Been a while since I reviewed a short story, so let’s start strong with some black queer spec-fic stuff.
Today’s review is A Sin for Freedom by Eboni J. Dunbar, as featured in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. You can read it here. A powerful tale of womanhood, forbidden love, and epic fight scenes. So let’s get into it, shall we?
The Freedom to Sin.
The story follows Slati Mobe, a maid under the watch of a Mother named Zafoura, both of whom have sinned for the Empire, and now seek to end their oppressive regime and free themselves of the Great Mother’s rule.
The story is very much a nod to Christian groups out to harm LGBT groups, yet stands on its own regardless. While the messaging is clear, it doesn’t hold hands. You and I both know what this is about. That said, I really enjoyed the story and the dynamic between all the characters.
Though I used the word Mother before, the story makes a disctinction between a religious mother and a blood-related mother. The latter are referred to as “birthers,” as in the mother that gave birth, rather than a nun of some kind. The Great Mother, of course, being the head of all Mothers. Given men aren’t seen in this story, it’s a good distinction to make.
One of the main themes is the Sin of Lust, namely the lesbian romances that exist throughout, including Slati with her love interest, Rin, who herself is a princess. Of course, back then, commoner/royalty relations were itself sinful in its own right, though the Mothers in this story are not as concerned about that as they are two women being romantic.
The pacing and writing were strong throughout. The story had a clear beginning, middle, and end, and the characters were all very well written. Seeing the powerful warrior girl vibe is also a good bonus. The fight scenes were wonderfully written and felt epic towards the end.
Only minor thing is I would have liked to see a bit more focus on Slati and Rin’s relationship more often aside from a few scenes here and there. Given that it’s a central relationship within the story, seeing more of it would have been nice.
Overall, this is a good story to start the year off at Silver Claw. A Sin For Freedom is well crafted queer fantasy that’s a gripping as it is entertaining. I’d definitely give this a read when you can.
That’s all for today. If you enjoyed this review and want to see more, then help support the inn by becoming a patron. Patrons get special perks such as WIP updates, possible cameo appearances as background characters, and free ebooks upon launch. Also, the full version of Moonlight Blade will be available on Patreon, while episodes will release on a weekly basis.
Moonlight Blade is coming soon, and I can’t wait for you all to adventure with Luca and Tsuki as they become heroes of both Earth and Arcana. Until then, Silver Claw is always open.