Publication Date: July 2, 2012
Publisher: Carina Press
Aurelia Popkiss has been living on the fringes of the universe scavenging and maybe a little stealing in order to survive with a makeshift crew of men on a spaceship since her "death." One day they find a stowaway girl on their ship. Aurelia knows that the girl is lying about her true purpose and how she got on the ship, she just can't figure out how. Aurelia has no idea just how much danger the girl is putting Aurelia and her crew at risk. At the same time Aurelia is dealing with the girl, she's also having to control her own unrequited (or are they?) feelings for Keys - one of her fellow shipmates.
Confession: More than once I broke into the Firefly theme while reading this novella. I couldn't help it. The story just had that vibe to it. You've got the group of fugitive type people on a spaceship, scavenging and stealing to survive. Then there's the romance between Aurelia and Keys (Mal and Inara anyone?). Gamble even calls space "the black" more than once during the book. (Take me out to the black, tell 'em I ain't coming back.)
I really did enjoy the novella. It was fun. I could feel the sexual tension between Aurelia and Keys (even though the book stayed strictly PG). I thought the world was well-developed and that Gamble did a good job telling her story. I'm hoping that this is just one of those prequel stories that will lead to a great big thick book in the future. In the meantime, I recommend going over to Kait Gamble's website and check out the bios and pictures she's posted of how she sees the characters. I wouldn't mind being stranded on this ship in the black.