Customer Reviews for

A Darkness Forged in Fire (Iron Elves Series #1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Exciting read!

A Darkness Forged in Fire is a terrific fantasy, set in a fascinating world akin to the times of the Napoleonic Wars. I enjoyed the story and its characters. Particular the lead character, Konowa - an officer his men can look up to and trust, yet still driven by his o...
A Darkness Forged in Fire is a terrific fantasy, set in a fascinating world akin to the times of the Napoleonic Wars. I enjoyed the story and its characters. Particular the lead character, Konowa - an officer his men can look up to and trust, yet still driven by his own foibles. His sidekick, Jir, is a set of teeth and claws to be reckoned with, while his good friend, the Duke, provides his own satisfying reckoning at the end of the story. The story is populated with great, interesting characters like Konowa and the Duke of Rakestraw. Combine that with an engrossing story and you've got a read that you can get caught up in. I found myself losing hours, and it's definitely a good way to lose those hours. Highly recommended. I'm ready for book two in the series, bring it on!

posted by Anonymous on July 29, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Great Premise, Poor Execution

Being a fan of high fantasy as well as the age of black powder weapons, I was really excited by the idea of a serious take on what could best be described as Napoleonic era in a fantasy setting with Elves, Dwarves, Orcs. Fantasy elements wedded with the gritty nature o...
Being a fan of high fantasy as well as the age of black powder weapons, I was really excited by the idea of a serious take on what could best be described as Napoleonic era in a fantasy setting with Elves, Dwarves, Orcs. Fantasy elements wedded with the gritty nature of an era made popular by the Sharpe novels, what fan of both fantasy fiction and historical fiction of those time would not jump at this.* * * * * Unfortunately this book falls short in execution. One expected a masterful blend of the grit and heroics of the Napoleonic age with the wonderment and enchantment of high fantasy from Tolkien, but what we have in this novel is a two popular themes slap dashed together that has to do with each other as much as oil immersed in water. You have the fantasy element of a mysterious sinister shadow monarch, then an industrial Empire a thinly veiled Victorian Britain. The cliches by themselves are not bothersome, but that fact that they really did not mesh together was the problem, for all the interactivity and interplay between the fantasy element and the gunpowder element, we could well replace the muskets with laser guns and there would have been little notice or effect on the fantasy story. Similarly we could replace the Shadow Monarch with some shallow James Bond villain and there would be little alteration to the Napoleonic side of the setting.* * * * * The characters too were stilted and flat, although its apparent the story tries very hard to give them depth. They certainly could not be accused of being two dimensional, but the problem is all this depth seems prefabricated and forced, and tries to ram the hundred layers of depth the author wrote up for his characters down the reader's throat in the first few chapters. The chemistry between the main character and love interest was also unnatural, a relationship right of an adolescent's inexperienced fantasy.* * * * * The only two interesting characters and saving grace to this story were the sorta comic relief, an old veteran dwarf and a bespectacled country boy recruit. And on the historical side, the Author knew his stuff, the military life and the gun drills are well written, and the one really great thing that stood out was the recruitment pamphlet used to attract soldiers to sign up to the Iron Elves regiment, it had the perfect blend of fantasy and Napoleonic era Britain that the rest of the book tries to capture but falls short.

posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2008

    Great Premise, Poor Execution

    Being a fan of high fantasy as well as the age of black powder weapons, I was really excited by the idea of a serious take on what could best be described as Napoleonic era in a fantasy setting with Elves, Dwarves, Orcs. Fantasy elements wedded with the gritty nature of an era made popular by the Sharpe novels, what fan of both fantasy fiction and historical fiction of those time would not jump at this.* * * * * Unfortunately this book falls short in execution. One expected a masterful blend of the grit and heroics of the Napoleonic age with the wonderment and enchantment of high fantasy from Tolkien, but what we have in this novel is a two popular themes slap dashed together that has to do with each other as much as oil immersed in water. You have the fantasy element of a mysterious sinister shadow monarch, then an industrial Empire a thinly veiled Victorian Britain. The cliches by themselves are not bothersome, but that fact that they really did not mesh together was the problem, for all the interactivity and interplay between the fantasy element and the gunpowder element, we could well replace the muskets with laser guns and there would have been little notice or effect on the fantasy story. Similarly we could replace the Shadow Monarch with some shallow James Bond villain and there would be little alteration to the Napoleonic side of the setting.* * * * * The characters too were stilted and flat, although its apparent the story tries very hard to give them depth. They certainly could not be accused of being two dimensional, but the problem is all this depth seems prefabricated and forced, and tries to ram the hundred layers of depth the author wrote up for his characters down the reader's throat in the first few chapters. The chemistry between the main character and love interest was also unnatural, a relationship right of an adolescent's inexperienced fantasy.* * * * * The only two interesting characters and saving grace to this story were the sorta comic relief, an old veteran dwarf and a bespectacled country boy recruit. And on the historical side, the Author knew his stuff, the military life and the gun drills are well written, and the one really great thing that stood out was the recruitment pamphlet used to attract soldiers to sign up to the Iron Elves regiment, it had the perfect blend of fantasy and Napoleonic era Britain that the rest of the book tries to capture but falls short.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2008

    Exciting read!

    A Darkness Forged in Fire is a terrific fantasy, set in a fascinating world akin to the times of the Napoleonic Wars. I enjoyed the story and its characters. Particular the lead character, Konowa - an officer his men can look up to and trust, yet still driven by his own foibles. His sidekick, Jir, is a set of teeth and claws to be reckoned with, while his good friend, the Duke, provides his own satisfying reckoning at the end of the story. The story is populated with great, interesting characters like Konowa and the Duke of Rakestraw. Combine that with an engrossing story and you've got a read that you can get caught up in. I found myself losing hours, and it's definitely a good way to lose those hours. Highly recommended. I'm ready for book two in the series, bring it on!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 1, 2012

    Falsely advertised as a good read...

    I'm giving this a two in the hopes that if I can bear the read much longer and actually finish this book that it will get better. I'm a quarter of the way through and I'm strongly questioning the wisdom of my purchase. So far, trite dialog, thinly disguised character cliches and all in all very very elementary writing have kept me from enjoying the Napoleonic setting. I'm hoping it gets better, although I almost erased it off my nook when I read the tired cliche "Get your musket out of my back. That's not my musket" line. Soon after, that infantile and unoriginal gem is followed by a dwarf with a highly improbable and ridiculous weapon which is essentially a crossbow married to double barreled musket. This coupled with very thin if not inaccurate detail on loading and firing flintlocks, makes one question if the author had ever bothered to study the weaponry of the period or anything else from that period. Frankly that really rips me because the supposed setting was my whole reason for the purchase in the first place. I'm going to try to get through the rest of it, but its a challenge to even sit through one chapter of this juvenile series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2008

    Outstanding!

    This book is an incredible read! I cannot wait for the next book in this series.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    an engaging fanasy saga.

    The Calahrian Empire¿s Iron Elves Commander Konowa Swift Dragon felt he deserved a hero's welcome, but instead received exile as politics has its privilege. Acrimonious, angry, and cynical he wanders in self pity feeling he got the shaft. The military brass broke up his unit sending them from rebellious Hyntaland to the south and sent Konowa off by himself with no rank. His crime was killing the vicious bloody viceroy of Elfkyna, a political appointee who secretly served the evil witch the Shadow Monarch.----------------- With a new even nastier viceroy in place having locals killed on a whim, the Shadow Monarch grows stronger threatening the empire. Desperate for sound military leadership, Konowa is asked to return to duty to lead the fabled Iron Elves. However, he finds his unit is not the same as these are simple men not elven warriors and their commander is an idiot who is heir to the empire. His mission is to retrieve the Red Star that has allegedly fallen somewhere to the east and heralds a special magic that has returned. His allies are elfkynan witch Visyna Tekoy who like her brethren hate elves and empires, and the most untrustworthy profession of them all a reporter Rallie Synjyn. Revolt is in the air fostered by the Shadow Monarch who also goes after the Red Star.-------------- Though somewhat by the writer¿s 101 standardized book for high fantasy quest, Chris Evans uses contradictory traits to make his key cast members seem fresh and different for instance the disgraced Konowa wanders forests, but unlike the stereotypical elven he loathes woodlands, etc. The story line is fun to follow even when the hero grumbles every step of the way. With the premise that my enemy¿s enemies are my allies but still my enemies, A DARKNESS FORGED IN FIRE is an engaging saga.-------------- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    For English Class :)

    In this book, ‘A Darkness Forged in Fire’, by Chris Evans, we learn the main character, Konowa Swift Dragon, was cast out of his elven tribe because of a marking on his ear. This marking was a sign from the Shadow Monarch, the antagonist of this story. Basically this means he was cursed; the tribe had a ritual where they would ‘bond’ with a special tree, which gave them some form of enlightenment. He was cast out, and as he grew up decided to join the Calahrian Imperial Army as an officer. He later is dishonorably discharged for assassinating the Viceroy of his Regiment; as the Viceroy was evil, to say the least. Konowa and his Regiment, ‘The Iron Elves’, were disbanded, and Konowa was forced to live in seclusion, in the woods for a number of years. After a number of years, he meets a girl who was told to bring him back to the Empire. Seeing as he hadn’t talked to anybody in quite a while, he assumed she was trying to kill him and attacked her; they fought for a bit, and the girl, Visyna, tells him that the Duke of Rakestraw sent her. Later in the book we find out he used to be friends with the Duke. He informs Konowa that the Prince of Calahr is seeking an artifact, and has ordered the Iron Elves to be reformed. Konowa is a bit sketchy towards the idea, mostly because the Prince would be the commanding officer, and the Prince had NO military knowledge what-so-ever, aside from the books he had read. He finally agreed as the Duke and multiple others talked him into it. From there, they gather troops, and take off towards the artifact…

    My overall opinion of this book was that it was a very entertaining book after the first few chapters. I was very bored the first 2-3 chapters because it was solid details on something I had no idea about. It cleared up quite a bit, and made much more sense after the 4th chapter or so. With that being said; after the 4th chapter, I became so entertained with the book, that I found it hard to stop reading. This book is a fantasy-military style book, so I would only recommend it to people who like fantasy-style books, and like military-style books. Personally, I liked the book, although it could get confusing at times. There was so much detail thrown at me, I forgot what I was reading about; but not so much I was completely lost. Again, I really enjoyed reading the book, but it had quite a bit of detail.

    -Jake M.

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  • Posted October 16, 2011

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

    super fun book to read, recommended

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  • Posted February 6, 2011

    great read

    i just couldnt stop reading thos book would please anyone

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  • Posted December 25, 2010

    I couldn't stop!

    A great read! It's a rare book that allows you to become so lnvolved with the characters where you laugh out loud and get mad when you reach the end!

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  • Posted May 4, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Judging a Book by it's cover has worked again!

    A Darkness Forged in Fire, book one of the Iron Elves series, is a great read. I picked it up two days ago, and pretty much read it straight through. Chris Evans has created a vast, deep world in which swords, muskets, cannons, and magic combine to make a huge splash in the fantasy pool. Konowa Swift Dragon, the former colonel of the disbanded Iron Elves, sacrificed everything to destroy an agent of the evil Shadow Monarch. The former Iron Elves were composed entirely of elves born with the "taint" of the evil Shadow Monarch, a twisted, powerful witch parallel to one of the Matrons of the Dark Elves of the Underdark in Forgotten Realms. The Iron Elves fought with bravery and tenacity to overcome their stigma of being "touched by Her". At the end, they were awarded with disbandment and sent to the southern wastes to end their careers in the unenviable task garrison duty on the sandy frontier. When the Prince of the Realm brings Konowa out of his forced retirement, he is given command of the newly re-formed "Iron Elves" created from the dregs of the Army, with only a handful of elves, a single dwarf, and the human wastrels the other units are only too happy to get rid of. With a deeply flawed, yet strong as steel commander willing to do whatever he can (even though the pompous Prince of the Empire is "in charge") to make sure his new "Iron Elves" will not fail again, things just might start looking up. But then they are tasked with a mission to search out the fallen Red Star, and arrayed against them is an open rebellion by the native elfkynan of the land, and the mysterious Shadow Monarch, they could very well be marching to their doom.

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A worthy read

    Too often these days fantasy novels seem trite, unoriginal and have poor character development or over compensate and delve too deeply into individual characters, leaving us with 900 page bores. Although not necessarily blazing new trails, Iron Elves manages to overcome these issues with a good solid story, humor and great character development, without loads of nonsense. A little slow to start, the book eventually takes off and held my attention, keeping me wondering what was going to happen next. I look forward to picking up the next book from Mr. Evans and finding out what happens to Konowa and his band of Iron Elves who aren't really elves. Particularly the dwarf Yimt. I've finally found a new and interesting author to read. Worth the price of admission.

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  • Posted August 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great For Fantasy Lovers

    Draws you in from the dramatic first line all the way to the end- One of those few books you stay up all night reading because you can't put it down! Great new author, I can't wait to read more from him!

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  • Posted July 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Surprised

    It was a surprising read for me. It started out slow and the character Kanowa was not the easiest to like at first, but he grew on me the more I listened. (I listened to it first and then bought the book.) I really grew to love the soldier dwarf and his young soldier in training. I am looking forward to reading and hearing the second book.

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  • Posted February 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Somewhat original but could use a LOT of work

    There are so many things wrong with this book that frankly I'm surprised I was able to finish it. I'll tell you from now, there was a lot of eye rolling on my part. <BR/><BR/>1. Some fantasy authors do a great job introducing the readers to a different world filled with magic and mythical beings. Evans does a poor job. His fantastical world is barely believable. This is probably due to the way he introduces readers to the story and of course his poor analogies (eye roll and "oh please"). You eventually buy into but it still leaves you feeling a bit skeptical. <BR/><BR/>2. Thumbs down for the romance aspect. The chemistry between the hero and his lady is there at first but then fizzles and mid way through becomes forced and rushed. The dialogue between the two becomes stilted and by the end of the story I was ROLLING my eyes every time the two love birds interacted. <BR/><BR/>3. The dialogue between the all the characters is stilted. It's like an action movie; good dialogue is way too much to ask for. <BR/><BR/>4.One thing that really annoyed me about this book is how people who were not there when something happened nor were they told of such happenings, but some way some how, they knew. Maybe the author did not see the need to tell us how characters became informed. And i guess our hero was pretty transparent since everyone seems to know what he was thinking. Sort of at odds with his military background. Also, There are certain moments that makes you go "huh?" (and roll your eyes) You find yourself flipping back to early pages to see if you missed something. <BR/><BR/>5. I must say that I did not bond with the main characters. During the final battle I really did not care whether or not they triumphed. <BR/><BR/><BR/>Now some good: there are a lot of stories out there about elves but I found the authors take familiar but at the same time different. It does have some originality. I want to learn more about the elves, so I might pick up the next book. And Evans is a new author so his style might improve.

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  • Posted January 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The first in a new fantasy series, 'Darkness' adds a freshness to the genre.

    You have the good, the bad, the good that was tainted to be predisposed to be bad, and the bad that was originally good intentions. Then you have the trees and nature which are also good, bad, or tainted. The characters are interesting, a lot of them being more than they appear, and their personalities grow as a new curse/bond becomes apparent. You have a naive prince, military brotherhood, and politics out the wazoo. I look forward to the next book.

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    Posted November 7, 2011

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    Posted April 25, 2011

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    Posted March 9, 2010

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    Posted May 14, 2011

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    Posted August 6, 2009

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