Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle Reading App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Drew Karpyshyn is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Darth Bane: Rule of Two, Star Wars: Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, and the Mass Effect novels Revelation and Ascension, as well as several other fantasy and science fiction novels. He is also an award-winning writer/designer for the computer game company BioWare, where he was lead writer on Mass Effect and the blockbuster Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic video game. He lives in Canada's hinterlands with his wife, Jen, and their cat.
If you like very dark fantasy, then you will most likely be very pleased with this novel. I think this book would have been a three star reading experience for me because of the unrelenting darkness, heaviness and feeling of deep anxiousness that constantly weighed me (and the story) down, except for the fact that it was so well written. Also, it was rather confusing trying to figure out why Chaos was considered so bad and yet all the main characters were filled with Chaos and everybody wanted to use or control or exploit the Chaos they had, so it became a detrimental aspect for me. After reading over 400 pages I finally got to the section where the author had one character explain to other characters the history and meaning behind Chaos. I had worked all that time digging the meaning and implications out myself when Drew Karpyshyn could have lessened my feeling of frustration at the beginning of the novel. This is a story about a being who was left in charge of the mortal world by the Old Gods, but who succumbed to the need to control Chaos, calling it just magic is a little too simplistic, so had to be banished behind a veil for the protection of humankind. The Slayer has been trying to pierce the veil of Legacy ever since to once more rule the mortal world. There are four children who were born under the sign of the burning moon who are touched by Chaos in ways which set them apart. Some know of this difference, some do not. In order for The Slayer to once more rule, he must posses three articles, talismans, through which Chaos can be channeled and controlled. As we watch the four main characters grow up we see their lives touched more and more by the strengthening of Chaos and the consequences of needing to learn how to control whatever aspect of Chaos is present in their life.Read more ›
Drew Karpyshyn is an established writer of both books and video games, with ten previous novels to his name. Those works, however, were all tie-in fiction (based on "shared worlds" or video games), including his famous Darth Bane series of books. _Children of Fire_ is based in an original fantasy world, and is a solid first effort in what is schedule to be a larger series.
My biggest complaint about the book deals with the first third of the material - it is both boring and stereotypical. The prologue starts with the generic big-bad-evil-enemy doing his dastardly thing, which leads to the birth of the Children of Fire. Then we have four more similar and mostly boring chapters focusing on kids being born. Sigh. Skimming those chapters over again for this review, I can honestly say that they could have been cut without any alteration to the reader's understanding of what is going on later in the book. In fact, the majority of the first third of this overly-long book could have been cut with ease.
Eventually, things pick up. There's action, suspense, exploration of the history of the world, and all the things that make fantasy books worth reading in my mind. But you have to get past that first third of the material to do it. Editors, where were you on this one?
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars. After a painful first third of the material, things get interesting. I will also give future books in this series a chance.
Having read many of Drew Karpyshn's works before, mostly his Star Wars work, I knew going in that no matter how the book panned out it was going to be a well written tale. But having read his work before I also knew that even though it was going to be a well written book it also had the potential to fall flat on its face. Now, having read all 512 pages, I can say it has done just that.
Children of Fire is a story of four children born under a blood moon. This birth leaves the four with the power to see into the future and harness the power of Chaos. This power also makes them targets for the Order, who wish to control those who have this gift. As the book progresses these two foes cross paths and struggle against each other for control of the future.
For me this book was right up my alley. I never really enjoyed fantasy books before as I never saw wizards and dragons anything other than a little silly, but the majority of this book has little of that in it. The bulk of the book deals with humanoid characters that rarely use magic or spells. There is no poetry or riddle that wizards weave into weapons, and there are no trolls or elves battling it out with evil smoke beings. And not even a dragon appears until the very end, so this is my style of fantasy.
What I did like about the book was the focus on the four main characters, although two of them carry the bulk of the book. Drew does a fine job showing their lives as they grow from birth to adulthood. One problem I did have was that near the end of the book the male character seemed to advance way too quickly, and went from inexperienced novice to powerful expert in only a few chapters.Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
As would be expected from the first book of a planned trilogy, this book focuses on setting up the pieces on the board.
Unfortunately, with four major and several secondary characters being developed simultaneously, there's a lot of pages where the only action is waiting expectantly for something to happen - before the character runs, hides, or is captured.
Fortunately, the excellent writing style and the artifice of jumping years between character perspectives, does somewhat make up for this initial pace.
In the final reckoning, I found the story just a bit too familiar for fans of fantasy - the standard motifs are all present (evil imprisoned, children learning their powers, powerful artifacts, ...) and behave just as expected. It was also a bit too reminiscent of Tolkien (rings of power, omniscience via artifact, NazGul-like minions, evil banished, ...) Though, I have to admit that I'm okay with all that - I'm a sucker for fantasy - and derivative does not always equal bad.
With the author's background, this might yet be an epic as the story develops, but it's not there just yet.
Was this review helpful to you?