At just over 100 pages, A Dawn Most Wicked proves to be quite a meaty novella, both in size and in content. Providing an interesting perspective into the back story of Daniel Sheridan, this particular moment in his history grants a lot of insight not only into Daniel’s decision at the end of Something Strange & Deadly *shakes fist*, but also allows the reader to see just how The Spirit Hunters were formed, and Joseph, Jie, and Daniel’s first adventure together. This story takes place primarily as a flashback as Daniel visits Eleanor in the hospital in the aftermath of… spoilery stuff from the first book, and is wonderfully book-ended by present day Daniel’s thoughts and struggles as he wars with his feelings for Eleanor. His memory, the story, itself is equally compelling and page-turning – Daniel trying to outrun his dark past, loving a girl he shouldn’t, an ambitious race on the Mississippi in a steamboat haunted with terrifying ghosts. Action, adventure, romance, horror, danger and heartache all artfully rolled into a small story that’s perfectly paced and well-executed.
Though it’s not necessary for understanding the larger story line of this series it does yield some interesting possible foreshadowing into aspects of A Darkness Strange & Lovely, and gives the reader a rare glimpse beneath the gruff, tough exterior of Daniel Sheridan. Character building, peeps. It’s good stuff. If you’re a fan of the series, I highly recommend this novella.