Blood Red Sky: Paul Kane
Reviewed By Brian Bogart
I will say this about Paul Kane: nearly every book I read by him takes a few fantasy tropes and spins them into his own. BLOOD RED SKY is no exception. In his newest, the author tackles the well-trodden paths of survival in a world ravaged, where the adults are no longer the apocalypse’s saving grace. It’s up to the children to band together and face the evil that has infested their world… under a darkening blood-red sky, of course.
We are introduced early on to a group of kids. Each one is fleshed out bit by bit, including segments interspersed within the narrative that detail the moment that the invasion and destruction began. What invaded, you may ask? Was it aliens, or zombies? Maybe some undiscovered breed of cryptoid? Maybe it was some Lovecraftian horror unleashed by a meddling fool?
Well, one kid has a name for them: TROLLS.
Yep. You read that right. While there are certain characteristics of the enemy described, Kane doesn’t dwell on the details too much. Written from the children’s perspectives, they do not know how or why any of this has come about- only that the adults were the first to feel the impact. They are in survival mode. One girl ( a child genius, of sorts) named Faith, has been studying them. She has reached a point in this research that requires the capture of a live specimen. And with the introduction of a few new additions to the group… that’s the start of the shit hitting the fan.
I will admit, through the first half of this book, it reads ALMOST like YA fiction in some ways. That’s not a bad thing, just was a bit unexpected. Maybe that’s a testament to Kane delving into the head of the teenagers and letting them be, well, kids. As the book begins to build and head towards the final chapters, though? The death and heartbreak they suffer helps solidify that perhaps, that was intentional. Kane does excel into getting into their heads. The drama. Love. Their growing suspicion with one another. Being forced to grow up in a world gone awry. All of this is well-done and is indeed the point of the story, not the “Trolls” themselves.
My only gripe, while reading, was a personal one. I kind of wanted more detail of the how and why of it all. Maybe a few more vivid descriptions of the carnage. But, upon wrapping up the final pages? Those quibbles melted away. It made sense why there wasn’t these long flourishes of detail… and let’s face it: If there were no adults around, no scientific community with funding to research and analyse this particular apocalypse? Those very details that I felt were lacking would be missing, in a story viewed through the eyes of a determined and inexperienced group of teens. The last chapter or two, made me see that- in a way I didn’t expect. Well done.
All in all, a fresh take on an old favorite. And honestly, sometimes that is what a reader needs. An interesting and unique novella. There are plenty of unanswered questions but room to expand upon. (Kane does enjoy doing series, after all.) Viewing the hell that their town has become from their perspective, works in a lot of ways (despite the YA vibe in the beginning). And it works better, in some respects, after the story comes to a close.
Keep watching the skies. Beware of the hue, as the sun hides behind the clouds. Most of all, listen for the ear-piercing screams in the distance. And remember: If you don’t stick together… you’re destined to die apart.
Blood Red Sky
The world has changed. Ever since the night that sky, the blood red sky, appeared, and the adults were wiped out by what some of those who remain call the Trolls. Huge, hulking beasts that hunt the young survivors. One such group have tried to make a life for themselves, tried to create another family after losing their original ones—whilst at the same time planning a way to defeat the creatures who roam this new landscape. But that’s all about to change as well, when a couple of newcomers appear. Strangers who have their own story to tell…
The latest post-apocalyptic tale from Paul Kane, the #1 bestselling and award-winning author of the Hooded Man novels, Pain Cages, Lunar, Before, The Rot, and Sherlock Homes and the Servants of Hell, this is a compelling coming of age novella unlike anything you’ve ever read.
Brian Bogart is an American author, residing in Northern Ireland. His love of genre fiction started at an early age, consuming every horror and fantasy book available. He has been published in various degrees online and contributed a short fiction piece, “TOCSIN”, to The One Million Project (OMP) Thriller Anthology in an effort to raise money for cancer research and the homeless. He loves to share his enthusiasm for the horror genre with others and help promote other authors.
His latest story, alongside many other authors, can be found in the pages of EPIC FANTASY SHORT STORIES, coming soon from Flame Tree Publishing.
Purchase OMP THRILLER here: Amazon UK
Preorder EPIC FANTASY SHORT STORIES anthology here: Flame Tree Press
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