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Black Sun Rising

(The Coldfire Trilogy #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  17,734 ratings  ·  670 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 Books (first published 1991)
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Lacey Pyle It's definitely fantasy, but I think it gets the science fiction label because it's set far in the future and as a result of successful extra planetar…moreIt's definitely fantasy, but I think it gets the science fiction label because it's set far in the future and as a result of successful extra planetary exploration and colonization. Somewhat misleading genre label.(less)

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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  17,734 ratings  ·  670 reviews

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mark monday
Apr 16, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
On second read my opinion remains mostly unchanged so does original review (with exception of fixing errors I couldn't be bothered to do first time around)

This was great.

Main plot has been seen many times.Fellowship travels to the hearth of darkness for good cause, in this case to restore hot sorceress power.Their travel will take them across Erna, planet who's creatures and natural laws are shaped but it's inhabitants both conscious and subconscious mind. Erna itself is biggest reason for my hi
Ben Johnson
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was a rather strange book. It is a fantasy story that has a basis in sci-fi. What do I mean? The story takes place on the planet of Erna. Humans had colonized Erna during the Space travel age. But, Erna was a strange world. The fey, magic, is powerful here. People's nightmares or dreams can come alive. This led to the destruction of the technology and now, thousands of years later, man uses the fey.
But it is an uneasy relationship. The fey creates dark forces and feeds on humans. Some huma
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mike (the Paladin)
Aug 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
fantasy fiction is everything
6 stars!My forth English fantasy fiction. I can't believe that i didn't read black sun rising before!!
Review to come.
Executive Summary: I have mixed feelings on this book. Sometimes it was a 2 star, sometimes 4, and in the end I settled on 2.5 rounded up. I wanted to like it more than I actually did.

Audiobook: One of the things that attracted me to doing this book was how much I enjoyed R.C. Bray as the narrator of The Martian. He's quite good here, but at some points he's "too good".

What do I mean by that? Well his voices for some of the characters are so spot on the description as to be jarring, and I'd spe
May 22, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
A re read for me. Read this back in the early '90's and completely forgot everything.

The good:

I liked the writing style in that it is very descriptive and shows more than tells. Tarrant and the priest were well developed and complex characters and I loved them both.

The world building was fantastic..beyond fantastic!

The pace was steady with good conflict and I did not skim.

The bad:

MC Ciani was a useless and underdeveloped charcter. She was not used to her full potential. I cared nothing about he
Apr 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook
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
Sep 12, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-completed
Started reading book as it was recommended to me by many people, and also a book club of which I am an member was doing it for this month.

But after almost completing almost 80% of this book, I don't give a damn about the world which the author has created neither the characters, so I am going to stop reading this book and further books in this series.

I am just going to highlight the weak points for this book.

1. The story is all over the place.

The book begins with a certain premise and plot, but
Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A very dark book features one of the best bad/still most interesting guys in fantasy books.
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was ok

This book is a mashup of several genres. It’s mostly a dark Gothic horror fantasy featuring vampires, demons, etc. But it’s also science fiction, since it takes place on Erna, a planet colonized by people from Earth at some indefinite future time.

Although the author showed considerable skill with world building, etc., this book left me cold.

In some ways it almost seems cartoonish. Like an inadvertent parody of its own genres.

I found it difficult to care about the well drawn characters but u
Jan 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: pub-1991
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
Kat  Hooper
Jul 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Black Sun Rising is the first novel in C.S. Friedman’s popular COLDFIRE trilogy. I read Dominion, the prequel novella, a couple of years ago after reading (and loving) several of her science fiction novels. I admire Friedman’s worldbuilding and her writing style.

The COLDFIRE trilogy feels like traditional epic fantasy, but it would best be categorized as science fantasy because it takes place in the far future on Erna, a planet colonized by humans looking for a habitable world. When they got to
Oct 30, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
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
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
Loved the setting and the world building- I thought for the first third of the book It was heading for at least 4 stars, but alas, the plot didn’t wow me and I found large parts of it boring!
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
1200 years ago, human colonists landed on the planet Erna, which they quickly discovered was home to an energy field called the force fae, which reacts to the human mind by giving life to people's unconscious fears and desires. This doesn't mix very well with human technology, so what we have here is a kind of post-apocalyptic science fantasy (indeed, the characters stop at an Inn of the New Sun early in the book, hint hint).

With that (very appealing!) background in place, our story proper begin
This book has been one that I’d been looking forward to in my SFF reading list and I was not disappointed! It has much more good/evil complexity than many of the fantasy books that were previously published (before 1991). Although it is in many ways a typical quest tale, Friedman gives it a couple of twists that distinguish it from earlier quest tales—one member of the party is undoubtedly evil and the party is looking to track down a demon-type entity which has stolen the memories of one of the ...more
Sep 13, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, a-own-it, dnf
Yet another book I couldn't finish. I gave this one a good try - read up to 176 and then asked myself "why am I forcing myself to read a book that bores me?". The characters are wooden and uninteresting - you learn pretty much nothing about them or even what they look like. The main guy falls in love with the girl in a week and decides to travel to the ends of the planet and face death just to help her. The magic system was not interesting to me and I really dislike the authors writing style. It ...more
Aug 11, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
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
Apr 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Read this trilogy ages ago, before I was even on GR. I've hardly seen it talked about on here which is a shame as although the pacing was poor in places and the supporting cast of characters was limited this was a memorable trilogy (especially this first installment) with one of the most unique and disturbing worlds in fantasy or sci-fi and a great relationship/bromance developed between the 2 lead characters. Gerald Tarrant was also a great anti-hero or maybe just straight up villain. A man who ...more
Triumphal Reads
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Cons - Silly relationship
- Somewhat slow start
Pros - Gerald Tarrant
- The planet Erna is an awesome setting
- Several deep themes are touched upon

4.5 out of 5 stars - Full review can be found at -
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Kitvaria Sarene
Don't let my low ranking deter you - this is a perfectly fine book, just not my exactly my personal cup of tea.

First off it has kind of a fairytale vibe for me - and I never liked those.

It also starts off with a feel like a secondary world - but after a short while (so no spoiler) we learn that it actually us humans in the future - and I personally HATE mix ups of realworld and secondary worlds. No idea why - it just doesn't click with me.

It is written emotionally - don't get me wrong, it isn't
Blodeuedd Finland
I struggled, oh how I struggled. This was the second time I started this book, the first was a DNF. This time I did get to half the book, but yawn.

The world is fascinating! Scifi mixed with fantasy. Humans came to a planet and settled. They lost their tech ad found magic and a cruel world. Awesome worldbuilding.

But, the characters are flat, the story was not interesting. After 250 pages I started to skim. I just could not bother anymore. At the end I closed the book, and will not read more or ca
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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

Other books in the series

The Coldfire Trilogy (3 books)
  • When True Night Falls (The Coldfire Trilogy, #2)
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