Welcome back to Sunday Book Review! Since Christmas celebrations kept me from finishing this week’s novel, today I’m giving my thoughts on a short story I read a few weeks ago: Skies of Dripping Gold, by Hannah Heath.
Skies of Dripping Gold, by Hannah Heath
Genre according to Amazon: short reads (teen/young adult, christian fantasy).
Length (print): 31 pages.
How I found it: pre-order announcement on author’s website.
In an angry, frightened world where the Poison claims many lives, a young man’s belief in Paradise has collapsed into a distant dream. Gabriel can no longer place his trust in the existence of such a place. Not when his sister’s pain continues to sap her strength. Not when prayers for her healing go unanswered.
As the Poison progresses, eating away at Lilly’s life, Gabriel sets off on a desperate climb to save her from death. Struggling to discover the truth behind a world where the skies drip gold, Gabriel tries to maintain his disbelief in God while clutching after hope for his sister’s salvation. But, as he climbs the cliff that is said to lead to Paradise, he begins to see: if he can’t bring himself to believe in a place of peace and golden skies, then how can he possibly hope for his sister’s rescue? How can he possibly hope for his own?
Amazon Rating: 4.9 stars (20 customer reviews) at the time of article publication.
Caution: potential minor spoilers ahead, though I’ll do my best to not reveal the ending.
First impression: I pre-ordered Skies of Dripping Gold based on the blurb, which presented an intriguing premise, and a curiosity about Hannah Heath’s writing.
- The writing: you know those authors whose writing is enjoyable to read simply based on the flow, style, and communication efficiency they pull off? Yeah. This is it.
- The power in brevity: as an occasional writer of short stories myself, I know how hard it is to pack both an emotional punch and/or significant content in such a short read. Heath provides both in the space of thirty pages.
- The emotion: if you’re not a big fan of feeling excruciating human emotions vicariously through a protagonist, this story probably isn’t for you.
- A relatable concept: dystopian stories often revolve around rebellions, grand escapes, and other concepts that are mostly foreign to us except in fiction. At its core, SoDG is a story about a desperate young man and his love for his sister. It’s immediately relatable.
- The conclusion: the end of the story isn’t what I would call very final. It doesn’t provide a definite conclusion. What it does provide is a wealth of hope for a character previously plagued by hopelessness, and it’s a wonderful ending. Also, the feels…
- The theme: the main idea in SoDG is faith (the pursuit or lack thereof). My main concern going into the story was that it would end up sacrificing quality to convey its message. I was pleased to see it wasn’t that way at all. The message is there, but it’s not preached to death, and it lets (or forces?) the reader to think for himself/herself.
The best: in my opinion, SoDG’s strongest point is the conglomeration of human emotions that it conveys, mostly through the protagonist, Gabriel; but also through Lilly and Cole. The story is raw, rough, and it doesn’t sugarcoat anything.
My favorite line:
As far as he was concerned, there were only two all-important laws on earth: 1. Don’t murder people. 2. Never swear in front of Lilly.
Heath really puts my disbelief in a perfect story to the test. As in, I’m almost making stuff up here.
- For the first several pages I was confused as to Lilly’s age. I pictured her as a little girl, but it turns out she’s actually older than Gabriel. Maybe I missed an age detail at the beginning?
- During Gabriel’s climb of the cliff (after already making progress), the remaining distance is estimated to be 3000 feet. I’m not a rock climber, but that seems like a stinking long climb, especially when he completes said 3000 feet with a broken finger.
“Man, Nate, you’re being uber picky about this.” Oh, yeah? I’d like to see you try to find weaknesses in this story…
Conclusion: Skies of Dripping Gold gripped me from the start. Heath’s writing is some of the best I’ve read in a while. Elegant yet clean, purposeful, and rich. The protagonist’s emotions are real, and that’s an accomplishment for a short read. It was almost too quick of an end…almost. Masterful communication. Kudos to Hannah Heath, and I’ll be back for more!
My final rating: 5/5 stars
You can find out more about author Hannah Heath on her website.
Note: there are a handful of swear words in the dialogue. Being a Christian short story, some readers may take offense, but please don’t. They’re few, they’re mild, and they’re used for a very necessary purpose. When your sister’s dying and you’ve given up on a God that’s supposed to love you, ‘well, hot dog!’ just doesn’t cut it.
I paid for my copy of Skies of Dripping Gold and wrote this review without involvement in any exchange or deals. Thoughts and opinions are my own. Yours may differ, and that’s fine. Feel free to drop a comment below!