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120. A Darkness Forged in Fire by Chris Evans...

July 24, 2009
About the book:
An unforgiving world of musket and cannon . . . bow and arrow . . . magic, diplomacy, and oaths--each wielding terrible power in an Empire teetering on the brink of war.

Even in this world, Konowa Swift Dragon, former commander of the Empire's elite Iron Elves, is anything but ordinary. He's murdered a Viceroy, been court-martialed, seen his beloved regiment disbanded, and been banished in disgrace to the one place he despises the most--the forest. All he wants is to be left alone, but then an unexpected royal decree orders him to 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 long-vanished magic, and rebellion is growing within the Empire as a frantic race to reach the Star unfolds. It is a chance for Konowa to redeem himself--but the entire enterprise appears to be a suicide mission . . . and the soldiers recruited for the task are not quite what he expects. Worst of all, his key adversary to obtain the Star is none other than the dreaded Shadow Monarch, whose machinations for absolute domination spread deeper than Konowa could ever imagine . . .

drey's thoughts:
A Darkness Forged in Fire is epic fantasy with lots and lots of military maneuvers, the requisite prophecy, dark vs. light magic, and mayhem galore. The main hero, Konowa Swift Dragon, is a disgraced elf. Which I guess means he's doubly-disgraced--first because he couldn't bond with a sapling, and second because he committed murder in the name of patriotism while in service to the Queen. Konowa is a classic duty-bound, angst-ridden, guilt-ridden, not-so-sure-of-himself-anymore (if he'd ever been), hero. He is most definitely not the guy you'd gravitate to for any reason at a party.

Along with the unexpected summons to rejoin the ranks of the army, Konowa stumbles upon creatures long thought extinct. Why are they here, now? And off we go into this creation of Chris Evans'...

I thought A Darkness Forged in Fire moved a little slowly at times, and I did get confused with how the magic works in this world--both the dark AND the light. The characters are interesting, if a mite predictable. The Crown Prince--leader of the newly-reformed Iron Elves regiment--is your usual noble dunderhead who's more interested in coming out of this assignment looking good than actually doing good. Comic relief is provided by Private Yimt Arkhorn, a dwarf whose sayings usually elicit a chuckle or three. And the "love interest" is in the form of Visyna Tekoy, an Elfkynan witch... Although "love" might be too strong a word to describe it--Konowa and Visyna barely even go beyond the arguing over who-can-save-the-world-and-leave-it-a-better-place better.

This debut attempt by Chris Evans is solid epic fantasy, if a trifle formulaic. I'm off to read it's sequel, which hopefully expands on the history of the main players, and gets us to the "why"s and the "what"s, in addition to building on to the adventure.

Title: A Darkness Forged in Fire (Book One of the Iron Elves)
Author: Chris Evans
ISBN-10: 1416570519
ISBN-13: 978-1416570516
Paperback: 615 pages
Publisher: Pocket, 2008

8 comments:

Book Lady said...

I'm reading these too! I have to admit that I love Yimt! I'm sorry but I stopped reading to say to my husband, "I love crazy, loud Dwarves!" I haven't quite finished the first one but so far I'm enjoying it. I can't wait to read your review for the second book.

Bingo said...

I have to say this is not the genre I am usually drawn to but you make it seem quite fascinating that I shall have to branch out one of these days. Thanks for the review!

Valorie said...

I am in the middle of this book right now, and so far I really like it.

Valorie

Mishel said...

I don't know why but the sound of this kind of intimidates me. I'll definitely have to look into it a little bit more. But I do love the cover!

Pizza said...

Sonds like a cool book. I'll be on the lookout for it.

Sheila DeChantal said...

Great looking book and review! Not sure if I would like the military parts... just cant seem to get into that, but the cover is a definite draw for me.

kalea_kane said...

I wonder if this is something my son would enjoy. He is all about fantasy, knights, dwarves, military...maybe this would be a treat for him. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the review, Drey!

ann marie said...

Thanks for the reviews on both books, I will have to check them out. They are not my usual reads but you have me hooked. :)

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