Skyworld: Secrets in the Mist and Skyworld: Blood Secrets are action-packed steampunk novels by Morgan L. Busse. I read Secrets earlier this year and eagerly anticipated the sequel. I joined the launch team for Blood Secrets and had the opportunity to read an advanced copy. I now own the beautiful hardback copies of both books! The audiobooks are great also! This series has sparked my interest in steampunk-themed fantastical fiction.
This story takes place in a dystopian world where humanity lives at the highest elevations, using airships and gliders for quick air travel. After a world war, ubiquitous Mist takes over the surface of the earth, rendering the land inhabitable and turning anyone who breathes it into the undead “turned.” Resources are limited and the wealthy class suppresses the lower class as they fight for survival. The story follows Cass, a young survivor of the dreaded purges. Seeking a way to make a living for herself, she joins the crew of an airship as a hired diver, searching for items left behind in the Mist. Her life is forever changed when she meets Theodore, a wealthy and educated member of the ruling five families. Theo and Cass’s places in society would set them at odds, but they share a common purpose; ridding the world of the Mist before it takes over all humanity. Once they discover a cure, Cass wrestles with the concept that the world is worth saving. It is great to have clean steampunk with airships, gliders, creepy metal men, firearms, sky pirates, and “zombies.” I do not prefer zombie stories, but I enjoyed how the author used the concept in this story.
Cass is a relatable female character, brave yet vulnerable. She is not overbearing or unrealistically independent like many female characters in YA fiction today. Theo is a genuine gentleman, scientist, and adventurer. He is kind and strong, and their romance is sweet! They are one of my new favorite literary couples. They both rely on their faith for strength and meaning.
I had no issues with the first book, but the sequel lost a star from me because the ending was rushed. Even though it ended the way I wanted, it wasn’t fully developed. This made for a surprisingly unsatisfactory ending.
I would love it if the author revisited this world with another novel or maybe short stories. I highly recommend these books. It is thrilling YA, but not too scary or graphic for MG and some younger readers.