Customer Reviews


6 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5.0 out of 5 stars Pain mages
Live thread books favourite series for a while it's set up further next book to be the final one but I hope that's not the case
Published 10 months ago by Mr. S. Walker

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A reasonable improvement on the first book
Mahala teeters on the brink of chaos. Private investigator and secret pain mage Rojan Dizon has halted a great evil that was being undertaken in the bowels of the city, but in the process has put the way of life for hundreds of thousands of people in jeopardy. The neighbouring kingdoms are threatening war, the city is weeks away from losing all power and the new...
Published 9 months ago by A. Whitehead


Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A reasonable improvement on the first book, 17 Oct 2013
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Before the Fall: Book 2 of the Rojan Dizon Novels (Paperback)
Mahala teeters on the brink of chaos. Private investigator and secret pain mage Rojan Dizon has halted a great evil that was being undertaken in the bowels of the city, but in the process has put the way of life for hundreds of thousands of people in jeopardy. The neighbouring kingdoms are threatening war, the city is weeks away from losing all power and the new Archdeacon finds his position under threat. Dizon, now wearing a different face and name, finds his work cut out for him if he wants to put things right.

Before the Fall is the second novel in the Rozan Dijon trilogy, picking up shortly after the events of Fade to Black and exploring the consequences of events in that novel. I found the first novel in this trilogy to be enjoyable but suffering from some of the problems typically associated with debut novels: inconsistent characterisation and worldbuilding, and a general lack of polish. Before the Fall is, happily, a more coherent and tighter novel. There is much less reliance on eyebrow-raising coincidences, the background is more sharply defined and the novel helps to fix some of the issues from the first, doing a better job of exploring the dichotomy between the city's official line that there is nothing 'outside' the city but people knowing a fair bit about their neighbouring powers.

The novel spends a lot of time examining the consequences of the first book, or what happens after the 'happy ending'. The consequences from Fade to Black are messy, complex and there are no easy answers. Dizon, having played the hero in the first book, finds himself now saddled with the responsibility for these issues and runs himself ragged trying to deal with everything, from a project to provide fresh power for the city to social unrest from the reintroduction of a previously exiled underclass to the city. The fact there are also religious and political forces in opposition to Dizon's operations adds an additional layer of complexity to the plot.

Rather than buckling under the weight of the narrative, Knight is able to tie it into a fairly satisfying whole. Dizon rises to the occasion as a self-appointed administrator and troubleshooter and there is a bit less of the blundering around like a bull in a china shop that was his preferred tactic in the first book (at least until the end, which this tendency reappears). He is certainly a more mature and more interesting character this time around. However, some of the supporting cast - most notably Jake - fade into the background in this volume.

There are some satisfying plot twists, rather than the more implausible ones of the first book, but a few issues remain. The ending feels a bit rushed and Dizon doesn't really resolve things through planning and intelligence but through blind luck, so the ending retains an element of being contrived. I'd like to see Dizon having more agency in actually figuring out how to resolve things intelligently next time around. There's also the over-use of a form of 'kryptonite' discovered in the previous novel which can neutralise mages easily and suddenly all of the bad guys very conveniently have access to lots of it.

Before the Fall (***) is a big improvement on the previous novel, but still arguably fails to reach its full potential. However, it is still an enjoyable fantasy novel set against a striking backdrop. It is available now in the UK and USA. The concluding volume, Last to Rise, is published next month.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Solid fantasy noir sequel, 16 Dec 2013
This review is from: Before the Fall: Book 2 of the Rojan Dizon Novels (Paperback)
It's several weeks after FADE TO BLACK. Rojan and Dendal have set up a licensed mage business but not everyone in Mahala's got the message that magic is now legal. Tensions have been running high since the Downworlders came up from below, the hostilities with the Upworlders fuelled by the fact that with the Pit shut down for good there's a chronic power shortage, which Rojan and Pasha are trying to rectify by using their magic to power a generator built by Dwarf and Lise.

But Mahala's enemies sense its weakness and are beginning to lay siege. Dwarf and Lise are trying to build batteries to solve the blackouts while Rojan looks for more pain mages to help power it. So far their attempts have come to nothing and the last thing Rojan needs is for someone to start murdering Downworlder boys. With the city a tinder box, it won't take much for Mahala to turn in on itself and as always, Rojan is right in the middle of it ...

Francis Knight's fantasy noir sequel to FADE TO BLACK is richly imagined and really explores the consequences and fall-out from the first book. However, for me the plot took too long to get going and although I enjoyed Rojan's inner battle with the blackness that threatens to drag him into full on mage insanity, his constant protestations as to his amorality wear thin as there is no danger of him not doing the right thing. There are some good twists but the overall feeling is one of filler and as such, although I didn't enjoy it as much as the first book I will definitely read the conclusion to the trilogy.

The main issue for me is that the plot takes too long to get going. The set-up of the murders comes early but it takes Rojan too long to make the link that the reader guesses immediately and then there's little impetus to his investigation as he gets distracted by other plot strands. I enjoyed the exploration of his relationship with Perak and especially Pasha who calls him on his behaviour but some of the character deaths are dealt with too easily and are little more than there to move the plot.

There's a great twist at the end and a set up for an interesting final book, which I will definitely be reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Pain mages, 26 Sep 2013
By 
Mr. S. Walker ":)" (scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Live thread books favourite series for a while it's set up further next book to be the final one but I hope that's not the case
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A good follow up, 27 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I enjoyed the first of this series and I am pleased to say this next book follows on nicely. Rojas as a character continues to develop and I like the way his character works to continue the gruff facade. You get to see the man beneath the facade and as much as he may protest he is not - you get to see the good man underneath. The story is solid - though the killer when revealed was not a great surprise. This was a by the numbers plot on the whole - but a final twist does reveal a deeper plot. I am hoping the author continues to develop this character as he is shaping up nicely.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Cracking Story and joy to read, 14 July 2013
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Before the Fall: Book 2 of the Rojan Dizon Novels (Paperback)
If you're looking for something a little different in the Fantasy genre then Francis Knight is an author that you have to try, she's created a wonderful inventive world and a whole concept of magic that really hasn't been touched upon before. Yet for all the work that has gone into this, the real triumph is her characters, they're vivid, are easy to picture and as the tale unfurls are a whole set of people that you really can't help but want to spend time with.

Add to this solid prose, a kickass plotline and when added to an arc that really doesn't let up from the word go all round gives the fantasy reader something to really get their teeth into. A real joy to behold. I can't wait to see what happens next.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars I love these books, 27 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Novel and interesting. I love these books.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Before the Fall: Book 2 of the Rojan Dizon Novels
Before the Fall: Book 2 of the Rojan Dizon Novels by Francis Knight (Paperback - 18 Jun 2013)
7.19
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews