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Fade to Black (A Rojan Dizon Novel) Paperback – February 26, 2013

22 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Rojan Dizon Novels Series

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Editorial Reviews


"Intensely realized and gripping."―Kirkus Reviews

"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."―

"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

About the Author


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Product Details

  • Series: A Rojan Dizon Novel (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (February 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316217689
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316217682
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,769,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Francis Knight was born and lives in Sussex, England. When not living in her own head, she enjoys SF&F geekery, WWE geekery, teaching her children Monty Python quotes, and boldly going and seeking out new civilizations.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Books31 on February 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
Fade to Black is Francis Knight’s debut novel, and I have to say, it kept me glued to my seat.

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.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Josh Gribble on May 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Fade to Black has several great ideas: A city that is layer upon layer, a magic system in which magic is based upon pain (either of the mage or someone else), a fantasy story that unfolds more like a classic noir novel rather than a Tolkien clone. Unfortunately neither the plot nor the characterization is enough to raise this story to the heights of its premise.

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.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Chris on March 15, 2013
Format: Paperback

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.
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