Epeolatry Book Review: Blood Red Sky by Paul Kane


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Title: Blood Red Sky
Author: Paul Kane
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Silver Shamrock Publishing
Release Date: 9th March, 2020

Synopsis: 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.

I’d like to thank the publisher for an E-ARC of this Young Adult novel. I am happily clocking up a few reads from indie horror/dark fiction publisher- Silver Shamrock and can recommend the ones I’ve read so far. More reviews will soon wing their way to you.

This might be aimed at Y.A., but it’s a fast entertaining read for adults, too. This is a post-apocalyptic yarn, which read against the background of global lock down, and the Covid-19 outbreak seems very close to home in spirit if not in actual facts.

The story is told through the eyes of a quartet of teens, our main protagonist Ethan, his brainy younger cousin, Faith (who makes home-made bombs in a shed—gotta love this gal), Becky with whom they meet up, and Becky’s older, protective somewhat sullen brother, Cameron. 

These four find a base, (ironically named the White House—really liked that touch), go scavenging for food, fight off the Trolls, and try to plan a future. There is a touching scene where beans on toast for tea is described as a luxury to be revelled in, in this back to basics new world, with no convenience stores.

There are flashbacks from each of the characters inserted throughout (in italics—I wasn’t sure about the italicising myself; I found it distracting on the eye), with each being given a backstory as to where they were when the world turned to cheese and the arrival of the Trolls—named thus by Ethan due to their leathery grey skin—and the culling of the adults. Only the children and teens are left, and now the Trolls are hunting them, too. 

The quartet of teens are joined by two newcomers, Donna, and Liam—a smooth talker with lots of charm. Their arrival changes the dynamics and loyalties of the group in ways which lead to betrayal and death. The message here is clear: not all the survivors are fighting for mankind’s common good. Who can you trust?

I found it easy to get into the story, was grabbed by the sense of danger, by the bravery and resourcefulness of the kids. I particularly enjoyed the character of Faith, so bright, so young, only eleven-years-old and a chemistry whiz with attitude.

Personally, for me, the story dipped in the middle section, when there was too much description and discussion of the changing relationships within the group of kids. I found Becky’s thoughts about her feelings towards the lads rather over-long. 

The lead-up to the ending and the exciting, gripping finale seasoned with a couple of unexpected twists brought me back on track and raised the adrenaline levels.

There are some exciting individual hair – raising action scenes, where the kids face the Trolls. One, in a small village store, was particularly vivid.

I would probably have liked more description of the Trolls, but that could just be me. You are never sure of the Troll’s agenda, their numbers, or their how intelligence. I also would have liked more information about the title’s ‘Blood Red Sky’, but again that might just be me. 

Fast paced, exciting, believable, likeable characters are fighting the enemy within and without for survival. There’s no easy ending but a definite hope for the future.

A story for our times for teens.

3.5/5 stars.

Available on Amazon.

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