Fade To Black by Francis Knight

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Fade To Black by Francis Knight

Category: Fantasy
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Loralei Haylock
Reviewed by Loralei Haylock
Summary: A thoroughly enjoyable read with plenty of twists and turns, great characters, a brilliant setting and darkness enough to make the title perfectly apt. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: February 2013
Publisher: Orbit
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0356501666

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In a city hemmed in by mountains that's grown the only way it can - upwards - Rojan's job is to find people. Usually they're runaways or bounties, easy money and guilt free, just like Rojan likes it. But then Rojan's niece is taken, and despite never having met her, Rojan will do anything it takes to get her back.

Even if it means going to the 'Pit. Sealed off after a toxic accident, its inhabitants left to die slow, painful deaths, the 'Pit is the last place anyone wants to go, least of all Rojan. But after buying his way down, he discovers a world that's far from toxic, at least in the literal sense.

With help from locals Pasha and Jake, Rojan tries to get to the bottom of a mystery - where not only his niece has gone missing, but lots of girls. But to solve it, Rojan may have to use what he most fears - his forbidden pain magic.

I'll admit it was mostly the cover that drew me to this, and consequently I didn't really know what to expect when reading it. What I got was a brilliant adventure/mystery which totally lived up to the cover lust.

In Mahala, Knight creates a world that is both fantastical but painfully realistic - and gets more painfully realistic the further into the book you get. It's a land of wily cunning, where people are quite happy to use bodies as a step-ladder to get to the next level up, where the people at the bottom of the pile live in darkness and fear. It's so well realised, to read it is to be there in the dripping, fetid squalor of the under layers. We never see the Heights.

What starts as a fairly simple kidnap plot quickly becomes a far wider reaching mystery with sinister undertones that gradually increase in volume until you almost want to shudder from the depravity and ruthlessness of certain characters. Which, of course, gives you plenty of reasons to root for the good guys and to enjoy their moments of triumph.

And the characters are great. Rojan is wonderfully self-centred and cowardly, blighted with just enough morality that you know he's going to do the right thing, even though he freely admits it's the last thing he wants to do. Pasha and Jake, damaged by their own experiences in the 'Pit and perfect foils for him - driven by a righteous anger and need.

A thoroughly enjoyable read with plenty of twists and turns, and darkness enough to make the title perfectly apt. Highly recommended.

My thanks to the publishers for sending a copy.

For more great fantasy reads, check out Bookbag's Fantasy Picks.

Buy Fade To Black by Francis Knight at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Fade To Black by Francis Knight at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Fade To Black by Francis Knight at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Fade To Black by Francis Knight at Amazon.com.


Booklists.jpg Fade To Black by Francis Knight is in the Top Ten Fantasy Books of 2013.

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