Note: Review copy supplied by the author
Title: Sky Ghosts: Initiaion
Author: Alexandra Engellmann
Length: 268 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy
A secret society. Two clueless civilians. A common enemy who will stop at nothing to have them all killed.
Patricia aka Pain is known as a “kill first/ask questions later” kind of girl. Living in a city crawling with Beasts – her own kind gone rogue and using their supernatural gift to prey on humans – she’s a skilled assassin doubling as a bodyguard.
Between mercenary work for the Sky Ghosts Headquarters and reckless attempts to destroy the enemy gang, last thing she needs is two civilian guys in need of protection. But when the seemingly easy job turns into an all-out war, she and her sister Jane end up caught in its epicenter.
As the Beasts turn New York’s rooftops into a battlefield, Pain starts to question the enemy’s true motives – and the humans’ story. And when they threaten to destroy everything she holds dear, she will have to choose: keep running or take a final stand.
Even if it means giving up her own life.
Way back in 2016, I reviewed The Night Before, a short story set before the beginning of this book. It introduced our protagonist, Pain, and gave us a taste of what to expect from the series. I gave that story the full five out of five.
Here, we enter the full-length first novel in the series and much of what I loved about the short story is still present. Pain is a fascinating lead; she’s brash and violent, but there’s more to her than her physical acts. She’s also flanked by a much larger cast this time, which is a definite bonus too. As cool as I thought Pain was, without others to flesh the story out, I don’t think it really could have moved in the direction it needed to. From Pain’s sister Jenny to Marco and all the way back to Dave, the story is progressed as a team effort from the characters.
The action too is every bit as good as I’d hoped. It’s smooth and described vividly enough to give you a clear idea of what’s going on. That makes for some exciting scenes that absolutely speed by as you’re reading. Alexandra has a real knack for this type of writing, and those smooth bursts of violence stick with you in a good way.
Alexandra also deserves praise for the excellent cover. She is an artist, and the work she has clearly put in on the illustration used has led to a really standout piece. It captures the feel of our lead perfectly and looks absolutely beautiful.
For me, it was the pacing that let the book down though. I felt like it was a little inconsistent. At times, talk-heavy scenes were wonderful little glimpses into the characters, both in terms of themselves and how they view their allies. Other times though, they move along so slowly that your enjoyment slows along with it. The issue there is that the book went through stages for me. At its best, everything was enjoyable and really drew me in. The rest of the time though, I couldn’t actually tell you what it was that happened on the page because it all just melted together.
That being said, there were certainly more good scenes than ones that were just there. While the inconsistency did reduce my enjoyment a little, the highlights were enough to keep me interested through what felt like rough patches to me. Overall, Sky Ghosts: Initiation has plenty to offer to those who want some Urban Fantasy with an interesting edge. I give this a solid 3.5 out of 5.