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The Fade

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  592 ratings  ·  59 reviews
A subterranean world of vast caverns, underground seas, crystalline forests. A civilisation born of darkness, in darkness, protected by shadows. A city of merchants, whose eyes have turned upward to the surface, where the lethal light of day beats down on their world. A conspiracy so vast that it will swallow them all . . .

A stunningly original fantasy from a multi-award w
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published October 18th 2007 by Gollancz (first published January 1st 2007)
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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  592 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve enjoyed two of Chris Wooding’s series, the Firely-goes-Steampunk adventures in the Tales of the Ketty Jay series and the Japanese-themed epic fantasy series “The Braided Path”. In between those two series he also wrote a standalone fantasy novel set in a world of underground caverns where civilisations are engaged in a long war from supremacy far beneath a surface that is so hostile life can barely survive there.

The novel starts literally in the middle of the story as Orna, a highly skille
Stavros Tsiakalos
Feb 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was walking up and down in the bookstore with the need to read something. The Fade did not catch my eye - neither the title nor the cover seemed interesting. Eventualy, more bored than interested I did look at it. The back cover promised a great conspiracy, but I have learned not to expect too much - it is very hard to write a good conspiracy or intrigue.
I had a look at page one to see if I would even enjoy the author's style. The writing was fast paced and I quickly found myself halfway down
Jan 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This was a fantastic sci-fi story, on a world where civilisation exists underground, away from the scorching and fatal sun. Orna is an assassin, a spy, and essentially a slave, indentured to the house that employs her. However, when she is captured by the enemy, and her husband is killed, she realises that her loyalties have been misplaced and desperately tries to make her way home, back to her son.

Wooding writes beautifully, and the world he's created is intensely compelling. This is one of the
Mar 17, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
View #1

One Star...I did NOT like it. Why? A four-star author does some great prep work, then writes a two-star story that is almost not good. An insightful author writes some good words and ideas while the story walks a center-line between OK and UNREMARKABLE. Things get better after a while. I am starting to like, I guess I'm wrong...The publisher has used toxic smelling ink or paper, so I am offended by the odor emitting from my 312 page paperback copy, and I see the story is just m
Mar 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of revenge dramas, action thrillers, and mysteries.
Recommended to Krys by: Peadar O'Guilin
I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK. This was one of my top 3 books I read in 2008. Stunning, gripping, riveting action sequences... emotionally real people. Everyone should be honoured to read something by Mr. Wooding. He is my new English novelist boyfriend after all. ;)

*This book made me automatically buy several other books of Mr. Wooding's... none of which, at this time in late 2009, I have read yet. I'm savouring them.
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I adored his Ketty Jay series. While The Fade is very good, I found it bleak. I think I prefer lighter more irreverant fantasy these days!
Jana Tetzlaff
Mar 07, 2012 rated it liked it
The Fade

The plot unfolds in a subterranean world of tunnels and caves on a moon whose surface is apparently uninhabitable due to the increased radiation of two suns. The story is narrated from the POV of one Cadre Massima Leithka Orna, assassin and spy from the city of Veya in Eskara, one of several nations, currently at war with the people of Gurta. Orna is held in one of the Gurta prisons inside a fort called Farakza, situated on the edge of the Borderlands. They prisoners are held in caves be
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have really loved a lot of Wooding's books but this was not one of them. I only read the first 80 pages of this book and that was a colossal struggle for me. The first chapter started out action-packed and incredibly engaging...and then things just kind of go down hill.

The book jumps between the current and the past as we read about the struggles our heroine is going through and her history. While this works for a lot of books, in this book it was very jarring and made the story seem very disj
This isn't the type of book I'd usually read, so I wasn't sure what to expect from it. I liked the description of it, and it sounded quite promising. It turned out to be okay. It wasn't great but it wasn't bad either. I really enjoyed reading about the difference between all the tribes, both underground and aboveground. Oran had a very distinct voice which made her feel very real. Unfortunately, I didn't find the book all that engaging. It moved pretty slow and I thought the chapters counting do ...more
Aug 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The plot is a little predictable, but the world building and characterization are both great. Chris Wooding is a great and vastly under-rated writer.
Malcolm Cox
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Predominantly, this is an escape story with the captured heroine’s plight in the prison, interspersed with farther reaching flashbacks to the events leading up this this moment in her life. In that, it was fun the way the chapter numbers started in the 20s and alternatively decreased with each subsequent flashback chapter (to 0) and increased with the continuation of the story. The escape itself played second to this aspect and to the inventive characters and immersive world they are in. The und ...more
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This one of the most astonishing feats of world-building I have encountered. A subterranean civilization on a moon scorched by the deadly light of two suns. A war between two vividly drawn cultures fought in the caverns of giant fungi. The protagonist, a mother and an assassin, whose story unfolds in reverse order. Sounds perfect and would be perfect, if, paradoxically, the novel was longer. Normally I can’t stand interminable fantasies in which every detail is painstakingly explained several ti ...more
JJ DeBenedictis
Dec 13, 2013 rated it liked it
The Fade has very skilled writing, kickass action, and some seriously squee-worthy world-building. What it does not have, unfortunately, is an affecting story, but I'm still recommending it as a solidly entertaining novel set in a world that is magnificent.

The characters live inside a moon that circles a gas giant orbiting a binary star system. The sunlight from those stars is lethal, however, so the characters live underground in what--to the reader--seems like a fantasia of caverns, crystals,
Perry Watson
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: low-fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing

I hated this book. It's been a while since a book has made me *feel* so much! It tore me right apart. Twice. I can barely describe how miserable I'm feeling right now.

The funny thing is, I've always criticized stories with pleasant, happy endings ~ mocking them because they're just not 'realistic' enough. In real life there's no happy endings, right? Things die and fade away and you're going to experience pain.
(view spoiler)
Stephanne Stacey
Nov 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chris has such a talent of creating environments that are so unique and imaginative. This book is no different. The living spaces, battle areas, prison, animals, and cultures are so thought out it awakes your mind.

His writing style in this book is different than the other books that I have read of his. It's short direct sentences are hard to get used to at first, but add to the character of the protagonist. Such a great way to enter Orna's mind and get a feel of who she is. At times you can fee
Feb 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I thought this book was fantastic and for me reminiscent of the time machine by H. G. Wells and China Mieville's bas lag books; all books I love. The distinction between races that live above ground and below, both adapted over hundreds of generations reminded me of Well's time machine, with the political, warring aspects of subterranean life together with an array of individual races with their own cultures reminding me of Mieville's Bas Lag. Whilst Woodings work brought to mind two other fanta ...more
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I picked it up from a second hand store, I'd never heard of it but the summary interested me enough. After reading it I think I can honestly say I like it.

The story, while straightforward, is solid and has quite a few twists (that you may or may not see coming, I didn't :P). The world created is original and fleshed out, probably the best thing about the book. The writing is also great, fast paced without the story feeling rushed.

My only big complaint wo
J Thorne
Dec 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I walked around the local library waiting for something to jump out at me and then I spotted The Fade. From the first sentence I was hooked on the characters and a world unlike any I have ever read before. I couldn't stop thinking about this book and hated having to go to work when all I wanted to do was stay home and finish the story!
The Fade surprised me at every turn, it was unpredictable and I didn't know what would happen next and had no idea how it would end. There were heart-wrenching mom
May 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another Big Kiss for Chris Wooding for making my reading time 100% Pure Bliss!!!! The Fade is an compelling and intelligent Novel. It is a exceptionally original fantasy from a multi-award winning Author. Deep in the enemy territory a captive languishes in an inescapable prison. A skilled assassin, a thief, a spy; highly intelligent, exceptionally dangerous and dangerously obsessed. She wants out & for those Dark souls who put her in there she wants them Dead.... blown up nothing left DEAD.. ...more
Feb 13, 2014 rated it liked it
The Good: I really enjoyed reading this book. I was very happy that the author was able to create great characters and a whole world without being overly descriptive. I would love to read more stories about this place the author created.

The action was well written. It made what could have been a dull plot, exciting and enjoyable.

The Bad: As much as this book was fun to read, I wasn't overly happy with the plot. I felt it was kind of weak and predictable.

I was very conflicted about the main ch
Just can't muster the energy to finish a novel about a character I just don't care about, and who seems completely one-dimensional despite her maternal angst patina ... Done now! Too bad, because I've loved Wooding's other work, but 90 pages in and this hasn't grabbed me at all.

ETA: Read some other reviews, so I'm giving this another chance. Let's see what happens!

Definitely glad I went back and gave this another chance; Orna ended up being a lot more interesting (and not nearly as all-knowing a
Apr 14, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Couln't finished it, I was too bored.

The characters were caricatured. How Orna is so good for being a Cadre women (that is, we don't even know what a Cadre is...)

Also, I didn't feel that there was any conflict or trigger to allow the story to make sense. It was like I was reading descriptions all along.

Because I don't want to waste time on boring novels while I can use this time for a good one, I have a rule that says that if after 1/5 of the book I'm not intrested, I drop it because it's not wo
Aug 19, 2008 rated it liked it
Orna is an assassin and a spy. she ends up captured, in the ongoing war between her people and the Gurta, and in a Gurta prison.

on the surface, this book is about her determination and strength of purpose to get home and to stop her son becoming a warrior.

the book alternates her story past and present, giving us insight into her, her husband and her society - and her world. of civilsations living underground, in fear of the blinding suns.

she's a stubborn heroine, with the intelligence and the s
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I just finished Iron Jackal, the third in the Ketty Jay trilogy of steampunk pirate books. Hungry for more Chris Wooding I purchased ' The Fade' without knowing what I was getting into.

What I found is the best book I have read since gardens of the Moon. An instantly accessible thriller with a mean visceral punch set in an immaculately conceived world. All in 400 pages.

I can't wait for the 'Ace of Skulls' in the meantime I am going to try to share this writer with as many people as possible.
Jeffery Chatham
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Fade is a pretty gripping tale about a mother/assassin trying her hardest to reconnect with her son. Having been taken prisoner after a brutal counterattack by the enemy her people are waging war with, Orna risks her life in a desperate escape from a hellish prison. After her successful bid for freedom, Orna faces a multitude of setbacks and betrayals, but ultimately manages to get back to her home city. Chris Wooding wrote a very exciting story that satisfied me and left me wanting more.
Ava Quesada
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another brilliant book by Chris Wooding. Honestly the world in which this story takes place is crazy! A civilization living in caverns underground, never once seeing the light of the sun (for reasons to be told in the book) with florescent wildlife everywhere! The way is which Wooding describes this land is astounding. It's a refreshing new take on modern fantasy, because let's face it, fantasy novels like to retell the same stories in the same way...over and over...
Alan Heal
Jul 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Bit of a disappointment, this one, which I picked up hot on the heels of the Braided Path trilogy (for which, if you haven't already discovered it, I envy you), but still a pretty competent adventure fantasy. The jumpy-aroundness serves to stretch out the rather simplistic plot, and although the worldbuilding seems a little under-muster, Wooding's trademark descriptiveness goes some way to make up for these shortcomings.
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countdown or press-error 1 4 Aug 28, 2013 11:53AM  
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Chris Wooding grew up in a small town in Leicestershire, where not much of anything happened. So he started to write novels. He was sixteen when he completed his first. He had an agent by eighteen. By nineteen he had signed his first book deal. When he left university he began to write full-time, and he has been doing it professionally all his adult life.

Now thirty-nine, Chris has written over twe
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“They believe all connections are temporary, so to cling to them makes no sense. When someone is gone, they're gone. Live for now; the present is all there is. You can't know what will happen next, so why worry? Consequences are natural and.inevitable. just do what you feel you must.” 3 likes
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