Friedman - Book Reviews

***** - Excellent
**** - Good
*** - Okay
** - Bad
* - Terrible
+ - Half-star

Black Sun Rising
(The Coldfire trilogy, Book 1)
C. S. Friedman
DAW
Fiction, Fantasy
****

DESCRIPTION: In the far future, humans have colonized the unstable planet Erna, at the edge of the galaxy. Not only do frequent earthquakes upset their new home, but a strange natural force known as the fae can create living demons of a person's fear, taking what they think and making it real. Over time, as memories of Earth faded, people learned that this force could be controlled, and magicians arose to manipulate the fae. Some worked it for good, while others dwelled on the darker aspects. Between them, they manage to make Erna habitable for the displaced humans. Neocount Gerald Tarrant, who almost single-handedly pulled humanity back from the brink of chaos with his Revivalist movement and mass-manipulation of the fae, has become the Hunter, an immortal creature whose lifeblood is the dark fae itself. The priest Damien Vryce, one of the few of his calling who feels the fae is not to be feared, finds himself working with the Hunter when a greater threat looms, one which has the fae-spawned nightmare demons rallying together and which even calls in one of the native Rakh, who have long ago withdrawn to a protected realm to avoid annihilation by the humans.

REVIEW: This was a neat idea, with good characters and plenty of action. Fairly swift-moving, it still is easy to get into. There were also some nice twists played on about the fae, and how humans essentially created this world from their own dreams and nightmares. (I am, however, getting a bit tired of authors who want to write fantasies, but feel obligated to wrap it in a far-future-sci-fi package.)

You might also enjoy:
Kiln People (David Brin, Fiction - In the future, people create clay duplicates to do their work... and commit their crimes)
The Inkheart trilogy (Cornelia Funke, YA Fiction - A girl's father can read things to life out of books)
The Book of Story Beginnings (Kristin Kladstrup, YA Fiction - Writing stories in a special journal makes them come to life, for good or ill)
Hot Chocolate for the Unicorn (Mary E. Lowd, Fiction - A woman prepares for two special visitors)
The Takers (R. W. Ridley, YA Fiction - 13-year-old Oz Griffin wakes from a fever to find that invisible monsters, escaped from a dead boy's comic book, have devastated the world)
Warbreaker (Brandon Sanderson, Fiction - A world of Returned immortals and powerful BioChroma magic stands on the brink of devastating war)
Frankenstein (Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly, Fiction - A man who thought to play God is tormented by his own abominable creation)
The Otherland quartet (Tad Williams, Fiction - A massive VR experiment gives tycoons godlike powers over virtual worlds)

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When True Night Falls
(The Coldfire trilogy, Book 2)
C. S. Friedman
DAW
Fiction, Fantasy
****

DESCRIPTION: Erna's eastern continent is shrouded in ancient mystery, across a treacherous ocean which few vessels dare to cross. It is here that Damien and the Hunter, with Hesseth the native Rakh, must go to further investigate the tide of dark fae that is threatening the entire planet. What they find is a land of seeming prosperity, where the fae's irregularities have apparently been tamed and humans live in a demon-free paradise. This perfection masks a terrible darkness on which the eastern civilization was founded, for the fae here has not been eradicated. It has merely been turned to other, darker things.

REVIEW: Another good tale in the Coldfire trilogy, with more on the unlikely partnership of Father Damien and the Hunter. The secrets they find on the far continent further play with the intriguing concept of the fae, and how humanity attempts to harness it for their own ends despite its inherently uncontrollable nature.

You might also enjoy:
Kiln People (David Brin, Fiction - In the future, people create clay duplicates to do their work... and commit their crimes)
The Inkheart trilogy (Cornelia Funke, YA Fiction - A girl's father can read things to life out of books)
The Book of Story Beginnings (Kristin Kladstrup, YA Fiction - Writing stories in a special journal makes them come to life, for good or ill)
Hot Chocolate for the Unicorn (Mary E. Lowd, Fiction - A woman prepares for two special visitors)
The Takers (R. W. Ridley, YA Fiction - 13-year-old Oz Griffin wakes from a fever to find that invisible monsters, escaped from a dead boy's comic book, have devastated the world)
Warbreaker (Brandon Sanderson, Fiction - A world of Returned immortals and powerful BioChroma magic stands on the brink of devastating war)
Frankenstein (Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly, Fiction - A man who thought to play God is tormented by his own abominable creation)
The Otherland quartet (Tad Williams, Fiction - A massive VR experiment gives tycoons godlike powers over virtual worlds)

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Crown of Shadows
(The Coldfire trilogy, Book 3)
C. S. Friedman
DAW
Fiction, Fantasy
***

DESCRIPTION: Most demons on Erna are merely constructs of the fae, no more alive than a figure in a dream. There are some, which call themselves Iezu, that seem of a different origin. Like all demons, they feed on specific human emotions, but unlike others they appear to be sentient creatures, persisting for centuries. Many act as demigods, rewarding human followers with fae manipulations that, in turn, feed them with the needed emotional response. One of these Iezu, the demon Calesta, has more ambitious plans. He wants to remake humanity through fae manipulation, as humans themselves altered native animals to their liking. Calesta wishes the species to become nothing more than tools to feed his hunger for pain and suffering. He is already close to victory. Damien and Tarrant must race to unravel the mystery of the Iezu's origins and find a vulnerability in their seemingly indestructible enemy before it is too late.

REVIEW: I was disappointed in this volume. The ending wasn't as conclusive or satisfying as I had hoped it would be. It was okay, but not up to the previous two books.

You might also enjoy:
Kiln People (David Brin, Fiction - In the future, people create clay duplicates to do their work... and commit their crimes)
The Inkheart trilogy (Cornelia Funke, YA Fiction - A girl's father can read things to life out of books)
The Book of Story Beginnings (Kristin Kladstrup, YA Fiction - Writing stories in a special journal makes them come to life, for good or ill)
Hot Chocolate for the Unicorn (Mary E. Lowd, Fiction - A woman prepares for two special visitors)
The Takers (R. W. Ridley, YA Fiction - 13-year-old Oz Griffin wakes from a fever to find that invisible monsters, escaped from a dead boy's comic book, have devastated the world)
Warbreaker (Brandon Sanderson, Fiction - A world of Returned immortals and powerful BioChroma magic stands on the brink of devastating war)
Frankenstein (Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly, Fiction - A man who thought to play God is tormented by his own abominable creation)
The Otherland quartet (Tad Williams, Fiction - A massive VR experiment gives tycoons godlike powers over virtual worlds)

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