Fade to Black (A Rojan Dizon Novel) is the first in the series written by Francis Knight. So far there are three. I am about halfway into the second one at this point.
The blurb: The city rises upwards not across. Those at the bottom, as you might imagine are rather downtrodden and rarely see light, or much of it anyway. Those at the top, in the clouds, are living on cloud nine; that would by the Ministry. You do Not cross the Ministry. Rojan doesn’t plan on crossing anyone really. He doesn’t like responsibility you see. He also keeps to the shadows because, well, he is a pain mage and they are not well liked at all, as well as being rather illegal. Unfortunately his the niece he just learned he had life depends on Rojan using his magic, something he is not fond of, and going into the Pit, where no one would ever think of going.
Why I picked up this book: This is a new author for me so I thought I would give the series a go. The idea of magic power by pain intrigued me. I have seen it before, but not often. It gives that direct price to magic though and one you think would be unpleasant enough it would self-limit abuse. So good on the rules of magic really. I wanted to see how that would play out.
What is good about the novel: This is a nice gritty novel. No utopia here. If you are looking for a nice fluffy world with sexy vampires that turn out to be rather nice after all… this is not for you. It is a world of corruption piled on top of corruption. A world of poverty and crime. Of pollution and government cover-ups. The hero has some nice natural flaws to him. He is a ladies man that never seems to make a relationship last. He loathes responsibility and so keeps his life such that he doesn’t have to deal with that. He doesn’t like pain, so he doesn’t like his own magic. Yet he still manages to get things done in such a way that we come to like him, but not too much. Just enough. I found the novel intense and powerful. The evil a real evil and so large you wonder how it will be resolved by just one person, if it even can.
What is not so good about this novel: The pace is a bit slow in the beginning. It took me a bit to get into it as a result. When it gets going it really gets going and you will not put it down, but it takes a good bit to get there. I found one other part rather flawed. He does very good characterizations. Therefore I found it flawed that when betrayed Rojan and Jake would forgive that betrayal as easy as they did. It was peculiar to me. Trying not to give away too much details on that one but you will know it when it comes and likely wonder the same thing.
I rank it a 7/10