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

3.5 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Rojan Dizon Novels Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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."―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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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 (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,381,944 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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. It's written in a stylish Noir that reminds me of the old black and white mysteries with the gumshoes. Sort of a Mystic Maltese Falcon. The main character is Rojan Dizon a pain Mage who really isn't all that fond of pain so he's tried not to do too much magic. There's more to it than that though because too much pain magic can lead to a very dark place that often is impossible for the Mage to find his way out of. Rojan has lived in a dark world in a black existence trying to avoid another darkness that makes everything around him seem pale in comparison. He uses his magic to locate people and that's how the reader is introduced to him when an unsavory client hires him to find and bring back his teen age daughter Lise who has run away. Lise has some tricks up her sleeve that have made his job particularly difficult and he's had to resort to a device manufactured by a dwarf colleague. The device amplifies his magic which mean he has to still endure pain but a bit less of it to get good result. Rojan is not a particularly likeable character but what he does in his interaction with Lise tells us that there is someone with just a bit more heart behind the veneer that covers him in the first part of the book.

As the story unfolds we begin to find the reason that Rojan lives on the edge using his magic illegally and defying the Ministry. There was a golden age when Pain Mages controlled things and were powerful. They were trained to properly use the magic. Then the Ministry stepped in and began to ban the use of pain magic.
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