe. Simplistic. Bland. Meh.

Those are some of the words that come to mind when I think back on my reading of Spark. The further I get from it the more I feel disinterested by it. It’s not a bad book by any means. The writing is adept, the story structure is sound, the background lore is interesting, and the characters are fairly dynamic. Yet, I never found myself fully invested in it whilst reading. And I’m still struggling to put my finger on exactly why.

Unlike Toy Story, I didn’t feel emotionally connected to any of these characters. It has its poignant moments, but for most of the book I was just turning pages and my heart wasn’t into it. And unlike Stranger Things, the monsters were less than terrifying and the action scenes less than gripping. It’s hitting the right beats for the story, but not knocking them out of the park or do anything unique. I really enjoy YA horror, but this one wasn’t nearly scary or profound enough for me to sink my teeth into.

Overall rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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