Ennek and Miner have fled the Praesidium, but they are far from free. Ennek carries the mark of his demented mentor and remains bound to the man’s wild power as a result. And Miner still carries the iron collar of slavery around his neck, signaling to all his status. Between them they have friendship and a furthering of the love they share, but danger seems to be lying in wait for them.
Pirates, shipwrecks, and a dangerous wizard threaten to tear Ennek and Miner apart and, as a result, each man is forced to find a new source of strength. For Ennek it means confronting the part of him that desires to give into his magic and risk becoming wholly consumed by it. Miner must overcome his terror of water and take his place as Ennek’s true equal. If either man fails, neither may survive.
Flux is the direct sequel to Stasis and this series must be read in order if you want the plot to make even an iota of sense. It takes up soon after Stasis ends. Miner and Ennek are on the run, but almost from the start they are beset by problems. All in all I felt that Flux was a stronger book than Stasis, which is unusual for the second in a series. The pacing was good and the action consistent. It reads very quickly and while it lacks some of the emotive depth of Stasis (i.e. the author’s horrific descriptions of life in a Stasis reality), it has a natural flow that really works.
The characters are still somewhat flat and hard to connect with, but there was growth as well, especially on the part of Miner. We learn quite a bit more about his past and as a result many of his actions start to make more sense. It’s still difficult to see why Ennek cares so much for Miner as he is somewhat lacking in emotion. But at this point, they work well enough as a couple that it’s easier to forget about the why and simply enjoy them together. There is, towards the end of the novel, a bit of predestination involving a brand and their status as lovers, which is over the top, but it doesn’t overshadow the rest of the story.
My only real frustration with Flux was its repetition. There are three main instances of separation and salvation that take place between Miner and Ennek. And while they are interconnected and the plot holds up, it doesn’t feel particularly original by the time we get to the third event. They’re too predictable and lacking in enough oomph to remain compelling. So given, this why do I still say this is a better book than Stasis? Because I remained invested in the characters and their journey by the end of Flux. My interest had definitely started to wan by the time Stasis finished, but with its sequel, I felt there was the potential for some fairly interesting action on the horizon.
Though Flux had some issues with a repetitive storyline and still lacked some of the character depth I’ve come to expect from this author, it was a solid fantasy novel with a fairly interesting overall plot. Miner and Ennek do draw our interest as readers and given how much they’ve been through we want to stick around and see what happens next. Anyone who enjoyed Stasis will enjoy Flux as well and for anyone intrigued, I would strongly recommend starting with Stasis first.
A review copy of this book was provided by DSP Publications.