June 2024
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Black Sun Rising, C.S. Friedman

I’m not sure why, but all the fantasy I have read lately has disappointed me, with the exception of Kushiel’s Justice.  Black Sun Rising is also a disappointment, unfortunately.  At the same time, however, I did like it and I would like to read the next book in the trilogy.  Part of the problem with this book is that it jumped in without really showing me the relationships I was supposed to care about.  I got a hint of a beginning relationship between Damian and Ciani, when all of a sudden he loves her and spends a lot of time regretting the path that she inevitably takes.  I can see how relationships develop afterwards, but a large part of the emotional basis is missing and it just bugged me while I was reading.  It probably didn’t help that Ciani annoyed me and I couldn’t figure out exactly what drew everyone to her

In terms of plot, the book moves very quickly and at times in unexpected ways.  The novel is certainly fantasy, but it has a few hints of sci-fi – it’s clear that their civilization was once much more scientific than it is now.  It remains interesting throughout and never drags, which is great in a book of fairly typical fantasy length.  I enjoyed the story and I thought the world-building was fairly effective and interesting.  Most of all, I liked the way the book ended.  It wrapped up the main threads of the story but left a clever epilogue to show us that the story goes on and hook us in.  So we don’t have to read more to find out what happens, but we want to.

In the end I’d probably call this fairly solid fantasy.  It has potential to build on the relationships and the world to become something great, though.  I’ll keep reading.


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