I don’t usually post this early but I’m leaving for Malaysia soon so here’s a review before I go on a week long break.
!! potential spoilers ahead. read at your own risk !!
(Dark Sky #0.5)
by Amy Braun
Genre: Young Adult, Steampunk, Post-Apocalyptic
Publication Date: 6 December 2016
To survive in a horrific world overseen by bloodthirsty monsters, young thief Gemma will do whatever she must to see another day. Even though that means working for a damaged man convinced to make her a permanent member of this thuggish family.
So when her employer tells her that he’ll release her from his clutches, Gemma is obviously skeptical. Especially since the job is easy enough– recruit the two marauders that the gang has been spying on to take her place.
But as Gemma lies to Nash and Sawyer, she commits the greatest mistake a spy can make–– she begins to see them as friends, and perhaps more. Soon, she will have to choose: Sacrifice two strangers to ensure freedom from a brutal future, or risk her life to save them…
Set two years before the events of CRIMSON SKY, this prequel novella tells the story of how Gemma met Nash and Sawyer, and what prompted her to chose their safety over her own. While best enjoyed before reading CRIMSON SKY, this bonus story can be read at any time or enjoyed as a standalone.
Once again, the theme of freedom makes its appearance in the second Dark Sky novella, just that this isn’t Nash or Sawyer’s tale of freedom, but Gemma’s.
In this bleak world, Gemma has managed to find herself a “family”. However, it is one where love or warmth is not present and every member only looks out for themselves under the pretence of protecting one another. Gemma sought freedom from them, not wanting to do their bidding and or having to live in fear of what they may do to her should she ever let her guard down.
Gemma may not be my favourite character in this series so far but I gotta admit, she’s got spunk*. In the “family”, all members are expected to obey the head, Fletcher. However, Gemma isn’t entirely subservient to him. She defines her own boundaries and will not hesitate to attempt to take down any member that crosses them.
*according to the dictionary, this is apparently a British vulgar slang like O M G stop slaughtering the English language for me
She is later on given a mission, one she doesn’t want to accept but cannot refuse as its reward is the one thing she so desperately seeks—freedom. And cue the emotional turmoil. There is indecision as she contemplates whether to tell the people she’s supposed to “recruit” the true nature of her mission. There is guilt as she imagines how they might feel when she betrays them. There are feelings as she realises that she has come to care for them over the short period of time they have spent together.
The world building in this one is not as detailed as compared to the first novella—just a brief explanation of Hellions and some mentions of theDauntless Wanderer and the Kendric family—as it’s not necessary for the plot and even without, you can understand the novella just fine. However, we do get more fight scenes with the Hellions in action (cue the gore) and a glimpse of life on the surface as the entire novella takes place above ground.
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