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  1. #1

    Chris Evans A Darkness Forged in Fire

    A Darkness Forged in Fire by Chris Evans. Anyone read it? Comments?

  2. #2
    Was there not a reply in this thread yesterday?

  3. #3
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    Yes there was. But a glitch in the SFFWorld temporal flux has meant that the comment has dematerialized elsewhere in the blogosphere and cannot be retrieved without pain of death. September 29th does not exist.

    Apologies.

    Mark / Hobbit
    Mark

  4. #4
    Would be writer? Sure. Davis Ashura's Avatar
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    So, that's what happened to my posts.
    Anyway, I finished the book a few days ago. It reads like a combination epic fantasy with Dark Lord (Dark Queen aka Shadow Monarch in this case) and a military fantasy.
    The epic fantasy part was actually a bit boring. The main character of that sequence, Kinowa, is a dark-touched elf - he's been marked by the Shadow Monarch, just like all the other elves who once made up the Iron Elves. That means they can't bond with a Wolf Oak, which is the central point of elven life. Thus, they serve the Empire, largely run by men. Kinowa kills an elven diplomat, who it turns out was serving the Shadow Monarch, and his Iron Elves are disbanded. He was their leader. Anyway, for political reasons, the Iron Elves are reformed, but the only elf in it will be their former commander, Kinowa. All the others are serving elsewhere.
    The reason this part is weak is because Kinowa is weak. He's supposed to be this near legendary figure, but over and over, whenever he is in danger, he's saved by the grace of lady luck. He's not really shown to have any particular skill as a military commander and his personality is also pretty dull. In other words, he's utterly forgettable. The romance between him and what's-her-name was also quite forced and unbelievable.
    The other part, the military fantasy part, is a lot more fun. The main character, Alwyn, is a bespectacled, young man, who joined up for all the wrong reasons. He's taken under the wing of a rough dwarf named Yimt who's seen and done everything. Their relationship, and the growth of Alwyn from terrified young man, to terrified young soldier is the strongest and most well-done part of this novel. Also, the author really seems to have an eye for the rough and tumble nature of a soldier's life.
    Overall, an inconsistent, but promising novel. If Evans can make the epic fantasy aspect as strong as the military fantasy aspect, this could be a very good series.
    Last edited by Davis Ashura; October 1st, 2008 at 07:41 AM.

  5. #5
    You have described the first few chapters which I just read. If the entire book follows the same vain, and it is only book one I am having a hard time maintaining interest. (it may be just me right now as I have a few other books on my to-read shelf which I am not up for right now either)

  6. #6
    Would be writer? Sure. Davis Ashura's Avatar
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    The first few chapters set the pace for the entire book. Alwyn grows and changes - not in a supernatural, magical way, but just as a soldier. That's the good. Kinowa, well, he's the same throughout. If he's interesting to you now, he will still remain so; if he's boring, he'll remain so.
    I'll give book 2 a try, but ilike I said before, if the epic fantasy portion becomes as good as the military portion, it could turn out to be a very good series. I'll be giving book 2 a try on that hope.

  7. #7
    Radone while I agree with most of what you said there is one point I will disagree with. The only reason Kinowa is legendary is not because he is some fantastic warrior or amazing general but because he killed the Viceroy who was working for the Shadow Monarch. He was not made out to be a Coltaine type character, a legendary warrior. Now granted I have only read halfway through so far but it looks like the strength of Kinowa will be how he will fight against becoming another minion to the Shadow Monarch. I do definitely agree with you that the fantasy aspect of the story so far is a little weak. But the book has some good humor and a few good characters like the Alwyn and the dwarf. Its a pretty light read and over all quite decent. Unless the second half goes really down hill I will definitely be picking up the second book and hope that the writing has grown. Overall a decent read so far for a debut novel but nothing spectacular.

  8. #8
    Would be writer? Sure. Davis Ashura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawkwind View Post
    Radone while I agree with most of what you said there is one point I will disagree with. The only reason Kinowa is legendary is not because he is some fantastic warrior or amazing general but because he killed the Viceroy who was working for the Shadow Monarch.
    I may have written a bit overmuch in that. However, there are a few statements that could easily lead a person to believe that the original Iron Elves that Kinowa commanded were a special breed of soldier. The elite of the elite. As their commander, you would expect Kinowa was also special in some way. Based on the reputation of the original Iron Elves, I would have expected that Kinowa would have been a special commander, but that is never demonstrated. That could be overlooked if Kinowa was interesting in some other way, but he's not. I think the rest of my description of him as somewhat flat and dull is unfortunately accurate.
    I did enjoy this book, but you pointed out the parts I liked, which were with Alwyn and Yimt. Those parts were enough to carry me to read book 2. However, if the entire book had been as weak as the Kinowa sections, I wouldn't be moving forward.

  9. #9
    Would be writer? Sure. Davis Ashura's Avatar
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    One last thing. This is a first book by a first time author. It shows promise. I will also say that the ending was good, and gave me hope that the epic fantasy part of the story will be much stronger in book 2. It also gives me hope that something different will be done with Kinowa.

  10. #10
    I'll just repost what I said on westeros:

    Not very good.

    I picked this book up knowing that it included elves, dwarves, orcs, and all that other standard trash; but I had heard that the author had used these old tropes intentionally in order to subvert them. I had heard wrong. The elves are graceful, wise, and nature-loving, the dwarves are surly and bearded, and the orcs, while remaining 'off-screen', are spoken of as dumb and violent. You know, all the standard crap. But the cliches aren't the only problem with this book: the world building, the characterization, and the writing itself were all mediocre to poor. The world was supposed to be a Napoleonic era analogue, but it was really just another medieval analogue with a few muskets thrown in, and not very fleshed out at that. The characters were all completely flat and cliche. I really didn't care about a single one of them. The writing was immature at best, and the 'humor' was juvenile, with witty remarks such as: "Do you mean His Arseness, the Prince?". And, something that really bothered me, the world didn't seem to have any rats, skunks, or boars, but seemed to be teeming with rat-dragons, skunk-dragons, and boar-dragons. And then we get to the story itself. Not much to say here; a newly formed regiment spends 400 pages marching to a destination for vague and not very well thought out reasons, and then there's a battle. The end. Not much else happens. Really, this book never gets much better than mediocre, and I caution you to stay away from it.... or at least not pay the hardcover price for it.

    So, anybody else here read this book? Care to share your opinions? Or was I, yet again, the only one suckered into buying a bad book?

  11. #11
    Would be writer? Sure. Davis Ashura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myshkin View Post
    So, anybody else here read this book? Care to share your opinions? Or was I, yet again, the only one suckered into buying a bad book?
    Well, I bought and read it. It seems my feelings and thoughts about it were more positive than yours. That might partly be because I've never really cared if tropes are subverted or not.

  12. #12
    Omnibus Prime Moderator PeterWilliam's Avatar
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    I just won book 2 in a giveaway. Given what I've read here, I'm interested to read both as soon as it gets in to see what evolution, if any, there might be to the development of the tale and author.

  13. #13
    I thought it started out well but seemed to lose steam for me. I rated it 3 out of five on Amazon. I was not upset that I purchased it but I didn't like it enought that I would buy the sequel.

  14. #14
    I read this last month, and I quite enjoyed it, I think mainly because I'd enjoyed the book I read before it so little.

    There are some nice ideas in there, but the middle part of the story did drag and didn't seem to go anywhere. I enjoyed the 'day-to-day' bits of the novel, especially the banter between characters, the 'mystical' bit I was less keen on.

    I'm interested to know where the series will go, so I'm somewhat interested in reading the next novel, but in all honesty it's nowhere near the top of my list.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterWilliam View Post
    I just won book 2 in a giveaway. Given what I've read here, I'm interested to read both as soon as it gets in to see what evolution, if any, there might be to the development of the tale and author.
    I hear you, Peter. I just won book 2 myself, over on Graeme's blog.
    My TBR pile is starting to get up there, let alone my wish list.

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