This trilogy is one of my very favorite reads. Mr. Bray does an amazing job with the voices, especially the unhuman voices. Highly recommended to anyone who already thinks they might want it, and to those who enjoy an intricately plotted, character driven, richly detailed story which explores the natures of good and evil, altruism and self-interest, and unlikely allies. This is a complex series, yet each book comes to a satisfying conclusion, so one is not left hanging should one decide to stop after the first (hard for me to imagine, but tastes do vary). If you enjoy admiring an attractive villain, there are few as attractive as Gerald Tarrant, and Damian Vries makes an excellent hero as well.
This book was interesting at the beginning, with an usual magic system. Then it devolved into endless wandering, with little to nothing happening. C.S. Friedman has a tendency to use the same word over and over again. Malevolence was used so often, that I wanted to throw a thesaurus at her. Not recommended, and I willl not be reading the rest of the series.
When I first started listening to this book I was very hopeful. It has an interesting conceit - a world which contains a force that responds to human thoughts and shapes the physical environment accordingly. I found the protagonist, a warrior-priest with a mission, a refreshing change from the usual.
Alas, I got bogged down in the book and found getting to the end difficult. The development of the plot and the characters did not fulfill the original promise. Instead, the story became tedious and repetitive. Motivations were not clear. By the end I didn't care anymore.
Too bad, because it had a great concept.
That being said, others seem to like the book so read the reviews carefully. Perhaps it will be your cuppa tea. Sadly, it was not mine.
I was a HUGE fan of this series in print when I as a youngster....
I was overjoyed to see it finally available in Audio!!
The story remains as great as ever. (just go with it past the grisly start of
The Audible narator is servicable, but I had hopes for something slightly
more "rough-edged" to portray the "Hunter" Character.
Still a great buy that you will not be disappointed with!
This mountain of books isn't going to listen to itself.
FOR REAL you need to pay attention to every word. I would recommend this to a dark friend who had not much too do. You cant miss a few words do to a zone out while driving.
I don't remember
Bray is great. Nothing to complain about. I would say he is a 4 out of 5.
Yes... read a normal fantasy book. I do love my sword, wizard, and king.
The writing style is kind of strange along with the book. Every part of the book seems to show on how dark and wrong it is. It becomes a bore. I understand the authors intent. But it is a tad over done..... Making it dark.Every seen seems to have a description where it explains why every thing will be dark. This is only a skip if you CANT pay attention the whole time. Overalll... its a 3 star.. you can skip this one. But is a Fan-sci book to the extreme.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.
Black Sun Rising is the first novel in C.S. Friedman’s popular COLDFIRE trilogy. I read Dominion, the prequel novella, a couple of years ago after reading (and loving) several of her science fiction novels. I admire Friedman’s worldbuilding and her writing style.
The COLDFIRE trilogy feels like traditional epic fantasy, but it would best be categorized as science fantasy because it takes place in the far future on Erna, a planet colonized by humans looking for a habitable world. When they got to this world, they discovered that natural laws work differently. Some force, which they call the “Fae,” feeds on human fears and uses those “vibes” (my word) to influence evolution. This means, for example, that creatures that aren’t real, but that we fear, such as vampires and other monsters, can quickly evolve on Erna. (This is similar to the magic system in Robert Holdstock’s Mythago Wood and Lavondyss.) Also, the Fae interfere with human technology so that it’s nearly impossible for humans to control electricity, firearms, or other technological devices.
Some humans, called “adepts,” have learned to “work the Fae.” This works even better if they make some sort of personal sacrifice. Shortly after the humans arrived and began getting killed off by the monsters they dreamed into existence, one of them, on his own, decided to make a sacrifice for the colony by destroying their spaceship and its vast store of knowledge. Thus, the humans have essentially cast themselves back to a medieval culture, which is what makes these novels feel more like fantasy than science fiction. I found Friedman’s explanation for why human beings were living in a medieval society on a new planet to be completely believable.
In Dominion, we met Gerald Tarrant, an undead sorcerer who used to be the most devout and revered prophet of the One True God (essentially the Christian God) on Erna until, seeking power, he made a personal sacrifice that was so evil that it damned him to Hell. Now he is the most powerful human on Erna, but he fears death because he knows he’s damned. In order to stay alive, he had to become a vampire and must feed on human fear and blood. Thus, the man who used to be the holiest and most revered human on the planet has become the most evil and feared monster. This trade-off — the sacrifice Gerald makes in order to gain power and knowledge — is the theme of the trilogy and it produces some fascinating repercussions, ethical dilemmas, and thought exercises.
Not all of that information is laid out in Dominion, but we get enough of it to make us want to read on to find out what motivates Gerald Tarrant. In Black Sun Rising, he is called “The Hunter” and it is known that his minions scour the streets at night looking for pretty girls to bring to their master. We also meet Reverend Damian Vryce, a devout warrior priest of the One True God who wants to rescue his girlfriend, an adept who has been kidnapped by dark forces. Thinking that Gerald is the kidnapper, he enters Gerald’s forest (which we learned about in Dominion) and finds his castle. It turns out that Gerald isn’t the bad guy (this time) and the two join forces, along with a couple of others, and begin a quest to hunt down the real bad guy (or girl).
As you’d expect, Damien is not too happy about working with Gerald — he hates the man — but Gerald is the only person powerful enough to help him. Much of the tension in the story involves Damien’s conflicted feelings about working with and not against Gerald. Other tension stems from the hardships they endure on their quest. These involve several typical epic fantasy quest issues such as being attacked by minions of an evil sorcerer, enduring earthquakes, hiking across precarious cliffs, and tunneling through underground mines. Some of their adventures reminded me a little too much of THE LORD OF THE RINGS. There’s even a Boromir-type character and I kept thinking of the “Eye of Sauron” as they entered X--Mordor--X enemy territory. Yet despite these types of Tolkienesque plot elements, Friedman’s characters and the history of her world are completely unique and what I liked best about Black Sun Rising. I look forward to learning more and exploring more of Friedman’s world in book two, When True Night Falls.
I’m listening to the audio versions of the COLDFIRE trilogy. They’re produced by Audible Studios and are very nicely narrated by R.C. Bray. Black Sun Rising is 24 hours long.
Everything! The story line was great, the characters were well developed and the narrator was amazing.
One of my favorite scenes was when the first venture into the Hunter’s woods occurred. I will leave it at that to not give out an spoilers for those who really want to read the book.
I particularly loved how all of the characters had to join forces to overcome an evil despite the fact that they really would have rather killed each other! The control and determination that was portrayed by each of them kept the story going and it really made you want each of them to triumph despite all the wrong some of them had done.
I am writing this after reading the first two book and I must say that I absolutely love this set so far. I started this set after finishing a more historical fiction trilogy and must say it took a little bit to accumulate to the different nature of the books, but man once I did I was hooked. I was honestly very surprised by all of the negative review. The book opened with a scene that grabbed you and made you hate the character and then it kept going and this character developed into so much more and then you cannot decide of you really hate him or not. Then once you move into the second book the line gets closer and closer together and you hate to love this character, but you just cannot help it.
I am a very vivid reader and I love making a book come to life and R.C. Bray was AMAZING and helped me do just that! I am so glad that I listened to this as opposed to actually reading because I really think that he made the book have that “it” factor that kept me hooked.
I loved the buildup of relationships between the characters over the entire series. If you have not read on you really should. The twist and turns and the moral calling between right and wrong is just so intriguing. I listened to the books every they were just one of those books that you don’t want to put it down, or in this case, take the headphones off. I am so glad that I read them and am excited to finish the third!
This book, in 3 Parts, is almost good.
Part 1 introduces the characters. There’s the hero, a priest, who’s sworn his life to fighting evil. The anti-hero, the Hunter, lives in a deep, dark, evil forest. The maiden, who must be protected. And some others.
Part 2 is entirely about travelling. This little group travels endlessly, to get to the evil they need to fight. They travel over mountains, and they travel over rivers, and they travel and they travel. Yawn.
Part 3 gets interesting again, with a very good ending.
I like that the characters are not stereotyped. Not fully, anyway. The goodies have flaws and find it difficult to resist temptation. The baddies have likeable and redeeming qualities.
I liked the book (Parts 1 & 3), but not enough to rush off and get the sequels.
I felt like this could have been a much better book if it hadn't taken itself so seriously and gotten bogged down in how the protagonist and antagonist felt about each other (and everything else) all the time. I mean, seriously, I don't care how they feel. Let's just get through this plot. I'm not against a little introspection, but this was ridiculous.
I guess I shouldn't be too hard on it. The idea was good; very interesting. It just moved so slowly. I never get bored mid-book... except for this one.
Sadly, I won't be finishing this series.