My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Review: Nightborn: Coldfire Rising

Nightborn: Coldfire Rising Nightborn: Coldfire Rising by C.S. Friedman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a prequel to the Coldfire trilogy, one of my favorite sci-fantasy series. While you could read this either before or after the trilogy, I read it after and I believe that I enjoyed the trilogy more because of that experience (YMMV). Keep in mind this is not hard sci-fi, but a prequel to what is more like a dark fantasy series (so the science is good but still not solid); however, In the series, you eventually come to realize the world on which it all happens is an earth colony that essentially lost its tech and was more or less a primitive semi-feudal society. This book explains how that came about … and the colony story was actually pretty compelling and well done … with the action starting up quickly and ramping up just as fast (perhaps too fast). Although there are some 200 original colonists, the story revolves about a dozen of so personalities, each with their own back story (some of which are explored in flashbacks at the beginning of the chapters. 

The main characters are Leo (mission commander), Lisa (Doctor), Dani (chaplain) and Angie (a holistic neural researcher/occultist) with some important side characters, such as Ian the biologist. At the confusion of the story, you will have a solid understanding of the relationship between humans and their new world (aka Erna) that for me would have detracted a bit from the mystery/puzzle presented in the beginning of the trilogy (which is what I am happy to have read this last). What is missing is the story of Gerald … whose story has such an outsized impact on the trilogy that its short treatment at the end just didn’t seem like it was enough. All of that considered, if you enjoyed the trilogy you will very likely enjoy this prequel … if you enjoyed the prequel, you might enjoy the trilogy (which I liked primarily for the well executed redemption arc of the hero’s journey).

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#NightbornColdfireRising #NetGalley

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.