This novella is a short prequel to Her Dark Mission novels, but you don't have to read it to know what's going on in the first book of the series. It takes place during the apocalyptic event that is mentioned in the books, so really it's a front row seat to the destruction. I read the e-book version, as I don't know if there is a print version available.
Now, I'm having trouble rating AND reviewing this story because...well, I loved it, but I have to admit that it isn't perfect. So in the interest of fairness I'll pull the old Good vs Bad style of review.
The Good Stuff:
This is an unbelievably intense short story. It made me ghasp, tear up, blush, and filled me both with dread and hope. It is an incredibly engrossing and very rewarding short read. The pace was fast and the drama is the kind of heart-wrenching thing that makes you cover your mouth and shake your head as you keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. There's only 150 or so pages to meet some 10-12 characters and each one feels real and believable in the very short time you know them.
The Bad Stuff:
Despite that I enjoyed myself immensely, there were things that confused me. For one, the action. While intense, it isn't always comprehensible and I wasn't always sure what was happening. The larger problem is that "Witches" and any actual witchcraft have very little to do with the story. So if you are expecting some supernatural elements, you will only find the barest hint of it. You could take the whole witch thing out and still have and incredibly good story. As a matter of fact, it might make more
sense if there were never any mention of witches at all.
So the long and short is that Karina Cooper is excellent at three things: Mood, Emotion and Characters. Her world building however, needs a lot of work. Luckily, this doesn't make the story any less enjoyable. If Karina's novel addresses the problems in the short story she might just have converted me into a PNR fan. I've been more on the Urban Fantasy bench until now.