Crack The Dark Sky Wide Open : A Cruel Thing
Title : A Cruel Thing
Anthology : Crack the Dark Sky Wide Open
Author : Abigail Roux
Publisher : The Crack Crew (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Romance
Length : 148 pages total (e-book)
Published : May 16, 2013
Of humanity there are darker tales. Stories that take some squinting to see through. Unconventional stories. Tales that threaten to break the heart by cruel twists of fate, the dogs of war, or demons that are all too real; whether they be of unrequited love or a karmic slap in the face. Happy endings take a time in coming, and some never arrive. But through all the darkness there is light, a glimmer of hope and wonder…if one has the will to see it ….
In December of 1941, roughly 1600 marines and civilians inhabited tiny Wake Island. Undermanned and left to stand alone in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the island became known as ‘the Alamo of the Pacific.’ But even as the battle raged, the men defending it didn’t fight for fame.
“All these years later I still get choked up when I think about them. The Marine Fighting Squadron 211, that’s what we were. You can write that ‘VMF-211’, there in your notes. They were my boys, you see. My brothers. My sons. My friends.
“They were my heroes.”
I’m generally not a fan of historicals, and I certainly have little interest in stories set in wartime. So I would have been unlikely to have read this story, even if it is written by one of my favourite authors, if it had been a standalone story. I’m really glad it was in the Crack The Darkest Sky Wide Open Anthology because it was amazing! Seriously. Amazing!
A Cruel Thing is a recounting of the Battle of Wake Island in WWII from the POV of the fictional men of the Marine Fighting Squadron 211. And there, in the midst of war, where one might think it the hardest to find, Abigail Roux shows that not only can love be found, it can be life altering in its power. The story was gritty and fast-paced, beautiful and heartbreaking. Oh, my god, was it heartbreaking. I think Abi broke me on this one! If my heart hadn’t already been broken before by TJ Klune’s story, it sure was by the time I finished this one! My heart in shredded tatters, this story made me cry so hard, I actually had to put the book down for a short while because I couldn’t see through the tears, but I still thought this story was brilliant!
Please don’t let this reaction put you off reading it. It isn’t all sad, it does have some hope, and it does have an HEA, even if it is a sort of left field one. It’s difficult to be more definitive without giving things away, but you aren’t left feeling low at the end. The writing is outstanding. It completely drew me in and made me feel like I was right there, right in the middle of the action. Watching the desperate defence of those men against overwhelming forces. Watching the unfolding of their love. The characters are fully realised and wonderful. They were endearing, courageous, funny and smart. I felt for them and with them. I couldn’t recommend this story highly enough. And another knock-out story from what is shaping up to be one of the best anthologies I’ve ever read.
“You would think amidst all that death and hate and terror that love would have been hard to come by, but…no, it was easy to find.”
Rated 5 stars by BookSmitten