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Fade to Black

(Rojan Dizon #1)

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  928 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews
From the depths of a valley rises the city of Mahala.

It’s a city built upwards, not across—where streets are built upon streets, buildings upon buildings. A city that the Ministry rules from the sunlit summit, and where the forsaken lurk in the darkness of Under.

Rojan Dizon doesn’t mind staying in the shadows, because he’s got things to hide. Things like being a pain-mage,
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Orbit (first published January 1st 2013)
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Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Feb 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who don't mind James Bond's treatment of women
Alright, I have a lot of fairly unpleasant things to say about Fade to Black, so I want to stress first and foremost that I don't think this is a bad book. For some people, it's probably even an incredibly delightful book, but I am not one of those people. Francis Knight's Fade to Black is very much a "dude" book. Much as I don't like to subscribe to gendered reading, this book will have more appeal with men, largely due to the portrayal of women.

Let's start off with what I did like, because the
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi
I got this ARC from the publisher (YEAH IM ON A LIST!!!)

This is a really cool, dystopian sort of fantasy/sci-fi world mashup, it's hard to describe, because there's magic and yet there's tech as well. It's supposed to be very China Mieville, but since I've never been able to get through one of those books, I'll just take people's word for it, lol.

I DID get through this one, and enjoyed it a LOT! The world building is crazy interesting, the characters are very noir, and the plot was enough to kee
Mar 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
Disclaimer: This review may contain spoilers.

First of all I want to say that in reading this book I get the feel the author is not a big fan of organized religion. If you have issues with this I recommend you to not read this book, it will offend you.

I’d call the people entering “worshippers” for want of a better word – most of them only went into get out of the rain. But they gave thanks, Goddess knows what for, poor bastards, and they gave alms. They never wondered, never thought that they wer
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Original review posted at Kirkus

"I believe in cash, and that men aren’t made for monogamy, that there isn’t a woman alive I can’t get into bed if I try hard enough, and never cross the Ministry. Shit like that. I believe them like crazy."

The city of Mahala is built upwards and its populace spread across different levels. The sunlit summit is for the rich, privileged ruling class, called the Ministry. The levels below are for all the rest, and the lower one goes the poorer–and darker–it gets.

Feb 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2015
Malhala. A vertical city, where buildings and streets are built on top of each other. People move between the area across bridges and walkways that shake when they are used. It is ruled by the Ministry, an all seeing, pervasive authoritarian government. The lowest of the city are the forsaken, who live right at the bottom of the city.

In this almost alien city is Rojan, a single guy who finds people when all is lost. He does this by breaking the law and using his illegal 'power mage' skills. Life
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fade to Black is Francis Knight’s debut novel, and I have to say, it kept me glued to my seat.

It starts off with Rojan, the protagonist, trying to catch a runaway girl, who tries to electrocute him and set him on fire when he goes after her, and keeps at that level of action until the last page of the book.

Rojan, while a little ruff around the edges at first is a likable protagonist who over the course of the next few books in the series has the potential to really grow into a fantastic protagon
Sadie Forsythe
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Oh man, this book and I didn't get along. There were bits I appreciated, the dark, gritty, almost post-apocalyptic atmosphere, the idea behind the pain mage, the fact that the writing is pretty crisp, and such. But I just had a lot of ragey issues with it.

Now, I'll acknowledge that Rojan was an anti-hero and normally I can handle, even like an anti-hero. But combined with the sexism in the book, it was more than I could handle and still come out liking the character or the book.

We'll start wit
All Things Urban Fantasy
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

Yawn. That’s the first word that comes to mind when I think of this book. Or maybe bland. Both are apt descriptions for FADE TO BLACK. A few chapters in I wrote in my notes that it seemed as if the author had a checklist of everything she thought should go in an urban fantasy novel and merrily went down the list as she wrote the book. This feeling never changed as the book progressed.

The main character of the book is Rojan Dizon. He’s a stereotype of ev
Craig Slater
Feb 05, 2013 rated it liked it
It's not all quite there yet, but the characters (broken twisted intriguing and enticing), the world (the sordid, layered filthy depths of the city), the magic (clever painful ideas) and how these fantasy ideas meet technology (smart, wind-up girl, near future ideas) meets urban fantasy (dark, funny, surreal ideas) -that's good - no great stuff!
Part Perdido Street Station, part (Simon R Greens) something from the Nightside.
A lighter (almost YA) writing style but with some pretty gruesome and h
Tuğçe Gökırmak
Mar 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Bu yorum daha önce da yayınlanmıştır.

Karanlığa Doğru, Francis Knight’ın ve Rojan Dizon Serisinin ilk kitabı. Fantastik bir distopya – dark fantasy denilen türden – olan bu kitap, distopya türünde ki birçok benzeri gibi gelecekte geçmiyor, daha çok alternatif bir şimdiki zamanda geçiyor. Elf Yayınlarından 14 Mart’ta raflardaki yerini alacak kitap, oldukça karanlık ve yer yer zorlayıcı sahnelere sahip ama bence oldukça yaratıcı ve bir ilk roman için gayet başarılı, en az
Rusty's Ghost Engine (also known as.......... Jinky Spring)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
First person POV has become a hallmark of the Urban Fantasy genre. But this is more than urban fantasy. The author uses the term “noir” and that’s fitting. Noir needs voice, grit, and colorful characters. Add to that a government that holds its people in an iron grip, poverty, lingering seepage of a substance called Synth that was an alternate power source until they realized it was killing everybody, and the sorts of people that flourish in the dank and dirt of a city choking on it’s own popula ...more
Kitvaria Sarene
I must say that I enjoyed the first half a lot more than the second half.
The worldbuilding was great - as was the mystery of how it all happened - and what exatly had happened. Also the main character was humorous and fun to read.
In the second half we see only a bit of the world anymore - and besides one major reveal nothing new appears anymore. Also the witty character starts to doupt himself more and more. That would be quite fine, if it was a progression of the character, but at first he is a
Jun 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Fade to Black is the debut novel of author Francis Knight. I picked up the book after reading about it on Chuck Wendig's website,
A dystopian urban fantasy novel, Fade to Black features the city of Mahala, a vertical place where the most rich and powerful lived above, and got to know how the sun looks like, and the poor people lived below, into darkness and corruption.
The main character is Rojan Dizon, a bounty hunter turned "recovery agent" the moment his niece gets kidnapped
Courtney Nicole
Nov 28, 2016 rated it did not like it
It's a bummer when you decide to give up on a book. Then again, if you've only been able to finish 50 pages after a week of trying it's not so sad anymore, it's a relief.
•I just couldn't get into this book, I kept finding / making excuses to not pick it back up.
(Even though I try to give a book a chance to at least 100 pages in)

•I wasn't a fan of the writing "style" at all
-The writing was bland, it felt very young, forced and rigid.
(I got over 4 pages of info-dumping in chapter 3 if that's a
Michelle Smith
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great idea in this one. I really enjoyed it. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I kept reading it until, nay, while, I fell asleep, thus missing some plot points. Knight did a good job keeping me up to date though, as I was able to keep track.

I love the idea of the city that has multi-layers, strata of demographic based on how close you get to the clouds.

Yes, it does evoke Mieville's 'The City & the City', but only in terms of a city that provokes thought about class and privilege. They do both
Wendy Darling
This is one of those "it's not you, it's me" cases. I think. Read to around 175 pages before admitting this just wasn't grabbing me.

Mini review to come.
Misty Baker
Sep 09, 2013 rated it liked it
**2.8 Review - As posted on KindleObsessed blog**

Today’s review is brought to you by the letter D, as in…defining a genre.

For the last four years I have taken for granted that my readers know the details of genres when I bring them up. Thriller, paranormal, high-fantasy…all of these words flow out of my mouth without a single thought. I assumed as a reader you knew what you were picking up. But it wasn’t until the rise of New Adult last year that I realized this might not actually be the case. I
See this review and others like it at!

Fade to Black by Francis Knight was an interesting new world, but it did feel a little rough around the edges. I am looking forward to seeing how Ms. Knight continues to develop her world after the events of this book and will definitely be checking out the second installment.

Rojan Dizon is our main character. He's part PI part bounty hunter but things get personal when his niece is kidnapped. Rojan promises his brother that he will do
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rojan ist ein Kopfgeldjäger und schreckt auch nicht davor zurück ein Mädchen zu ihrer Familie zurückzubringen auch wenn er weiß dass es ihr dort nicht gut ergeht.

Allerdings gibt er dem Mädchen einen Plan zur Hand wohin es beim nächsten Mal flüchten kann.

Rojan scheint in erster Linie kein Gewissen zu haben, allerdings scheint mehr in ihm zu schlummern als ihm selbst bewusst ist.

Das Cover macht Lust auf mehr von er Geschichte des Mannes der auf eine Stadt hinabblickt. Und auch
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
Remember those episodes of Star Trek TNG where Picard and Data would don fedoras and hit the holodeck from some much needed R'n'R sleuthing in 20th century America? I loved those episodes, knock-out dames, gangsters, the glitz and glamour of the 30s era and a good mystery are incredibly appealing. So appealing that authors and TV shows still draw on those kinds of stories, whether directly like the Castle episode "The Blue Butterfly" where Castle imagines Beckett and himself as the stars of a co ...more
Ian Banks
Apr 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Fade To Black is Francis Knight’s first novel. It is also the first volume of a series about the private detective/ bounty hunter/ soldier of misfortune Rojan Dizon. In this introductory volume, Rojan has just “recovered” the daughter of a prominent citizen of the towering city of Mahala when he is approached by his brother who wants him to rescue his daughter, recently taken by the mysterious agents of the Ministry for some nefarious purpose of their own…

As it is the first volume of an eponymou
Erica Wagner
Mar 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I chose to read this book because I ran across a blurb for it online, and it just looked interesting. It was a page turner and I never stopped wanting to learn what would happen next (in fact, I put down the other books I'm reading in order to finish this one first). I enjoyed Rojan, the protagonist. He had a clear and distinctive voice and enough pathos to be intriguing but with plenty of redeeming features. The author dribbled the information and backstory into the tale at just the right pace ...more
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up on a whim while wandering around my local Barnes and Noble. I'm usually very picky about what I read; with a limited amount of time available I don't have the desire that I did as a child to read through every book that I come across. So I was a little surprised with myself that, not only did I buy the book based on the cover and blurb on the back, but that I ended up really enjoying it. I finished it that day, reading well into the early hours of the morning. The story sta ...more
Jess Coco
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
This was ok. I can see it being popular, and I can see the appeal. The book bears a lot of similarities to Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series, in that both are clearly inspired by noir thrillers. My criticism for both is this - can you not update the noir tropes a little? Not all female characters have to be sex objects and/or damsels. I was surprised to find that this book was written by a woman, given how clearly the book is geared towards a male audience. There is one tough female supporting ...more
Shania Schiff
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
I really expected more from this. To start out the author has this amazing cool concept and ideas, but kinda ruins it all with the slightly boring way it's written throughout parts of this book. Don't get me wrong there were good parts in it where it was interesting where others just seemed to drag on and it just made me wanna skim the page and get over with it.

Also our heroine, Rojan, was a sexist asshole sometimes throughout the book. And I just could not stand his cocky ass attitude that he t
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was torn between a 4 and a 5, as it's a 4.5 give or take. But I'll give a bit of round-up error to a debut, and for a fantasy which along its stratified and satisfying worldbuilding and entertaining first person narrative voice and "what's going to happen next?" story touches up against some real ethical and moral questions about energy, pollution, classes, etc. Definitely recommended, certainly expect to see this on the Locus ballot for first novels, if not the fantasy ballot outright, though ...more
A unique setting and a fascinating culture really isn’t enough to make Fade to Black stand on its own. While this is a solid book, with a fast moving plot and some great prose that bring Mahala and the events that transpire to life, Fade to Black just lacks the imaginative qualities I look for. The protagonist is incredibly stereotypical and the plot is also very predictable due to its own been-there-done-that qualities. That being said, I realize that not everything has to be new, fresh and inv ...more
Lex Larson
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one, really.
If the protagonist were absent from the story, I would have enjoyed this book more. Considerably so.

The pieces that were interesting: the world building and a number of the supporting characters. These are the only things keeping it from a firm 1-star rating.

The pieces in need of improvement: all the representations of women.

The pieces that were utterly repulsive: the protagonist, everything he said, and everything he did. I loathed the protagonist. I never want to read a first-person account
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A really enjoyable read. I'm happy to have found a female author with the same style of humour & writing as other authors I really enjoy, such as: Jim Butcher, S.G. Browne, and most recently, Jake Bible. The main character is flawed, but likeable; the story told from a first person viewpoint that is often quite cynical. Without giving away too much, I will say that the fantasy-world setting has a heavy element of steampunk to it, and the magic aspect of the storyline contains an interesting ...more
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