My first reaction to reading the last sentence of Skies of Dripping Gold by Hannah Heath was, “Wow.” I had to sit with my feelings for a while before writing my review of this short story. This short story from Hannah was just released on December 5, 2015.
I feel that this is a very powerful debut story for Hannah. The strongest aspect of Skies of Dripping Gold is the story’s message. There is subtly and grace to the theme and really packs a punch as you reach the end. It is a great thinking story. I love stories that stick with me and make me think both during the reading and after. Way to go Hannah!
There are three characters in this story: Gabriel, Lilly, and Cole. The story is told through Gabriel’s third person perspective and we get much of the information about Lilly (Gabriel’s sister) and Cole (Gabriel & Lilly’s friend) through his eyes. Hannah’s writing style is vivid and touches the imagination in unique ways even if there is a lot more telling rather than showing. But the thing is, it didn’t really matter that there was telling because it fit Gabriel’s perspective and gave the reader a strong sense of not only Gabriel’s character but the others as well. So in my opinion, this is actually a good example of how to “tell” the story effectively.
Skies of Dripping Gold is representative of what more dystopian stories should be about. Dystopia shouldn’t always be about saving the world, but about people living in the dystopian world. Sure sometimes that means changing it, but not always and this story shows that. The dystopian society represented in Skies of Dripping Gold is almost like living in our own world now and could be an example to readers how to live life here and now, especially since many people struggle with the very same themes brought up in this story.
I understand that while writing a short story you have limited space and time to work with to convey the story and I believe Hannah utilized the limited space she had. Although I would have preferred a better sense of the story’s setting, the fact that the setting was an environmentally dangerous place and that the world was strict and seemed uncaring was well established. I would have also liked to have had a little more backstory to justify Gabrial’s attitude about the world or have a stronger understanding of what could have shaken his faith so much that he became a disbeliever. I understand that he feels that it’s unfair that his sister is sick, but I didn’t feel that was quite a strong enough reason. Love can make people do things they may not normally do, but I still found myself wondering what Gabrial’s motivations were. This is the only part of the “telling” that didn’t really work for me because I didn’t feel like I had sufficient information to make the assumptions I had to make regarding his motivations.
Over all I enjoyed the story and felt moved by it. It’s a story about real people in a real situation. If you are looking for a story that is meaningful, thought provoking, and heart-felt I highly recommend Skies of Dripping Gold by Hannah Heath.