REVIEW: A Darkness Forged in Fire | Chris Evans | High Fantasy Reviewed by Jen



Title: A Darkness Forged in Fire, Iron Elves#1
Author: Chris Evans
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Epic High Military Fantasy
ISBN13: 9781416570516
Format: Print
Length: 433 pages
Reviewer: Jennifer
Alternative-Read.com

I am not a quitter. When I take something on in life, I generally make damn sure that I finish it. Well, today I must admit defeat. Having made incredibly slow progress through the first 398 pages of Chris Evans’ A Darkness Forged in Fire, I finally give up. Enough is enough.

To be honest, the book has been sitting on my bedside table since April, which is when I last picked it up. When Sassy Brit asked me whether I’d review if for her, I was quite excited at the prospect. I generally enjoy a good fantasy read, particularly when it involves elves and fairies and other mythical creatures. But with Evans’ book I struggled from the outset. The story didn’t pick up and I just didn’t care about any of the characters, not one. They seemed too schematic. The viceroy being the bad guy, Konowa the dishonoured yet stoic ex-soldier, Visyna the stubborn and beautiful love interest. It’s like I’ve met all of these people before, in better books and movies. 

Visually, I hated the way the book was typeset, how the emissary’s and the Shadow Monarch’s dialogue was set in a dark, bold font. It feels and reads pretentious. I realize that this has less to do with the author but rather the editor, but it did interrupt my reading experience. 

I have a tendency of marking up pages where a particular phrase, dialogue or observation has caught my eye, something I’ll copy into a quote book to re-read. In this case, I marked the pages that contained the most outrageous lines, stuff that made me wonder whether the book went through any kind of editing process. Here’s an example: Visyna: ‘Your musket is digging into me.’ Konowa: ‘That’s not my musket […] You know, I did save your life tonight. In some parts, that sort of thing engenders a certain kind of … gratitude.’ Really? Has that line ever worked on anyone? Here’s another that obviously contains not a bit of original thinking: ‘You’re drunk,’ the marshal said without preamble. Konowa: ‘And you’re a coward, but at least I’ll be sober in a few hours’ – I’m sure we’ve all seen and heard that line in a number of different variations. 

    Anyways, my list goes on but I have no desire to re-visit all those dog-eared pages. In the spring, I went on a holiday and left the book behind. I figured that if I came back and felt plagued by my lack of knowledge of the destiny that awaited Konowa et al., I’d get back to it. Finding myself at the end of July, three months on, I realize that I haven’t missed or thought about any of them. For me, a sure sign not to bother finishing the book.

    A note of caution: reading is one of the most singular, subjective and biased processes that we go through and I feel that I owe it to the author to insist on this obvious fact. Just because I could not find merit or enjoyment in my reading of A Darkness Forged in Fire, it might be right up your alley. So give it a try – and then let me know how it ended. 
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1 comment:

  1. Sorry you did not like it :/ But yes this subgenre of fantasy is not for everyone. I really enjoyed it since it was just so different :)

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Thanks for taking the time to leave a sassy comment. It's truly appreciated. I aim to get back to you as soon as possible -- Sassy :)