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A Darkness Forged in Fire Hardcover – 8 July 2008
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- Publisher : Pocket Books (8 July 2008)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 419 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1416570519
- ISBN-13 : 978-1416570516
- Dimensions : 15.24 x 3.25 x 22.86 cm
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A red star hurling across the sky has heralded the return of evil times for the Calarhian Empire. To counter this threat to her empire the queen, along with her incompetent son, Prince Tykkin, have deemed it necessary to re-establish the Iron Elves corp (the original group having been disbanded in disgrace some time ago). This 'new' Iron Elves regiment is a group of thrown together misfits, consisting of thieves, murderers and convicts, but is lead by the more than capable warrior elf, Major Konowa.
And for reasons that are a surprise to no one, it has been decided that the best place to fend off this new threat, would be at site far removed from the capital, that being at the remote fort of Luuguth Jor. However the 'journey' to Luuguth Jor leads to the gradual realization that there is more to this old fort than was initially apparent. The book describes the trial and tribulations of the Iron Elves as they proceed on this dangerous trek.
I really liked this story. It is not all non-stop action, as a lot of fantasy/adventure novel seem to be lately (although there were some intense and visceral hotspots). What I found just as entertaining as description of the battles, was the dialogue that occurred not only during skirmishes, but also during relative quiet times while traversing to their destination. Evans has developed an interesting group of characters for his story; characters that I found easy to like and identify with. Even the 'bad guys' were intriguing to follow along.
In addition there is a map. And although it covers the area involved, the writing on the map is small and bunched together, making it difficult to read.
An enjoyable fantasy read; well written, making good use of interesting characters within an intriguing adventure. A book I looked forward finding time to come back to continue reading. Maybe a ' star off for the map (if your going to the trouble to include one, make it readable). Otherwise, 5 Stars.
Anyway, disgraced Elf is brought back to command his old regiment when (as usual for these types of books!) an old and evil menace returns.
So the majority of this story is the reforming of the regiment, with the assorted characters and then the journey towards the big event that will bring it all together.
This felt very familiar and I struggled for a while to understand why, then I realised that this is a real blend of many other authors and styles. Take James Barclay, David Eddings etc and this is very much the style this book has, the characters have a certain wit and there is a fair amount of banter and inter-play. The action stuff is well done although some of the Iron Elf back-story and the concept of the source of the bad guys was a little confusing at times.
So, although this is very readable, it is neither new nor fresh enough to raise itself above the other books in this space. Recent books from Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch showed there are new styles and authors in the fantasy arena, but sadly this does not overly stand out.