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  • Writer's pictureTabitha Tomala

Dust & Lightning by Rebecca Crunden 2023 SFINCs Book Review

SFINCS 2023 Championship Banner
SFINCS 2023 Championship Banner

This review is part of the Speculative Fiction Indie Novella Championship (SFINCS). SFINCS, pronounced “sphinx”. This is a yearly competition to recognize, honor, and celebrate the talent and creativity present in the indie community. It’s a sister competition to both SPFBO and SPSFC, and it highlights greatness in the novella format in all areas of speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, horror, etc.).

To see more information on my team Behind the Musings check out this post!

Dust & Lightning by Rebecca Crunden book cover
Dust & Lightning by Rebecca Crunden

Blurb for Dust & Lightning

In the near future, humans have gone beyond simple space travel. By the year 4054, multiple solar systems are inhabited, and taking a spaceship is as commonplace as taking an aeroplane.

Unfortunately, not everything about the future is so advanced. The central planets, led by Earth, have risen high at the expense of cheap labour on distant worlds. Dissent is widespread and arrests are common. Sometimes prisoners are released; sometimes they disappear without a trace, sent to labour camps in other solar systems.

When Ames Emerys receives a letter telling him that his brother Callum has died en route to the remote planet of Kilnin, he takes the first ship he can off Earth, desperate for answers. But the secrets Ames uncovers prove far more dangerous than he could have imagined.

And trouble isn’t far behind.


Book Review for Dust & Lightning

Ames Emerys received official notification of his brother Callum’s death during transport to the planet Kilnin. Accused of murder, Callum was to serve a sentence of hard labor. Ames could not believe his brother committed such a crime. And when Callum is also seen arriving on the planet alive, Ames questions everything. When he begins investigating, Ames receives a travel ban and agents attempt to bring him into custody. Evading capture, Ames sets out to find his brother. Along the way, he will uncover dangerous secrets.

During Ames' journey towards discovering the truth, he encounters a woman named Violet. When he helps her out of a tough situation I was pleasantly surprised to see the two become platonic partners. Though Violet was onboard to help Ames rather quickly, their synergy together was well written. The two complement each other and create a relationship based on learned trust and understanding. There was no romance or need for romance to understand how the two felt about each other, and the respect they had with a growing friendship.

Rebecca Crunden has a talent for creating relatable characters. Emotionally connecting with the characters, readers will feel Ames' need to find his brother, and the ensuing ups and downs they face together. Dust & Lighting feels like the start of a grand adventure. The actions each character aims to take by the end leave a charged open ending. Readers will crave more information. If you’re a reader who enjoys fast-paced short science fiction, give this a try.

To Purchase: Amazon | Author's Website

All or part of this book review may be used in marketing, I only ask that you reference Behind the Pages if you choose to do so.

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