Title: A Darkness Forged in Fire, Iron Elves#1
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.
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.
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.
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
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.