We have a great opportunity to be a part of a blog tour for Amber Sky. I’ll give a quick review of the book (without spoiling too much) and then share a short Q&A I had with the author, and my good friend, Amy Braun.
Nash has one job: survive. In his small dystopian society, The Stray Dogs, he’s the main attraction as the Crater champion—he fights for entertainment as well as punishing anyone who needs to learn a lesson. Being the best fighter still makes him an outcast in society, which is just one of the reasons why Nash would rather survive in the unrelenting outside world than fight again for the Ryland, their hovel’s lead boss.
After Nash’s one friend, Sonya, is physically threatened, he agrees to go on the surface to intimidate the local farmer for food and supplies. It’s there that Nash meets a marauder that gives Nash his ultimate plan for escape.
The dystopian realm is definitely Braun’s dojo. She gives lots of detail of the local scenery, as well as the local dystopian threat—the Hellions. The ultimate enemies are humanoid blood-suckers that were the reason for much of the population decimation and part of Nash’s reason for living underground for so long. Her world is the right combination of dystopia and steampunk from the social structure system, to the tools of survival.
Braun also does a good job of giving a realistic account of the damage Nash earns and dishes out. She really gets into the mind of a trained fighter when describing each fight scene and he responds in a realistic manner to the types of injuries he sustains.
I think my favorite part of this novella was the entertaining relationship between Nash and Sawyer (the marauder). It’s fun watching these two macho loners try to work together. They take turns saving the day and being pretty cocky about it. I’ll let you guys enjoy that.
I will warn younger readers that there are off-screen references to heavy violence and rape. They were tastefully done in the novel, given the rugged, no-mercy society that Nash lives in.
My rating: 4 stars
Braun’s choice to make this a novella made for great pacing and a great teaser to the rest of her Dark Sky series. The only real drawback was a slight overemphasis of Nash’s reactions to each blow he receives; a bit too many reminders of just how much air is being punched out of him.
Q&A With Amy Braun
Here are a few questions Amy has answered for us so you can get to know her a little better. Since she has written most of the Dark Sky series already and has taken a step back with this prequel novella, there will be slight spoilers—even for those who read Amber Sky. Enjoy!
What inspired you to write Amber Sky?
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.
Why did you chose to tell the story from Nash’s perspective?
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.
Q: Did you find it easier to write a shorter story? Did you prefer it to writing a full length novel?
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.
What can you tell us about the next novella and novel in the Dark Sky series?
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 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.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this stop in the blog tour for Amber Sky! If you want to dive into this series, or check out the many other novels Amy Braun has released, just follow any of these links to learn more:
What do you love or hate about dystopian novels? If you have any recommendations for really good dystopian novels, let’s see them in the comments below!