by Amy Braun
Series: Dark Sky #1
Published on February 2, 2016 by Amy Braun
Genres: Dystopian, Steampunk, Young Adult
They’re always watching. They’re always waiting. They’re always starving…
Ten years ago, the sky shattered and the Hellions emerged. No one was able to keep them from destroying the city of Westraven. Now that the bloodthirsty monsters rule the skies and have forced the few remaining humans underground, Claire Abernathy lives in a nightmare. She survives by using her skills as an engineer for a ruthless tyrant connected to her mother and father’s past failure.
Then Claire’s world is torn apart when her sister Abby is kidnapped by the Hellions, and Claire herself is taken by dangerous sky pirates known as marauders. But Claire will not be intimidated by them while her sister’s life hangs by a thread, and so she strikes a deal with them: If they help rescue Abby, she will fix their ship and give them the chance to take the revenge they desperately seek.
As Claire fights for her sister’s life, she begins to realize that the Hellions are not the only dangers she’ll face. Burdensome secrets and devastating betrayals threaten her at every turn, and if she loses herself to them, it won’t just be her life that is destroyed…
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A steampunk world invaded by vampiric monsters and one young engineer with the drive to find her sister in the first book of the Dark Sky series, Crimson Sky. With a solid writing style and a fast-paced story, Braun weaves an adventure about family loyalty and friendship in a world where neither seems possible. An okay start to a series but it had its issues as well.
I think the strength of this book lies in the world. I love pirates, and I love vampires (to an extent) so the combination worked for me. Granted, the pirates didn’t do much pirating but I have hopes for the sequel. Hellions (the vampiric creatures) are quite nasty and setting them as the monstrous villains worked and left the room for the plot twist at the end.
Braun’s writing style wasn’t exactly my cup of tea — don’t get me wrong, it’s good, just not a style that I fell into right away, personally. Despite that, I had no trouble making quick work of Crimson Sky, finishing in a few hours.
Though all interesting in their own rights, I couldn’t get into the characters. I never connected with Claire, the protagonist. Not that she was poorly written, but I never felt like I could relate to her enough to make that reader-character connection. She became frustrating at times, seeming useful for a second then having to be saved for the rest of the moment. And while I understand that her motivation for everything she did was to save her sister, having it said over and over was more annoying than anything. I liked the marauders more and once they came into the picture the story held my interest better. Nash and Gemma in particular seem to have interesting backstories that I’d like to learn more about. Sawyer grew on me but as soon as a romance subplot (of sorts) came into play, I was done.
That was my biggest issue with this book. Everything was moving along nicely and the story had that edge of originality I love to see but Sawyer steps on the scene and it’s headfirst into your typical end-of-the-world plot. Then, with minutes left in the book, a love triangle is introduced. If I hadn’t been reading on my Kindle, I would’ve thrown the book across the room. I know that probably seems overly critical for the book but after reading the same type of plot line over and over, it does it old regardless of the writer’s skill. (There’s also the fact that the airship they have is named Dauntless. A little thing but I immediately thought of Divergent.)
Falling in line with the been there done that plot, I had no problems guessing the twists and turns as Braun lays out a pretty clear trail. It took a bit of the excitement out of the story but there weren’t so many that it became boring. But in the way Crimson Sky ended, I see promise for the sequel not having this issue or any of the others I’ve mentioned.
Overall, I found the plot predictable but engaging, original yet cliche. The steampunk-esque world mashed with the harsher horrors of the Hellions made for a story that keeps you hooked from start to finish. A rough start to the series but a solid one and I look forward to the next book, Midnight Sky.