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Black Sun Rising (The Coldfire Trilogy #1)

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  11,251 ratings  ·  401 reviews
On the distant world of Erna, four people--Priest, Adept, Sorcerer, and Apprentice--are drawn together to battle the forces of evil, led by the demonic fae, a soul-destroying force that preys on the human mind.
Paperback, 496 pages
Published September 6th 2005 by DAW Trade (first published 1991)
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mark monday
Black Sun Rising; Or, How Ciani Got Her Groove Back.

two major things to note in this sometimes absorbing, sometimes ridiculous science fantasy novel: a fascinatingly developed magic system and a head-smackingly stupid quest.

regarding the stupidity, let's first clear the air with some extended ranting, so we can later speak on more pleasant things and end on an agreeably positive note. C.S. Friedman seems like an endearing author; her writing style can be lazy but it can also be interestingly qui
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Stephen
5.0 to 5.5 stars. C.S. Friedman is one of my favorite authors and I have never read one of her books that I haven't loved. I am in the process of re-reading her books after first reading them many years ago and I started with this one.

The first book of the "Coldfire" trilogy, this book takes place on the planet Erna which was colonized by people from Earth over a thousand years ago. When the colonist first landed on Erna, they discovered the "Fae" which is a natural force that causes the though
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Mpauli
With Black Sun Rising, author C.S. Friedman transports us into a world of darkness, where your fears can manifest themselves to haunt and hunt you.

Erna is a planet humans from earth reached via spacship and settled onto. This sounds like SF, but is just a backdrop for a dark fantasy novel.
The society wasn't able to hold up to the level of progress of a spacefaring people. So, the atmosphere is more of a gothic victorian world. Think Bram Stoker's Dracula and you have a good picture.

Eevryday life
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Kris43
Im having a hard time with rating this.

If I were to rate the world building and magic system, I would give it 5 stars, they are absolutely brilliant. This has strong sci-fi elements mixed with fantasy. The whole thing is happening in distant future. Humanity has moved to this planet that is totally different from planet Earth. It has something that at first looks like magic.

It is inhabited by sentiment forces who feed on human emotions/blood/semen and can be tapped to fuel various things. But t
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Mike (the Paladin)
Okay...this is another I'd like to give 3.5 as it's got to be above a 3 but I didn't care for it as much as I have many of the books I've given a 4.

It has an interesting "world system". I don't think the term "magic system works well here as it all has to do with the planet or world on which the action takes place. (To say more would of course entail spoilers). This book might be more accurately called "science fantasy" rather than epic or high fantasy as it's built around the assumption of an e
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Chris
There were some good elements of story here, and some good world concepts. However, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The prose is choppy, full of adverbs and redundancies. If I had to hear "he smiled grimly" one more time, I was prepared to gouge out my eardrums (I listened to the audio, obviously). The plot drags on and on. And on. And on some more. Events take forever to set up, and then when something does happen, I'm like "what the hell? Where did that come from? Should I rewind? Oh ...more
Pax
I finally made it to the end of this awful book, mostly by skipping about eighty pages in the latter half (figured out what I'd missed within five repetitive pages, and no need to slog through) and then skimming the rest.

All in all, this writer had a good idea, some fun character interplay potential and NO EDITING. As in, where was her EDITOR??? This could have been trimmed to less than half its dense, repetitive mass with such greater impact. Apparently this is part one of a trilogy -- the rest
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Mary
I'm not really sure what I didn't like about this book. The setting was amazing, the plot was interesting, the characters were... well, they weren't horrible, but I've read better. And that, I think, is where it lost me. I liked the characters well enough, but their problems didn't engage me. I wasn't particularly upset when one of the characters died, I wasn't particularly glad when they resolved some of their issues, and I wasn't particularly interested to find out what happened to them in the ...more
Chris
There is an old episode of Star Trek . . .


Okay, for you born after the 1990s, I'm talking about the really old ones. You know the ones with the Enterprise attached to a string, with Leonard, with Shatner and his ever changing girdle.

Anyway, in this episode, Lt. Uhura, who is very cool, gets her knowledge zapped by some alien in bad make up.


That's this book, sorta.


The book is about power, knowledge, people, and cost. Very few books deal with cost. This is one of them. I enjoyed this book very muc
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Ben Johnson
Black Sun Rising is a brilliant setting with a mediocre story. A warrior-priest and his companions track a demon in order to restore one of their member’s memories, but are forced into an alliance with perhaps the greatest evil of all: the former Prophet, damned by his own church and driven into a dark pact which brings both power and a vampiric curse. The novel sets up a variety of interesting themes but concludes its bloated story with cliches, a disappointment given the great world-crafting o ...more
Blake Charlton
five stars for classic science fantasy with wonderful world building. vivid setting and characters, a straight-forward and satisfying story. my only complaint concerned anachronisms in the prose style (e.g. characters from a pseudo-medieval (or maybe pseudo-neogothic) culture using corporate slang like "PR"). but overall, this is a wonderful series and deserves to be revisited in this era of gritty fantasy. i'm looking for the rest of the series.
Neda Stojkovic
I slogged through about half of the book, thinking maybe it will get better - I heard a lot of praises for this trilogy, so I expected something quite different. But I give up. I'm done. No more.
One reason why this book gets two and not one star is the magic system, which is interesting, if confusing - humans can use, consciously or unconsciously, natural forces of the planet Erna (called fae) to, well, do stuff, like materialize fantasies or nightmares, or change reality in accordance to their
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Noelle
I am almost finished with this book and even though it took me longer than usual to get into the story, i must admit that right now I will have a tough time putting the book down. I want to know what happens.
In this story, I seem to like the bad guy (a/k/a Gerald Tarrant) way better than the "good" guy (a/k/a Damien Vryce). Gerald has this "je ne sais quoi" about him, and I cannot help but like him ... Without wanting to give away the story, Cianni is a character that is necessary to the story,
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Jonathan

Black Sun Rising is another highly recommended fantasy novel that I took my time to get around to finally reading. Having completed this novel I admit that I am slightly torn about it as an entire experience. On the whole it is not quite as great a read as other novels I have rated four stars, yet at the same time there are large patches of the novel which are five star quality. These patches unfortunately mix with the three and two star patches.

The biggest - issue - I had with Black Sun Rising
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A.E. Marling
Fears and expectations shape this world. Worrying your sword could break causes it to do so, making more intricate technologies undependable and isolating this Earth colony on this planet. The power of thought harnesses natural energies, and those gifted with greater control and sight of these beautiful forces are called Adepts.

The story perspectives are male oriented, a warrior priest and an Adept's assistant. I loved the assistant's introduction: His fiance leaving him because she saw she'd al
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Kara
Okay... I struggled with this one. I liked the idea and the world of Merentha. Good characters, I really like Vryce, but I especially adore the evil Hunter. I'm not sure why, or how it happened, but I do. I also dearly love how the fae are represented, and how they interact with the people and the world of Merentha, and I appreciate it's complexity.

That said, I often found myself skipping over paragraphs and pages, so that I could move on with the story (in which I was truly interested), and not
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Sara
I absolutely, positively love this trilogy; it is one of my all time favorites. I've re-read this trilogy I don't know how many times and recommend it to everyone I know who enjoys fantasy/sci-fi.

In this trilogy, C.S. Friedman builds a world that is detailed and vibrant. Her characters are similarly well-written and interesting. Damien Kilcannon Vryce and Gerald Tarrant are probably my favorite characters from any book I have ever read.

The premise is that humanity has established itself on an al
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Lorena
I found the fantasy world that was created here to be very interesting, and the author certainly does like her anti-heroes, based on this book and the one other I've read by her so far. However, I felt that the backstory and some of the characters could have used more filling out. We've barely been introduced to our main characters when suddenly they are thrust into their Designated Quest, supposedly in part because of the deep feelings two of the characters apparently formed for each other virt ...more
Andy Kahl
When fantasy and science-fiction meet, you get the Coldfire Trilogy. This first book might have stood alone except for a paragraph or two in the last chapter. Yeah, there were loose ends, but aren't there always. So the story might have ended except for those couple of paragraphs, but isn't it grand that they didn't.
Anyway, the story really picks up the concept of the dark hero. One of the main characters, the primary antagonist I would say, has pretty much 'sold his soul to the devil'. He is by
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Xara Niouraki
What I Liked: the word building, the magic system, the writing, the relationships between the characters, the Hunter (he's awesome).

What I didn't like: the Priest (how much prejudice can one endure? Ok so you're religious... Deal with it...), the reason of the quest (I wouldn't go anywhere for a woman I've just met), the bad guy (view spoiler) (anticlimactic), the constant reference to earthquakes and tectonic plates (y
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Jasmine Me
A wonderful world, an interesting magic system, a bad storyline, that sums up this book for me, the characters were unlikable and the decisions they made that drove the plot onward were unbelievable and irrational, I'm not sure I want to continue with this series
Eve
Jan 10, 2014 Eve rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: sci-fi
Seamless and complex world-building. Not MM but the dynamic between the two main male characters is much richer than in most of the MM I've been reading lately - absolutely riveting and charged with tension.

Mankind has landed in a world where thoughts and emotions affect reality. Tarrant is a genius who's built up a religious defense against the world's dangerous reactions. However, his own brilliance brings him down, as he figures out a way to cheat death by using this world's special qualitie
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Kinga
How can you take such an interesting, excited and complicated world with so many conflict possibilities and write such a crap book about it? It’s rather amazing.

I haven’t read a proper fantasy novel since my early high school days. Back then I used chain-read Andre Norton but I can tell you very little about as it has been mostly eradicated from my memory to make room for all the plotlines of Grey’s Anatomy. Therefore I can’t tell you if C.S Friedman writes badly or whether she is in line with o
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Eric Allen
Black Sun Rising
The Coldfire Trilogy Book 1
By C.S. Friedman

A Retroview by Eric Allen

Imagine, if you will, a distant future where humanity has stretched his reach out amongst the stars, sending colony ships to find new, inhabitable worlds to colonize and populate. One such world, a world where magic, or the Fae, is an actual force of nature, created by natural elements and occurances, that is shaped by the willpower, imagination, and emotions of the people nearby. A world where merely having a ni
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Jason
Ms. Friedman is not the first to mix science fiction & fantasy--Gene Wolfe did it better--& the world she has created with this concoction is very compelling. Erna is a world to be explored--it's characters, it's societies, it's nations--but we are left with a story devoid of soul.

The main characters--a warrior-priest (Damien), an adept (Ciani) & a very evil Neoprophet (Tarrant, aka., The Hunter)--are all anti-heroes & not very likable--self-centered creeps are abound in this no
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Charn Singh
This books starts of well enough. Creates an interesting world and mysterious magic system. I thought I was liking it well when it started of. The world was almost alive. And there was clear potential for a great plot.
Sadly it went down the hole quite too soon. Even by the end of the book, I didnt give a damn for any single character. They were too much bland. And then the plot itself was so disbelievingly pathetic and that half of the times i was thinking of deleting off the book itself from my
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Jacqie
I read this book for the first time in the 90's and was a little worried that it would not have aged well. But upon rereading it, I enjoyed it just as much. The best thing about the book is the concept of the Fae, forces that shape fears and wishes into reality. The idea that the human will could physically impose itself on the outside world in such a concrete way is fascinating. We also get a semi-vampiric antihero written more than a decade before the Twilight frippery. _This_ is what you can ...more
Monica
This is a good book, and the concept behind the plot is really intriguing, but there were places where the story line lagged a bit. I also had a bit of trouble connecting with the characters. But there is great imagery in this book, and the setting and descriptions are really awesome. In conclusion there are some things that I loved about this book, and other things that I didn't really like that much.
Rob Towell
This is by far the best series I have ever read. From the start I was a little mixed about the idea of mixing Sci-Fi with my fantasy -although they are my two favorite genre’s and Sci-Fi usually has fantasy mixed in I prefer it to be a one way street.

By the time Damian was in town and the Hunter was introduced I was completely convinced this lady has skills. I enjoyed everything from the basic background elements and the implied and actual politics, down to the actual physics of the magic. In th
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Julie Marie
Sep 14, 2008 Julie Marie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fantasy readers looking for something a bit different, but well written
I've read this book in its entirety twice. I will probably read it in its entirety again before reading the other two in the trilogy.

I haven't read the other two in the trilogy because this book was SO good, I'm afraid of a letdown. Seriously. I'm sure it's a matter of what I like as opposed to what other people like, so I'm not going to say that everyone should read this book, or that everyone's going to like this book, but it's definitely one of my favorites.

The characters are all individuals
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Celia S. Friedman is a science fiction and fantasy author. She has also been credited Celia S. Friedman and Celia Friedman.
More about C.S. Friedman...
Crown of Shadows (The Coldfire Trilogy, #3) When True Night Falls (The Coldfire Trilogy, #2) Feast of Souls (The Magister Trilogy, #1) This Alien Shore Wings of Wrath (The Magister Trilogy, #2)

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