Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Review: A Darkness Forged in Fire - Chris Evans

A Darkness Forged in Fire by Chris Evans

Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2008
Pages: 432

We do not fear the flame, though it burns us,
We do not fear the fire, though it consumes us,
And we do not fear its light,
Though it reveals the darkness of our souls,
For therein lies our power.
-- Blood Oath of the Iron Elves

In this world, Konowa Swift Dragon, former commander of the Empire's elite Iron Elves, is looked upon as anything but ordinary. He's murdered a Viceroy, been court-martialed, seen his beloved regiment disbanded, and finally been banished in disgrace to the one place he despises the most -- the forest.

Now, all he wants is to be left alone with his misery, but for Konowa, nothing is ever that simple. The mysterious and alluring Visyna Tekoy, the highborn daughter of an elfkynan governor, seeks him out in the dangerous wild with a royal decree that he resume his commission as an officer in Her Majesty's Imperial Army, effective immediately.

For in the east, a falling Red Star heralds the return of a magic long vanished from the earth. Rebellion grows within the Empire as a frantic race to reach the Star unfolds. It is a chance for Konowa to redeem himself -- even if the entire affair appears doomed to be a suicide mission, and that the soldiers recruited for the task are not at all what he expects. And worse, his key adversary in the perilous race for the Star is the dreaded Shadow Monarch -- a legendary elf-witch whose machinations for absolute domination spread deeper than Konowa could ever imagine.

I do like good old fantasy, rich worlds with complex histories, that is what world building is about. This was good fantasy.

The book begins and we learn that the former Governoner of Elfkyna was murdered, but a decorated officer named Konowa. But the governor was working for the dreaded Shadow Monarch, still there was a price to be paid. The Iron Elves were sent away and he was sent to the forest. He is not a normal elf, he was born with the dark mark and he does not care for trees. That is what the Iron Elves are, outcasts.

But something is happening and the Iron Elves stand again and he is called out from the forest. He is to lead them and find the red star, perhaps with that they can gain some power to fight the wicked witch of the North.

Konowa, well he angry, bit of a bastard sometimes, hates those trees and not a nice guy really. You would think, he would do anything for his Iron elves and he hates the Shadow Monarch and what she has done to him. You grow to like him, and bit by bit there are other sides of him. He is more than he seem to be. This is also shown when he meets Visyna. A tiny bit of romance that is not shown but that I want.

Some called this military fantasy, and that fits. The author know about military history and he uses that knowledge. He knows what he is writing about, and makes it enjoyable.

There is a great deal of fighting, and talking. A strange book that I well was rather neutral about at first. Then suddenly I was at page 150 and I could not stop reading. It had grabbed me and I had not known when and where. I wanted more so I finished it quickly without too many breaks in between. Good fantasy can do that.

This is a book that I would recommend to fantasy fans, for others, well I fear the military aspects could be a bit dry. I enjoyed it but perhaps this sort of fantasy is not for everyone.

But he has created a great world where the Human empire has spread out by the means of imperial forces and they have conquered the elves, orcs, the elfkynan and the dwarves. The world is ruled by men, and they see the rest of the races as a bit lesser. There are rebellions of course, and the elves, they only cares for their trees. I am happy that I have the next book so that i can see what will happen, The Shadow Monarch is out to rule the world, and the rest of the world really need to put their differences aside to win this fight.


  1. I've heard a lot of good things about this book! I have another "military fantasy" author on my shelves that I haven't read yet- Dave Duncan. Should give the genre a try...

  2. I've never read military fantasy, but it sounds like something I'd enjoy. You're always introducing me to new types of books, and I thank you for that!

    Diary of an Eccentric

  3. I read the second in this series first and loved it. I need to go back and read this one. It's sitting on my shelf now.

  4. I am impressed that you got to page 150 before giving up. I don't know if I would have given the book that much effort. Although it sounds like it was worth finishing.

  5. Aarti,
    Aha I read two books by Duncan once but those were not military. But it was a nice mix, I guess Naomi Noviks are rather like them too.

    Good, I truly enjoyed it. He had this way of grabbing you and not letting you go before finishing, and it was one thick paperback :)

    I got the 2nd and had to buy the first, I am glad I enjoyed it so now i have more before me.

    Oh no, I finished all 600 pages and loved it. I meant that I was rather neutral in the beginning but enough to keep me going (trust me, I give up at page 20, that is why so many of my library books don't get reviewed. ) This one was I kept on reading and was far ahead without seeing it

  6. I got tagged, now your it. There's a Wednesday Meme called What's on Your Desk Wednesday? Want to play?

    Stop by and check it out :D


  7. Hi Bev,
    I will have a look at your desk, did it once but had no perhaps I can change that to next week :)

  8. Yep, I'm a fantasy nerd so I think this would definitely be a book for me! Great review, I'll be looking for this title!

  9. I won Book 2 this past summer, but I need to hunt down a copy of A Darkness Forged in Fire. Great review, I'm been looking forward to this series. Fighting and military actions don't daunt me, sounds encouraging.

  10. Krista,
    Cool, you're a fantasy nerd, then you should give this one a try. He just takes hold of you, a great writer.

    I won it too, so wanted book 1. Good, cos there are a lot of that, he writes about it in a great way and I have always been interested so good for me. Give him a try :)

  11. Oh that is so how humans would be too, if this was real.
    Sounds like a good book. Thanks B!

  12. Jenny,
    So true, we would just go on conquering. It was a good one...I really wanna dip into book 2 but have a bunch of Sookie novels to read first



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