New Release and Review: Sunstone, by Holly Barbo




Sunstone on Amazon

Before there was a history, the sun goddess Navora visited a moon within her realm that held primitive ocean life. She dipped her staff of power into the primordial sea and stirred. Pleased with what she had wrought, she departed, not at all troubled that a divine spark had touched two small dying sea creatures. As centuries pass, life on the moon develops into a geothermal steam-powered industrial age. A triumvirate of politicians, banks and corporations bring strain and suffering to the masses they rule over. Unbeknownst to the people of the moon, there may be help. With the gears of time evermoving and trouble spiraling to a crisis point, can three individuals and a handful of fossils prevent a violent revolution?



My review: I don’t often read steampunk novels. It is a difficult genre to master without getting lost into gadgetry details at the expense of the plot, and I am picky. You won’t have that problem with Sunstone. The stakes laid out right at the very beginning are high, and they rise higher and higher as this world spirals fast into its own destruction. There is plenty of mystery shrouding this society, secrets which must be unraveled before all is lost, and the steampunk classic elements are there to enrich the story beautifully. It took root in my mind and I could not get it out of my head for days on end. I still think of parallels between the Sunstone society and ours. Sunstone is a very well-written steampunk thriller, a perfect example of the genre, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.



HollyHolly Barbo’s world is shaped by her love of her family, the beauty of the natural world in Northwest Washington State and an irrepressible creative drive.

Living where the scenery is incredible with a rich abundance of wildlife “is so special and soothing that it feels like a quiet kind of magic,” according to Barbo. She is drawn to creating stories where there is just a bit of something unworldly, perhaps it is magic or psychic skills. Her stories are mostly in non-urban settings and usually have some focus on nature, building a discordant drama inside the peaceful frame.

The above is the official author statement that I didn’t actually write. I’ve kept it as it is an accurate summation but here is the rest of the story:

You see, I never intended to write or to be an author though I have always written and told stories. I just never connected the two. I was working in my store.. actually nothing much was happening in the store. It was tax week of 2009 and things were very q.u.i.e.t. I was sitting at the computer and this story came out of my fingertips.

It probably started with me thinking of my Grandmother Chérie and how I would walk down the hill to see her at her cabin at the bend of the river. Throw in my love of raptors, the science/fantasy I enjoy reading and thoughts of the innocence we lose as we leave childhood. Sprinkle in characteristics of people I have known and places I have been. Add a dash of the only pet I ever had, even for a short time, my little skunk Thumper. (Yes, she had had her spray gland removed and I do still miss her.) Then finish with touches of my core beliefs and concerns about what is happening in our world.

These things were elements, colorful threads (“gems” as my cousin David would call them) that were woven into what ended up being a series of several books. The story was something that grew all by itself. Seriously! I don’t know where it came from. The first book was a little disconcerting as it was happening without my control. It was two years later, as I was querying for an agent, that I learned that I should have written a synopsis prior to starting the book. Oh. I missed that point.

I suppose all authors get attached to their characters. I have. I hope you do, too. There are currently five completed books in the Sage Seed Chronicles. I am working on an unrelated story called: Sunstone.

Follow Holly Barbo’s releases on Amazon. Connect with her here.


7 Replies to “New Release and Review: Sunstone, by Holly Barbo”

  1. I don’t read a lot of steampunk for the very reasons you mentioned. I have read a couple that were done well though. I’d read this because you loved it! Have a lovely weekend Ella:)

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