Series: The Paean of Sundered Dreams
Published: 2015 by Irrational Worlds
Genres: Steampunk, Horror/Gothic
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Slave of the Sky Captain is undoubtedly my favorite thus far in J.M. Guillen’s Lovecraftian saga The Paean of Sundered Dreams. For any of you who haven’t been following my reviews, The Paean of Sundered Dreams is a series of novellas that are set in the same world and linked together by thematic content. In each story so far, a world is on the brink of struggle with dark forces who threaten the very existence of life as we know it. What’s particularly fascinating is that each story in the series has a completely different genre and feel to it. Very little about the overarching universe is revealed in each novella, so readers are left to piece together the larger story through the various fragments.
In Slave of the Sky Captain, we finally start to get some answers.
Ysabel Dartange is having a very bad day. She’s going about her business when she and her father are visited by debt collectors. Ysabel’s father has a gambling problem, and he finally owes far too much to the wrong person. In an effort to spare her father’s life, Ysabel sells herself into slavery, hoping all the while that she’ll be able to escape. But of course, life doesn’t work that way, because this just happens to be the day that the zombie apocalypse hits.
Ysabel is purchased by a mysterious (sexily so) sky captain who happens to be on Calyptin Station. Captain Argent knows more about the zombies than anyone else on the planet, and he knows that Ysabel is his last hope for saving the world.
I love Ysabel’s voice. She’s intelligent, snarky, and independent, and no matter what happens to her, she takes control of her own fate. And even though Captain Argent has a reputation for being a Han Solo style hero who can succeed against invincible odds, it’s Ysabel who ends up kicking ass against a crazy cult, figures out how to keep the zombies at bay, and basically saves the world.
Like each of the other stories in The Paean of Sundered Dreams, Slave of the Sky Captain leaves me with more questions than answers, and I can’t wait to read more stories as I solve the puzzle of Guillen’s world.