5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Original and intriguing, but a little slow in places,
This review is from: Black Sun Rising: The Coldfire Trilogy: Book One (Paperback)
Black Sun Rising has been my introduction to the world of Celia Friedman. It provides a new twist on the way that magicians are portrayed (not a pointy hat or flowing robe in sight) and also the way that magic is portrayed. In this world, there are energies constantly flowing (known as Fae), all of which are based around an element and all of which can be manipulated by a suitably skilled adept.
Adepts can only manipulate one of the energy types and this is quite a neat mechanism which allows the characters to be imperilled and doesn't allow the reader the luxury of assuming that they can get just use their magic to get themselves out of trouble. For example, one of the main characters can manipulate Earth Fae, but when he is on a sea voyage, the earth Fae are too far away for him to access their power.
The story follows the usual small group of people and their adventures through the land. Other races are encountered with varying degrees of success as they battle to defeat the "Evil Power". Also interesting is that like George RR Martin, Friedman incorporates a duality to the characters which allows you to like the "evil" and dislike the "good" as the story progresses. One particularly interesting character is "The Hunter" who is an expert in his field, but has matured into a distinctly nasty piece of work.
One thing worth mentioning is that this story is quite a bit darker than you are used to, where the characters use various foul means to generate a negative emotion (like fear) and then feed off them. A good, concise description would be an emotional vampire. As well as the dark themes, there are a number of quite graphic scenes which are certainly harder hitting than you would think.
In giving a mark to the book, I find myself a little torn. It is undoubtedly intriguing and the second half moves at a fair pace, but I did find it a little hard going to start with. I was toying with a 3-star rating, but when it comes down to it, I did enjoy the story and I would certainly like to encourage others to try it out, so I've settled on my rating at 4.
If you like your fantasy dark, this will be right up your alley and if you're getting a little sated with the standard fantasy plotlines and concepts, this is a good place to find something different.