Book Review: Oh, That Shotgun Sky by Sarah Chorn

This review may contain spoilers for the other books in this series, Of Honey and Wildfires and Glass Rhapsody

Book Synopsis

Days after the Boundary falls, six strangers converge in a one-horse town, all of them on the run. Some from the past, some avoiding the future.

When men from Shine Company arrive to reclaim their own, these desperate travelers have to decide if they stand with the law, or against it.

Men pull the trigger and blood spills.

Fate pulls the strings and everybody dances.

Oh, That Shotgun Sky is a novella set in Sarah Chorn’s Songs of Sefate series. It’s technically set between Of Honey and Wildfires and Glass Rhapsody, which I have already read and reviewed. As such, I totally messed up the order of this series, but you know what? I’ve really enjoyed the whole series so far and I wasn’t confused about what was happening in Glass Rhapsody, so I’m not worried about anything. Like the other books in this series, it will tug at your heart-strings and hit you right in the feels, but we all expected this from Sarah Chorn by this point, right?

But what did catch me off guard a little here was the pacing. The other books in the series are definitely on the more languid side. This isn’t a bad thing, and I’ve compared them to a slow-moving river that twists and turns and takes you on a journey, but that isn’t a good way to describe this book. Oh, That Shotgun Sky is a quick book. There’s action from pretty much the word go. This perhaps shouldn’t have been quite so surprising – it is a novella, after all – but it did a little. It just goes to show that the breadth of story the author can write, really.

This increase in pacing – and the shorter length of the book – doesn’t mean there is any compromise on the beautiful writing that we expect from Sarah Chorn here. The prose is all here, don’t worry. I would say it feels a little ‘tighter’ than usual, which sounds mean to her other books, but it is the best way to describe it. Due to the book being a novella, I guess she had to find ways to be more economic with her words.

Now, finally, we get onto the characters of the book. There’s three plot threads going at the start, though you could easily argue for only two as two characters’ stories get intertwined together very quickly. Which is a lot for a novella, as most only have one really, but it works. You get attached and invested in each story and character throughout.

First, we meet Sally Morten and her companions, Eloise and Grace. These girls are prostitutes on the run. They’ve used the collapse of the magical barrier known as the Boundry to escape their old hellish lives and are determined to never go back, no matter the cost. But to complicate things for these plucky heroines, Grace is heavily pregnant. This plot line in particular really shows you the horror of the Shine Company policies that we learn about in Of Honey and Wildfires and Glass Rhapsody and will definitely have you cheering these girls on.

Next, we have Saul and Ned. They start as two separate plot threads, I guess, but their stories are the ones that link together very quickly. Saul is an outlaw and friend of Christopher Hobson, whose grief is driving him over the edge, while Ned is a Company Man – and a Shine Burnout trying desperately to hold it all together. Ned, for me, felt like a particularly tragic character. He maybe a Burnout, but he has never willingly consumed Shine as a drink or drug knowingly. Simply living in Shine Territory has been enough to get Shine in his system and it’s highly addictive qualities are slowly driving him insane. His story, and Sally’s story, are the ones that really got me as they show the unforgiving and harsh nature of this world that Sarah Chorn has created, a fact that just highlights a lot of these things in our world for me.

Overall, I’d 100% recommend this book. Probably read it after Of Honey and Wildfires, so you get the story in the correct order. Not like this numpty here.

As a final thing, I really, really need to say a big thank you to Sarah Chorn herself. She provided me with a copy of this book for free after reading my review for Glass Rhapsody and I have no idea what I dd to deserve an author being so kind. So, I bought a copy anyway, as she’s a good’un and good’uns need supporting!

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