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Thread: The Fade by Chris Wooding
October 31st, 2007, 10:57 AM #1
The Fade by Chris Wooding
The world of Callespa was long ago settled by humans. A rocky moon circling a much huger world (presumably a gas giant) in a binary system, the world became virtually uninhabitable when the stars' output dramatically increased. Humanity retreated underground, splintering into many tribes, leaving only those hardy people known as the SunChildren to dwell on the surface. For many years the nations of Eskara and the Gurta have been at war, a battle fought back and forth through vast subterrenean chambers with neither kingdom able to win a decisive advantage.
Massima Leithka Orna is a Bondswoman, an indentured servant of Clan Caracassa. She is also a member of her clan's Cadre, a collection of warriors and magic-wielders (known as chthonomancers) beyond compare, elite fighters at the front of every major push but also adept at assassination and espionage. During a brutal battle her forces are betrayed and her husband is killed. Taken prisoner to a Gurta fortress, Orna lives only to escape and find her son, now serving on the front lines.
The Fade is a terrific novel. Relatively short (just over 300 pages in hardcover) it is nonetheless superbly-written with vivid characters. The first-person narrative works well, as does the unusual structure (the present-day storyline alternates with flashbacks - in reverse order - showing Orna's history up until the point of her capture). Whilst the epic story of conflict between two civilisations forms the backdrop, the novel is much more concerned with Orna's emotional journey and her relationship with her late husband and her son, which is handled well with all the depth and complexity of real-life relationships. The underground steampunk-esque setting is extremely well-realised and atmospheric, as are the short sections set on the surface.
The Fade (****½) is a complete story in itself but a fair number of loose ends are left dangling for possible future sequels.
October 31st, 2007, 04:39 PM #2
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- Aug 2004
Sounds good. Wooding is a good writer but as long as he doesn't find an American publisher he'll remain a local player here in Europe.
By the way, Wooding's cult YA science fantasy series Broken Sky is back in print. Scholastic is publishing the series (7 slim volumes) in two omnibus editions. The first one is already out : Broken Sky : Twilight War. The next omnibus comes out in january and is called Broken Sky : Commnunion. Just a pity the awesome original cover art is replaced by new ugly covers. Still this looks a fun series.
October 31st, 2007, 08:58 PM #3
August 28th, 2009, 06:12 AM #4
Finished this recently and was mightily impressed. It's been a while since I've just consumed a book at great pace and found myself so thoroughly and enjoyably immersed.
I shall shortly pick up my massive omnibus edition of Chris Wooding's Braided Path trilogy with a hopeful heart.
Good work, Mr Wooding.
August 29th, 2009, 10:06 PM #5
August 30th, 2009, 05:39 AM #6
I love omnibuses (omnibii? omnibiea? omnibu?). You get that wonderful feeling of value-for-money, making up for those unexplainable money-wasting moments like when you bought a pop-up Terry Goodkind or the inflatable Rand Al'Thor.
August 30th, 2009, 06:59 PM #7