the_author() rating onrating onrating onrating onrating off

STONE BURNERS

Surprisingly Unique and Coherent

By tkjarrah, author of blacklight

Dec 11, 2015: The world of Stone Burners, at its most basic level, is a massive, disparate melting pot of ideas. "Superpowers, sure. Dystopia, why not. Magic, screw it. Aliens, gotta have aliens. Uhh, ancient gods? Yeah, that’ll work." It’s a very easy recipe for disaster, and yet, Stone Burners not only makes it work, but actually exceeds it and manages to tell a really good story.

The plot begins with a girl waking up in an alleyway, with no memory and no clothes. Oh, and dragon wings and claws. Amnesia’s a bit of a cliche, but again, it works, and works well, and soon she meets a few other supers, the beginnings of the group that will (presumably) eventually be named the Stone Burners. The characters are all distinct and likeable, even if some of them take a while to get there, but none more so than Olivia, the amnesiac dragon girl. She’s genuinely endearing, in a way that’s often hard to pull off.

If there’s one major issue I have with the characters, it’s the dialect. It gets toned down later on, but at the beginning, one character speaks in a transliterated dialect that’s actually painful to read at some moments, and it really detracts from the immersion and reading experience. Also, character description can be inconsistent, and I personally have a good idea of the appearance of about half the characters, and not even sure of the race of some of the others.

The plot moves along at a good pace, but never feels like it’s rushing thanks to some decent downtime, and the only time events don’t feel like a natural succession to what came before is when they shouldn’t. The worldbuilding is pretty heavy-handed and "as you know" early on, but gets better and more natural as it progresses. One standout example is the occasionally-heard news broadcasts, which seem to evoke a more comedically Orwellian tone than the rest of the story.

Overall, Stone Burners is well worth a read, especially now, as the story seems to be progressing into a ‘beginning of the end’ type of deal. Go check it out, even if superhero fiction isn’t your thing; you might be surprised.

4 of 4 members found this review helpful.
Help us improve!  Request an invite or log in to rate this review.