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Fade to Black (A Rojan Dizon Novel) Paperback – February 26, 2013
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"The persistent sense of lurking danger along with Rojan's inner conflict between apathy and authentic emotion contribute to an absorbing read."―RT Book Reviews
"Knight's debut recalls the vibrant, urban-based fantasies of China Miéville, Jay Lake, and Glen Cook. Combining traces of steampunk with urban noir fantasy, this story should appeal to fans of most fantasy variants."―Library Journal
"A brilliant adventure/mystery which totally lived up to the cover... A thoroughly enjoyable read with plenty of twists and turns, and darkness enough to make the title perfectly apt. Highly recommended."―thebookbag.co.uk
"Fade to Black is superb, and raises the benchmark quite high indeed for 2013's other debut fantasies. Very highly recommended."―Civilian Reader
"A savage stab at organised religion and social control... emotionally powerful."―Sun (UK) on Fade to Black
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Top Customer Reviews
It starts off with Rojan, the protagonist, trying to catch a runaway girl, who tries to electrocute him and set him on fire when he goes after her, and keeps at that level of action until the last page of the book.
Rojan, while a little ruff around the edges at first is a likable protagonist who over the course of the next few books in the series has the potential to really grow into a fantastic protagonist. Now, the character I really would have liked to have read more about was Dendal. Everything I read about Dendal I really enjoyed and in my opinion he has the potential to offer the story some Yoda style wisdom to help explain some of the happenings of the events as well as some comedic relief. I’m not saying the other characters were bad, in fact I really liked most of the characters, I just really liked Dendal and would like to read more of him.
One of my only problems with the book was the way that the author, Knight, kept repeating herself. I understand that she was trying to make the points that; that Rojan was scared of his magic and didn’t like to use it, that he was a womanizer, and that the synthtox, the predecessor of the glow, killed loads of people including Rojan’s mother. But the number of times I read and re-read these points was ridiculous and began getting a bit annoying as it takes the reader out the story and detracts from the overall level of enjoyment in the book.
That said, this was Knight’s first book, and I really enjoyed it overall.Read more ›
Starting with the premise, the author really does nail the world. The city's backstory is intriguing, the strata and what they say about Rojan's (and our) society is meaningful, and it really does spark the sense of awe that makes fantasy special. The technology is all over the place, at times feeling almost modern (car like carriages) yet in other ways (guns were just invented and swords are still in use) closer to early 16th century but even this works when you consider the strange effect magic would have on the development of technology and society. The magic system, while a little too loose for my standards since the limits or uses of pain magic are a little unclear, is intriguing and offers an interesting twist on the corrupting power of magic.
Unfortunately, as the story progresses and moves to the lowest layer of the city things metaphorically bottom out as well. The central characters Rojan meets are one dimensional and the choices they make unbelievable and end up disrupting the good characterization of the dark and dangerous world. He meets a group of freedom fighters, fighting against a twisted and evil group of slavers, yet these freedom fighters refuse to kill anyone. When they finally have the chance to bring down the villain they've dedicated their life to stopping they allow a lover's quarrel to complicate things.Read more ›
Yawn. That's the first word that comes to mind when I think of this book. Or maybe bland. Both are apt descriptions for FADE TO BLACK. A few chapters in I wrote in my notes that it seemed as if the author had a checklist of everything she thought should go in an urban fantasy novel and merrily went down the list as she wrote the book. This feeling never changed as the book progressed.
The main character of the book is Rojan Dizon. He's a stereotype of every best-selling urban fantasy character rolled in to one. Badly. I'm having a hard time expressing how much I detested this character. Everything about him had me rolling my eyes in annoyance. It's so bad that I'm kind of hoping the author meant him to be some sort of avant-garde statement on horrible urban fantasy clichés, but I really doubt it.
Now for the plot: Rojan's niece is kidnapped! Oh noes! Maybe I hated this plot so much because when I'm not reading urban fantasy I'm probably reading a mystery novel and the family member getting kidnapped plot is one of the most overdone storylines. That isn't to say the kidnap plot can't be done well, but it certainly isn't here. The plot seemed to just be a way for the author to make Rojan take some responsibility for himself. Which is fine, but why can't we have characters who are already responsible? Anti-heroes can be fun, but Rojan just comes across as an angsty, emo a hole.
Anyway, there are some cool things about the book. The city of Mahala is interesting and kind of reminded me of the giant cities built in David Wingrove's Chung Kuo books. Sadly just having a neat location isn't enough to fill a book. All in all this a standard, paint-by-numbers dark fantasy and not one I can recommend. There are too many good books out there to waste time reading ones like this.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Rojan Dizon is a bounty hunter in the city-state of Mahala living a quiet life in the shadows and trying to stay out of trouble as much as possible. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Kriti Godey
A very gritty dystopia fantasy fiction story following a main character who is flawed. He is a ladies man and never seems to keep a woman long. Read morePublished 11 months ago by N. Albert
Started good but really died towards the end. Interesting concepts that didn't play well over the long haul.Published 15 months ago by Aaron Freeberg
I can't give it five stars because within the first six pages, there are grammatical errors...as in the misspelling of the word "too" -the most basic of all grammar skills,... Read morePublished 18 months ago by M. Allen
Fade to Black by Francis Knight
This is really a great debut novel. There is a lot to like about it and there is a bit even to detest. Read more
I came across this book as an excerpt in the 2014 John w. Campbell nominee collection. It intruiged me enough to want to read more so, after checking the kindle price I took the... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Phazedout
For starters, it's fantasy from 1st Person POV, which we don't get to see that often.
I liked the character of Rojan Dizon, even if he did have a bad habit of repeating... Read more
FADE TO BLACK was a strong debut novel for Francis Knight, relying on strong world-building, brisk plotting and a strong supporting cast of secondary characters to overcome my... Read morePublished on November 23, 2013 by Jeryn Coldfire
The city of Mahala is located in an enclosed pass, the city built up the sides of the mountains over hundreds of years. Read morePublished on October 11, 2013 by A. Whitehead