With a short book, comes a short review.
I knew about the Dark Sky series through a blog tour and while the covers of the books did interest me, I never actually read the summary so it wasn’t high up on my TBR list. Then somehow, I came across a sign-up form for the blog tour of Amber Sky and this line “While best enjoyed before reading CRIMSON SKY, this bonus story can be read at any time or enjoyed as a standalone”. Now that I’ve read Amber Sky, I can say that I am highly interested in the rest of the Dark Sky series and am eager to pick up Crimson Sky, if not for my sky high October TBR hindering me from doing so.
!! minor spoilers ahead. read at your own risk !!
(Dark Sky #0.25)
by Amy Braun
Genre: Young Adult, Steampunk, Post-Apocalyptic
Publication Date: 4 October 2016
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩
Press-ganged into servitude by a ruthless band of marauders who survived the devastating Storm, Nash has grown tired of his career– the young, undefeated champion of the Stray Dog fighting pits. All he longs for is a place to live where his family is not his enemy.
When his captain gives him an assignment to embed him deeper into the crew, Nash attempts to refuse, until the life of his friend is threatened. Determined to save her, Nash embarks on the mission to subjugate and control a supplier. But the supplier has other clients, one of which could be the son of the most feared pirate captain in all of Westraven.
And if Nash plays his cards right, the key to his deeply desired freedom, if he can live with the consequences of his choice…
Set two years before the events of CRIMSON SKY, this prequel novella tells the story of how Nash and Sawyer crossed paths– and fists. While best enjoyed before reading CRIMSON SKY, this bonus story can be read at any time or enjoyed as a standalone.
Three years of fighting
for my life in the Crater
taught me how to survive.
But not how to live.
And that was what I was hoping for.
Part of the reason as to why I managed to finish this book in a day was that it was short, and that served as my initial motivation to finish this book quickly. But as I read and was slowly dragged into the story, it changed from the book’s short length to wanting to know what happens to the characters. I might have been able to finish this in one sitting, if not for the constant distraction of my two brothers running about the house.
Amber Sky is mainly an origin story for both Nash and Sawyer, and it has effectively done its job. From how they met, to what motivated them to work together, and finally the events that caused them to be able to trust each other, this book was clear in the path it wanted to take, and that path led to an amazing story.
This book had me hooked from the very first chapter. Already, we could see Nash’s inner emotional turmoil ― how he hated his current way of life and sought freedom. He was forced into a life he did not choose and one he grew to hate, and he wanted out. He wants to be able to live freely, trust freely and love freely. Later in the book, he meets Sawyer, who is also trapped, but in a different way. Due to the prejudice against all who holds his father’s name, he has been met with distrust wherever he goes, and nothing he does is able to convince them that he is not like his father and older brother.
Despite being only 125 pages long, Amber Sky has included in it most things I think a book should have ― superb world building, fantastic character developments, solid relationships between characters (which does not involve romance may I add) and heart-gripping, detailed action scenes.
A: I’ve always been a fan of Nash, and wanted to tell the story of how he and Sawyer came to meet. They have a good relationship in Crimson Sky and Midnight Sky but it wasn’t always like that. They endured mistrust and battles the same as all sturdy friendships do, even trading blows a couple times. It was a lot of fun to not only tell their story, but to expand on an element of Midnight Sky that I enjoyed–– the crew’s journey to the Barren.
A: In the novels, Nash is a pretty quiet character. He’s often the voice of calm and reason, the one who knows how to relax Sawyer and Gemma. Ironic, since he’s heavily built and muscular. Readers who are familiar with him are likely used to his steady demeanor, and know little of the violence he used to be capable of. He’s a lot more complex than you would realize reading Crimson Sky and Midnight Sky, and after I hinted at his past in Midnight Sky, I knew I had to tell his story through his eyes.
A: Easier? Yes. Definitely. My word count as just over 30,000, less than half of what a typical Dark Sky novel will run. I had a simple story line, a “simple problem” for the characters to solve, and no need to tie up a hundred different plot holes. But, if we’re talking about preference, I actually enjoy writing full length novels more. As an independent author, I’m not hindered by word counts and will write until the story is done. This means that I can experiment and add new elements to a story that I don’t usually get to do in a novella. That definitely doesn’t mean I’ll stick to novels my entire career– every big series I write will likely have at least two or three novellas attached to them– but they are definitely my comfort and creative zone.
A: Ah, yes. Gemma. Readers of the novels will know that she’s Nash’s other half, the moon to his stars, the heat to his fire. They will also know that she is most definitely not in Amber Sky. When I planned to write some novellas after Midnight Sky, I definitely had a plan about what those two stories would be about. Nash’s story comes first, because the second novella, Smoke Sky, is all about how Gemma entered the lives of the crew. Her story is one of my absolute favorites, and I knew that her romance with Nash would be a key element. So while she’s not in the picture for Amber Sky, she’ll be entering it soon.
A: Smoke Sky, which will be released December 2016, will be told from Gemma’s perspective and tell the tale of how she first met Sawyer and fell in love with Nash, and the wild adventures they had before she was accepted to the crew. There will also be a short story told from Sawyer’s perspective called Engineered Deceit, which will be featured in Ghosts, Gears, and Grimoires from Mocha Memoirs Press, as well as my collection for short stories called The Shadow Omnibus by the same publisher. Both will be released in the next few months, before Smoke Sky. The final novel in the series will be released in February 2017, and is titled Obsidian Sky. It’s perhaps my top favorite in the entire Dark Sky saga, as it’s full of action and told from both Claire and Sawyer’s perspectives. I went wild with the world in the third and final chapter of this series, and can’t wait for readers to experience the last adventures of the Dauntless Wanderer.
Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery,” and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.
Her short stories published by independent houses like Mocha Memoirs Press and April Moon Books, and she has independently published a collection of standalone and series novels including Storm Born, Path of the Horseman, and the Cursed and Dark Sky series. Many of her short stories have been featured in anthologies such as Amok!, Avast, Ye Airships!, and That Hoodoo, Voodoo, That You Do, and Stomping Grounds.
More From Amy Braun
CURSED: DEMON’S DAUGHTER | DARK DIVINITY | DAMNATION’S DOOR
DARK SKY: CRIMSON SKY | MIDNIGHT SKY
STANDALONE NOVELS AND NOVELLAS: STORM BORN | PATH OF THE HORSEMAN | NEEDFIRE | THE SHADOW OMNIBUS