Prelude: A lot of people seem to enjoy this book, so you might as well.
I almost always finish the audiobooks I purchase, and I finished this..Show More » one. But it was a chore, not a pleasure. The book failed for me on so many levels, but many devolve to a set of unlikable, boring characters with inexplicable motivations.
Why does Damien, a warrior priest, instigate the quest to recover Ciani's stolen memories and adept skills? The author tells us it is because Damien is in love with Ciani, but it isn't believable. He hardly knows her at the start of the journey, and once the journey begins, he mostly avoids speaking with her. Sure, he obsesses over her in countless internal monologues, but it's an illustration of puppy love, not the type of love that would motivate a long journey by a mature man to confront a dangerous foe.
Why does Damien hate Tarrant, the powerful dark adept that joins them on the journey? It could be because Tarrant lacks basic human values, but the author roots the conflict in Damien's religious beliefs. This is emphasized in countless internal monologues, and through some of their interactions. The problem is that the tenets of the religion are never presented. So the conflict, which represents a major plot thread, has no understandable basis. In fact, Tarrant is by far the more interesting and likable of the two characters, which makes Damien's hatred seem churlish.
Did I mention the countless internal monologues, which go nowhere and reveal little? Half way through the book, my greatest wish was to see Damien die a horrible, horrible death. By the end, I was just happy to be finished with him and the rest.
There are things to like about the book, such as an interesting and novel world. Unfortunately, I found it to be populated by tedious characters, a poorly explained magic system, and contradictions that made my jaw drop.
The events describe in this book take place on a different continent compare to the first book. Our pragmatic priest and vampire team up again to con..Show More »front an evil on other continent that has a potential to destroy the world as it exists.
Uneasy alliance of priest and vampire continue to evolve that neither can survive without each other. Though, inner conflict for priest continue to be a source of intrigue in the story line.
Book is semi repetitive in middle chapters, but it is not too cumbersome. One of the intriguing part of the book is the struggle between main characters and the bad guy becomes very abstract at times. Information extracted form magic is not accurate at times that bad guy sets subtle traps that leads to very interesting over all story. Like the first Book, this book remains dark if not darker.
Vampire goes through inner conflict as well, and makes surprising decisions which are outside of its normal character.
Book does lack humor and it is understandable that subject matter is not all that happy. Ending of the book, however, is very exciting and opens up a lot of possibilities for another book.
I enjoyed the narration that is appropriate for this book. It is not over dramatic nor too meek.
Ever since I read a few novels by C.S. Friedman last year (In Conquest Born, The Wilding, The Madness..Show More » Season and This Alien Shore) I’ve been practically desperate to begin her more famous COLDFIRE SAGA. Friedman’s stories are smart and creative and I can’t wait to see what else she has to offer. The only thing that’s so far kept me from picking up Black Sun Rising, the first COLDFIRE novel, is that I already have a huge stack (I mean hundreds) of audiobooks purchased and ready to read at Audible and on my bookshelves at home. Mostly I collect these when they’re on sale or when publishers send me review copies, so I hoard my precious Audible credits and spend them like a miser.
But I just don’t know how much longer I can hold out on COLDFIRE. I actually have Black Sun Rising in my Audible library (purchased, no doubt, in some awesome sale) but I don’t have books two and three (When True Night Falls and Crown of Shadows) yet. I picked up Dominion, a prequel to the COLDFIRE saga recently when it was cheap at Audible. And that’s what this review is actually about, so I guess I should get to it.
Dominion introduces Friedman’s well-known anti-hero Gerald Tarrant, a powerful undead magician. In this story he enters a legendary sentient forest full of seductive fae spirits because he wants to test his own power against it. But there are other beings in the forest. One is a pack of wolves, one of whom is more than he appears to be. Another is a young female knight who — along with some companions that have since been slain — has been sent to find and kill evil beings (such as Tarrant) who live in the land. Thus there are four powerful forces in the forest — the wolf pack with its great strength and prowess, Gerald with his dark magic, the young knight with her faith and courage, and the sentient forest which encloses all the others. Each of these forces will be changed by their encounters with each other and the result sets the scene for what’s to come in the rest of the COLDFIRE saga.
Dominion is a short novel, but it’s packed with drama, sharp insights, and dark chills. I didn’t know how to feel about Gerald Tarrant. He seems evil, but I can’t help but admire his curious mind and the scientific way he approaches life. I wanted to know more about him and his “transformation” from human (I assume) to vampire (I assume). There are some provocative hints about his past life in Dominion and I want to know what happened (“If I had not loved God so much, there would have been no power in betraying him”). I also want to know about the world he’s on and the forest that he respects (it reminds me of Robert Holdstock’s Mythago Wood). Tarrant says he is eager to take up residence in the forest and use its powers to create and evolve new species. I want to see that!
I listened to the audiobook version narrated by R.C. Bray. His voice and cadence were perfect for this sinister story. After finishing Dominion, I was eager to move on to the rest of the COLDFIRE saga. I may just have to give in and spend a couple of my precious credits… After all, that’s what they’re for.