By Paul Kane
Given the cover and the repute of the publisher, I jumped into Blood Red Sky without knowledge of what I was getting into.
Paul Kane drops us right into the middle of a post-apocalyptic nightmare. We get to know a group of teenagers who are scavenging for food and doing whatever it takes to survive. Kane jumps back and forth mid-chapter between the present and the onset of the world-changing event of the sky turning, well, blood red and large, aggressive monsters wreaking havoc. The cast of characters that we spend the story with refer to these monsters as trolls.
Paul Kane expertly sprinkles in details throughout this novella’s runtime about the origin of the trolls. We get glimpses of their genesis combined with theories from some of the characters, both part of the core group and outsiders who join later. If it all seems a bit random and obscured, rest assured that there is a grand plan in the works which makes itself apparent to the reader by the time the credits roll.
An argument could be made that this novel fits neatly into the mantle of YA. The story focuses more intently on the characters ranging from around ages 10-17, and despite their constant looming presence, relegated the monsters to the background in favor of character and group dynamics. The gore is present, but relatively light compared to other similar monster novels and the lack of strong language leads the reader to believe that the author sought to create a work that would appeal to a wide readership.
Blood Red Sky establishes a world and setting that could reappear in future installments, though as far as I know it currently is a standalone work. Even though Kane gives a satisfying amount of answers, it does feel like there are some more blanks to fill in and bigger and more expansive things afoot. This was a quick, enjoyable read that puts the focus more on the people facing hard times than the hard times themselves.
Review by Brennan LaFaro
I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.