Fade to Black

Francis Knight, Author
Francis Knight. Orbit, $14.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-21768-2
Reviewed on: 12/10/2012
Release date: 02/26/2013
An itchy feeling of déjà vu accompanies the reading of this series launch featuring Rojan Dizon, a pain mage and detective in the futuristic city of Mahala. Rojan, a wisecracking bounty hunter in a flapping trench coat, joins forces with Pasha, a quirky man clearly destined to be a sidekick, and Jake, an outrageously gorgeous, leather-clad, emotionally reserved woman with brightly dyed red hair and a proficiency with swords. They take on evil in the always dark, wet, and glistening underbelly of a dystopian fantasy city powered by the agony of tortured children. While the central premise of magical powers accessed through pain may be disagreeably distinctive, the paint-by-numbers approach to character and setting overwhelms the engaging and carefully constructed narrative of Rojan, Jake, and Pasha’s invasion of the city’s fortress-like core. (Mar.)
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