Review: Black Sun Rising. Coldfire Trilogy 1 by C. S. Friedman

Over a millennium ago, Erna, a seismically active yet beautiful world was settled by blacksunrisingcolonists from far-distant Earth. But the seemingly habitable planet was fraught with perils no one could have foretold. The colonists found themselves caught in a desperate battle for survival against the fae, a terrifying natural force with the power to prey upon the human mind itself, drawing forth a person’s worst nightmare images or most treasured dreams and indiscriminately giving them life.

Twelve centuries after fate first stranded the colonists on Erna, mankind has achieved an uneasy stalemate, and human sorcerers manipulate the fae for their own profit, little realizing that demonic forces which feed upon such efforts are rapidly gaining in strength.

Now, as the hordes of the dark fae multiply, four people—Priest, Adept, Apprentice, and Sorcerer—are about to be drawn inexorably together for a mission which will force them to confront an evil beyond their imagining, in a conflict which will put not only their own lives but the very fate of humankind in jeopardy.

I was so convinced that I would like this book and it started out really well.

I am a fan of unusual settings and this one is definitely cool! It takes place on the planet Erna that was colonized by humans after they left Earth for an unknown reason. Erna is very similar to Earth but much more dangerous. There are lots of earthquakes and the world is inhabited by the so-called ‘Fae’, which are natural forces/spirits. There are different kinds, like earth fae or dark fae and they all do different things. The dark fae are dangerous as they feed on your fears and manifest them. At least that’s how I understood it.

The setting, although it’s on another planet, is very much a medieval dark Fantasy world. There are knights, sorcerers and religion plays a role as those in power at the church don’t approve of humans manipulating the fae and working magic this way.

There’s weird animals like unhorses who are somehow made to resemble horses from Earth. Don’t ask me about any details though.

My first problem was, that everything seemed a little vague. I tried to grasp the concept of magic for example but it always felt just that little bit out of my reach. I don’t need a detailed description, but a little bit more would have been nice.

There’s also a native race similar to humans, called the Rakh, who develop super quickly and were becoming more and more like humans, before humans became scared and wiped them out. Or almost wiped them out. The Rakh are now living in the dangerous Rakhlands where no human wants to go.

Apart from our little group. What’s happening is, that one of the protagonist, a powerful adept/sorceress, gets her memories & abilities sucked out by a demon/bad Rakh/I didn’t get it. And now a group of 3, including her, will go and hunt them down. They meet a 4th on the way, are met with many dangers, attacking demons, evil fae and have to convince the Rakh to go through their territory.

Our main character is Reverend Damien Vryce. A tall sword-fighting sorcerer working for the church but also using magic. He met Ciani, the powerful adept, in the beginning of the novel and the two start dating. Yes. Ciani has a helper called Senzei. He’s obsessed with the fae but doesn’t have the power to use them properly.

I thought that the characters have potential but they didn’t move on and didn’t become more interesting throughout the story. In Ciani’s case it was the other way round. I get that she lost her power etc., but she should have been less annoying! The only thing she is doing apart from being sad is trembling & shaking. They are all doing this an awful lot, but she seemed to be a human vibrator!

I also didn’t get her relationship with Vryce, they only just met and he’s already super in love with her, to risk his life like that. I didn’t buy it. And him being overly protective of her is getting annoying pretty soon as well.

Senzei is only whining about the fact that his powers aren’t strong enough. And occasionally trembling. He doesn’t make any impact at all and I still wonder why he was there in the first place..

I did like the mysterious character of Gerald Tarrant, although he was a bit of a clichee. Dark, handsome, very powerful with lots of secrets & super arrogant… And I did not understand why he actually became part of the group. Because he made a promise to Ciani? That was unclear.. I did like his interactions with Vryce though and this is probably what kept me going. They hate each other with a passion and don’t trust each other at all but slowly see how they could work together & help each other out.

It still wasn’t enough though, I felt the whole storyline was a bit of a mess and didn’t always make sense. I wasn’t a fan of the ending as everything happened way too conveniently.

I won’t continue reading.

2/5 Stars (yes, I start adding ratings to my reviews, very slowly^^)


  1. While reading the summary I thought the idea with these so called fae sounded interesting but after reading your review I’m glad that I’m not forced to read this book. 😂

    Never thought of adding a rating to my reviews on the new blog, but now I think I will give it a try as well. Cool, that I didn’t upload my reviews yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I should go back and add ratings to my reviews, too. But… ugh. I have a lot of reviews I’d need to edit…

    Good to know about this book, too! I’ve thought the covers of the Friedman books looked interesting, but they were always too long to entice me to actually pick them up.

    Liked by 1 person

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