Series: Ennek Series
Author: Kim Fielding
LGBTQ+ Category: Gay
Publisher: DSP Publications
Reviewer: J. Scott Coatsworth
About The Book
Ennek Trilogy: Book One
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 worst punishment—to be suspended in a dreamless frozen state known as Stasis—is doled out by the wizard and reserved for only the most serious of traitors.
Ennek is the youngest son of Praesidium’s strict Chief. Though now a successful portmaster, Ennek grew up without much of a purpose, unable to fulfill his true desires and always skating on the edge of the law.
But he is also haunted by the plight of one man, Miner, a prisoner for whom Stasis appears to be a truly horrible fate. If Ennek is to save Miner, he must explore Praesidium’s deepest secrets as well as his own.
Stasis is the first book I’ve read by Kim Fielding. It won’t be the last.
I went in not knowing what to expect, other than that it was a fantasy about some guy named Ennek. The cover is gorgeous, but like the story itself, it hides many secrets.
“Stasis” is, first and foremost, an other-world fantasy in a medieval world that has a few modern conveniences (running water, for one). It kicks off the story of Prince Ennek and a slave named Miner, which continues in “Flux” and concludes in “Equipose.” It’s been a long time since I had the chance to read a good fantasy tale, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
I wouldn’t classify it as an epic fantasy, per se. For one, it’s a single POV tale – told from Ennek’s point of view – and it’s focused in one place and time.
That’s not to say the worldbuilding isn’t exquisite. The “polis” (a contraction of metropolis) of Praesidium comes through clearly in this tale, communicated to us through small details that slowly build a complete picture. From the docks through the city taverns and up to the keep, we see all levels of Praesidium society, first through Ennek’s eyes and then through Miner’s as Ennek starts to see his world differently because of Miner’s influence in his life.
There’s a nice parallel here too between how slaves are treated in this society and how it views and deals with its gays.
“Stasis” is not a romance per se, but it does contain one. The slow burn between Ennek and Miner as their relationship grows is beautifully done, and Miner’s slave status is well handled by Fielding too. I never felt like Ennek was taking advantage of Miner because of the difference in societal status between them – doing do would have changed the whole tone of Ennek’s character.
The magic in this world is fascinating too, especially the eponymous “Stasis.” Dealing with criminals and dissidents by putting them into frozen stasis for decades or centuries seems fairly benign, until you consider the fact that these prisoners lose everything and everyone they knew as they outlive them, and that some of them are aware of their condition but trapped in it like a fly in amber.
If I have any criticism of the book, it’s that I want to see more of this world, and learn more about the magic and how it works. Luckily Fielding has that covered, with two more books available in this great fantasy trilogy.
If you’re looking for a great fantasy tale with a queer twist, or just a good fantasy book period, I highly recommend “Stasis.”
Scott is the founder of Queer Sci Fi, and a fantasy and sci fi writer in his own right, with more than 30 published short stories, novellas and novels to his credit, including two trilogies.