In Stone and Steel, when General Aaliyah returns triumphant to the city of Titus, she expects to find the people prospering under the rule of her Queen, the stone mage Odessa. Instead, she finds a troubling imbalance in both the citizens’ well-being and Odessa’s rule. Aaliyah must rely on all of her allies, old and new, to do right by the city that made her.
Amazon Link: Stone and Steel
Author: Eboni Dunbar
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Rating: 3/5 stars
I wanted to highlight this book because although it has some rough edges, it’s very unique. The author seems to be very new and I think she’ll be worth watching in the future.
This was a short read and could have used more development in the world and magic. But what’s there is an amazing queer Black story of revolution and betrayal. Aaliyah anchors the story as a general who serves her queen, but also sees how her queen has failed to live up to her promises. You can see how much she cares about all her people and their welfare, and why that leads her to such a difficult choice.
The writing was a little rough, but I’m not sure if some of that was intentional because the formatting seemed to be messed up in my ebook. Paragraphs ran together so it was sometimes hard to tell who was speaking or doing something. At least there was only one POV because switching narrators would have made things more confusing.
It was so interesting to see how queer and nonbinary people were accepted as the norm in this society, even in the military. I wanted to know more about everything. It was all over too fast. I hope the author expands this novella into a longer story or writes another story in this world.
LGBT representation: lots! Queer men, queer women, nonbinary people, all normalized in society and treated with respect.
Here is my entry in my reading journal: