Title: Stasis (Ennek Trilogy)
Author: Kim Fielding
Cover Artist: n/a
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Length: 224 pages
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: This fantasy with creative world-building and two very likeable main characters was an unexpectedly enjoyable read for me.
Praesidium is the most prosperous city-state in the world, due not only to its location at the mouth of a great bay, but also to its strict laws, stringently enforced. Ordinary criminals become bond-slaves, but the Wizard places traitors in Stasis, a dreamless frozen state.
Ennek is the Chief’s younger son. He has grown up without much of a purpose, a man who cannot fulfill his true desires and who skates on the edge of the law. But he is also haunted by the plight of one man, a prisoner for whom Stasis appears to be a truly horrible fate. If Ennek is to save that prisoner, he must explore Praesidium’s deepest secrets as well as his own.
Warning first: there are a couple of not very long scenes in this book which I considered torture (magical torture, I guess you can call it as it is not your regular torture, and I can’t say more without spoilers), but your mileage can vary on this one.
So I was checking out the list of the Top One Hundred Free Bestsellers in Gay and Lesbian fiction on Amazon, which I am sure many of you guys know about. (If you don’t, I highly recommend you heading over there and visiting often. Granted, there is a lot of badly edited crap sitting there forever on that list, however I noticed that especially recently some writers offer pretty decent stories for free for a limited amount of time (like for two or three days) and then story goes back to having a real price.) Anyway, I got myself a book called Flux by Kim Fielding ($4.99 for the Kindle edition) and it turned out to be the sequel to Stasis. I have not read Flux yet, but plan on rectifying it very soon because I really enjoyed this one. Stasis cost 99 cents and for the price it is quite a long book (not sure why some Amazon reviews kept calling it a short read, it is listed as estimated 215 pages and I think it was roughly correct).
I really liked the world-building in this book. Well “liked” is probably the wrong word because the way this future world punishes its prisoners is cruel and inhumane and something I definitely did not like, but I thought that overall it was very imaginative and quite original. And while for me it was definitely a future which I hope would never come, it has one of the most interesting magical systems as well. I really liked how the magic felt organic to that world and how it felt as if it was a living breathing thing, and I like when the rules of magic in the fantasy land are consistent and make sense. While there are unanswered questions, I thought whatever we were shown in this book made sense.
As the blurb tells us, Ennek is the youngest son of the ruler in Praesidium, and through the set of circumstances he sees one of the prisoners put in Stasis and eventually decides to save him because let’s just say that this man was in the state of nonstop torture for a very long time and I do not want to say more for the fear of spoilers.
I am not sure whether I would call this book a romance, though I suppose the beginning of a romance would be a better description, because the other protag, Miner, is a very passive figure for at least half of the book, or maybe even two thirds. It is all perfectly warranted by the plot and his circumstances, but from skimming the sequel I can see that you will see a lot more romance there.
I thought Ennek’s character’s development was wonderful though; he slowly changes from somebody who drifts through life without having a care in the world to somebody who is ready and willing to fight for the person he loves and for himself as well. I also thought that the interactions between them, when they actually started to interact, were really sweet and well done. I could believe in the love growing between them. Note that while there is no explicit sex in this book, there is one inexplicit scene in the end.
Lastly, for me, the book did not drag; in fact I thought it was paced pretty well.
Oh, and I did not notice the typos others have mentioned, but I would suggest reading the excerpt as I have a tendency to miss some typos.
I can’t wait to read the sequel.