Tag Archives: Chris Evans

Review: Ashes of a Black Forest – Book Three of The Iron Elves by Chris Evans

Morning! Werner’s next review for you! πŸ™‚


This is the most mixed I’ve been after reading a series.

I enjoyed all three books but the whole way through the third book I felt that maybe Chris Evans decided to write a fourth book as surely this can’t be the last one. I was mistaken, though, and it was the end.

It just felt way too fast at the end. The entire series focuses on the Marked and the confrontation with the Shadow Monarch, but the finale spans about 30 pages only. There are also characters (Rallie) that are more then they seem, and the truth about them is only hinted at but not confirmed, which left me disappointed. Maybe if the caravan wasn’t attached and she had access to Khaman Rhal’s library, it might have turned out different (maybe things don’t always go as planed as in real life changing the outcome?) There are also the stars that play a major role in the story but we never really learn about them; again, there are hints but no confirmation. It made the world in which the tale plays off feel a bit 2D.

That being said, there is a lot to admire about the series. The magic was interesting and really made me respect trees. πŸ™‚ The weaving of natural energy and the natural order of things play a very important role here and how things can go very wrong if it’s out of balance. The oath the iron elves take and the effect it has on them is one of the main points in the story; how it can change ordinary soldiers into more. How power can corrupt and how we as people are not always equipped to deal with that.

The action is almost none stop when it gets underway and keeps you reading just that one chapter more to see if the characters take a breather. They rarely do.

Then there are the characters themselves, most of them memorable. Yimt the dwarf was my favorite, as I’m sure he would be with most fans of the series. He sticks with you and is comic relief without trying to be. Alwyn, the young innocent who Yimt takes under his wing, who had the biggest transformation and who I also found the most tragic. Then Konowa, the major himself, who is the main character in the story and just wants to redeem himself and the tainted elves like him. He is stubborn throughout the series and even though there is growth he stays true to himself even at the end. Lastly the crazy Viceroys – all three of them πŸ™‚

Book 1 had a bit of a slow pace for me but what and ending. Book 2 was a lot darker and showed Evan’s growth as an Author. Book 3 continues with the growth. I just wanted a little more.



If you decide to pick up the series, then all I can add is if you read it from Konowa’s perspective, you know it’s about his quest for redemption and that is your only focus then I’m sure the series will feel complete. A soldiers life is nothing if not unpredictable.

To order the book, or the entire trilogy, check out these links: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Book Depository, Exclusive Books. For more information on the author, check out his official website here.

Until tomorrow,


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Posted by on June 17, 2014 in Reviews


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LunaCon, Supernatural and The Reluctant Mage

Hey everyone, I hope you’ve all been well and reading awesome book! πŸ™‚ I thought I’d poke my head in and spread some news about various things. πŸ™‚

First up, Peter V Brett, Chris Evans, Jonathan Maberry and plenty of other authors will be at LunaCon 2010, New York’s oldest SFF Convention. πŸ™‚

Check out Pete’s post for details: LunaCon 2010. It’s coming up this weekend, so there’s plenty of time to get your schedules changed, modified, etc to attend. πŸ™‚

Next up, Karen Miller offers her thoughts on Supernatural Season 5 – quite a lacklustre season, in my opinion, but Karen is much more eloquent about these things than I am. πŸ™‚ Karen has also showed off the Aus-cover to The Reluctant Mage, which I have stolen for your viewing pleasure. πŸ™‚ The cover art was done by Greg Bridges.

As always, and until the next post,



Posted by on March 15, 2010 in Announcements


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Review: A Darkness Forged in Fire – Book 1 of The Iron Elves Trilogy by Chris Evans

Before I get to the review I should mention that I was interviewed for a Book Blogger Interview by the lovely Jo Stapley who runs Ink and Paper, a blog loaded with great fantasy book reviews! πŸ™‚ Thanks Jo, it was a really cool interview! πŸ™‚

Onto Chris Evans…

Sir, I am impressed! πŸ™‚

When I began reading the book, I was a bit worried that the book might turn out to be a case study in stereotypical fantasy – a wizard, transformed into an animal, sneaking into a very dangerous place – but as I read on, and sank deeper into the storyline, I got the feeling that a Steven Erikson was being pulled – the use of normal fantasy tropes in new, unique and interesting ways! Once I realized that, I really got down to enjoying the book. πŸ™‚

There are a few things that Chris does very well, and one of them is characters – not only does he not spend an inordinate amount of time describing the character (he fixes them in your mind in a few sentences), but each character is vibrant and unique and interesting. The main character, for example, is a pretty damn strange one! πŸ™‚ An elf that hates the forest definitely makes for an interesting character!

Konowa’s.. erm, lady friend did get a bit irritating, though, but maybe I’m just biased, because Konowa practically drives her to it, being a man’s elf and all. πŸ™‚ The way they dance around each other is very entertaining, though, and hopefully we’ll see them get a bit closer in The Light of Burning Shadows. πŸ™‚

Another character that was absolutely awesome was the rock-munching section leader! πŸ™‚ That dwarf is one of the best fantasy characters I’ve ever come across! He does steel the show, and I can’t wait to see where he goes and what he does in Book 2. πŸ™‚ (He better be in Book 2, Chris!)

Chris also builds a convincing, beautiful world with more than it’s fair share of dangers and intrigues, and he also handles the release of information about this world well – there are no info dumps, with info being made available as the characters themselves discover what they need to know, and this is always great to have, especially in fantasy. Fantasy worlds should speak for themselves and not be explained, something that Chris understands very well. πŸ™‚

In terms of action, the addition of muskets works very well! πŸ™‚ I got this whole Colonial England Vs Magic vibe, standing firm in the face of fearless natives! πŸ™‚ Chris takes us close in, very it’s furious and brutal, and also gives us those tactical viewpoints that are always cool (but not overdone here) in battle scenes! I hope we get to see what Chris can do with huge numbers in battle one day!

All in all, I was very impressed with A Darkness Forged in Fire – not only is it a great addition to Epic Fantasy, but it’s also a fun, entertaining book – something that will intrigue you with it’s cool characters, interesting plot, and it’s unique take on required fantasy elements! πŸ™‚

A definite 8/10!

A Darkness Forged in Fire

For those of you in SA, order your copies here, and order Book 2 here, and for those in the US, Book 1 and Book 2, and those in the UK, Book 1 and Book 2. πŸ™‚ Check out more info in Chris and his work at the Iron Elves website, and click here for Chris’ LiveJournal. πŸ™‚

A Darkness Forged in Fire is published in South Africa by Jonathan Ball.



Posted by on August 12, 2009 in Reviews


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The Light of Burning Shadows by Chris Evans – Giveaway Winners!!

That’s right, the winners have been chosen by the great and I’m ready to reveal the names of the lucky winners of what is sure to be another excellent novel from Chris Evans! πŸ™‚

Each winner, and there are ten of them, will be receiving a copy of Book 2 in The Iron Elves Trilogy, so if you haven’t yet checked your mail, do so – there may just be an email from me! πŸ™‚


Here are the winners:

Anwar Sheik, Lood Du Plessis from South Africa, Neville Thompson from South Africa, Joshua Lee, Joel Simard fromCanada, Lon Braidwood, Anders Lindh from Sweden, Mark Chitty from the UK, Lorraine Weldon from Ireland, Shaheer Gillani from Pakistan!

Congrats to all of you! πŸ™‚



Posted by on August 9, 2009 in Giveaways


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News and Updates!

So, I thought I’d not take up much of your time and let you know about some cool stuff I’ve found. πŸ™‚ I’m sure many bloggers have this news, too, but there’s no harm in spreading it!

First off, here’s something that sounds a bit strange, but on reflection may not be a bad idea -it’s news regarding who has been chosen to script the games (PC, Console, Other, etc) that Red Eagle Entertainment will be doing for the Wheel of Time:

“the studio (Red Eagle) announced it has signed Hollywood scribe Chris Morgan as story director on the project.
Morgan is perhaps best known for his (arguably ignominious) reputation as the writer behind a number of Hollywood blockbusters, including such heavily panned box-office successes as The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, and Wanted.”

Okay, I’m just a bit scared, but I will say this: I’ll be optimistic until the game(s) for me to change my opinion. What do you all think? Good idea, bad idea?

Also, here’s some concept art:


Have no idea what it depicts, but it looks cool. πŸ™‚ Check out the full post here! And also, check out this link to wet your appetites a bit more!

Next up, Michael Cobley has released two excerpts (so far) from the sequel (and book 2 in his trilogy, Humanity’s Fire) to Seeds of Earth, The Orphaned Worlds! πŸ™‚ Check out the first excerpt here, and the second excerpt here. Mike has also graciously let slip that there’ll be a third excerpt coming! πŸ™‚ Btw, these are excerpts from the first draft, so they may not be the same when in the finished book!

And third, but definitely not least, this is my last reminder for the giveaway running at the moment for Chris Evans’ The Light of Burning Shadows – get your entries in!! I’ll be closing the giveaway in a couple of hours, so if you haven’t yet entered, get to it! πŸ™‚ I’ll be announcing the winners tomorrow, so check your inbox – I’ll be needing your addresses! πŸ™‚

Wednesday or Thursday next week I’ll be posting my review of Chris’ debut, A Darkness Forged in Fire, so keep an eye out for that. πŸ™‚

Until tomorrow,



Posted by on August 8, 2009 in Announcements


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Twisted Metal SA & UK Giveaway Winners & Light of Burning Shadows Mega-Giveaway!

So, I’ve been away for a while. 😦 I know, I know, but work has been hectic, money has been tight (thus throwing the option of internet cafe’s out the window), and the flu (no, thankfully not that flu) was shitty (to say the barest minimum about my utter hatred of that evil virus), but I am back! Eventually! πŸ™‚

First off, let’s get into announcing the winners of the Twisted Metal giveaway! πŸ™‚ I’m posting the books off on Monday (this coming Monday), so the winner’s will be receiving the books soon! πŸ™‚

Without any further a-do, the SA winner of the Hard Cover copy of Twisted Metal is Noelene Botha, and the UK winner of the ARC-softcover of Twisted Metal is M.E. Staton! πŸ™‚ Congratulations, you two! πŸ™‚ I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did! πŸ™‚

And now, time to announce the beginning of my next giveaway! πŸ™‚


There have been a host of giveaways running for this book, and with good reason! I’m reading Book 1 of the Iron Elves Trilogy at the moment, A Darkness Forged in Fire, and I’m pretty much hooked! Chris Evans is definitely going to be a force in Epic Fantasy – his style is easy and flowing, the action scenes are great, the characters memorable and the humor sharp! Look out for a review of that soon!

But back to the giveaway! Thanks to Sheryl at Sneak Attack I have TEN, that’s right, TEN copies of the book to give away! And folks, this giveaway is open WORLDWIDE!! πŸ™‚ How do you enter?

Just send an email to my Gmail account: davebrendon (at) gmail (dot) com ! That’s it!

The giveaway will be running for a week, so next week Saturday the 8th I’ll be drawing the winners, and I’ll announce them on Sunday the 9th. That gives you all a week to get your entries in, more than enough time! And with TEN copies, there’s definitely going to be some very happy readers out there. πŸ™‚

Let’s recap: I’ve got TEN copies of The Light of Burning Shadows to give away; the giveaway will close on the 8th of August, I’ll announce the winners on the 9th, the giveaway is open to entrants WORLDWIDE, and you can enter by sending me an email at davebrendon (at) gmail (dot) com πŸ™‚

Star getting those entries in! πŸ™‚

To order your copy of A Darkness Forged in Fire, click here for South Africa, here for the US, and here for the UK,


To order your copy of Light of Burning Shadows, click here for South Africa, here for the US, and here for the UK!

And be EPIC!

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Posted by on August 1, 2009 in Giveaways


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John Jarrold’s Corner: News! & Spotlight: Chris Evans & Light of Burning Shadows

John Jarrold’s Corner:

I have 3 lots have some great news from John Jarrold! πŸ™‚


Julie Crisp of Pan Macmillan in London has concluded a World Rights deal with John Jarrold, for two untitled horror novels by British author Adam L G Nevill, after a hard-fought auction. She set a floor, which she exercised at the end of the auction for a good five-figure sum. The under-bidder was Emma Coode of HarperCollins UK.

β€˜Adam is one of horror’s rising stars,’ said John Jarrold. β€˜His first novel, BANQUET FOR THE DAMNED, received great praise. Having now read his next book and the synopsis of his third novel, I can say without doubt that he’s going places, and sooner rather than later. Congratulations to Julie – and to all who took part in the auction. The enthusiasm with which this was met really makes me feel positive about horror’s re-birth after a period in the doldrums.’

I’ve actually got a copy of Banquet for the Damned – should bloody well read it, right?! πŸ™‚ Good news all round!

Next up: A SF Short-Story Collection wins major recognition!

A science fiction collection from defunct indie publisher Elastic Press has won the 2009 Edge Hill Short Story Prize, beating collections from Faber, Vintage, Cape and Hamish Hamilton.

Elastic Press author Chris Beckett won for his collection The Turing Test. He was presented with Β£5,000 plus a specially commissioned painting by Liverpool artist Pete Clarke at a ceremony held by Edge Hill University at the Bluecoat Centre in Liverpool on Saturday (4th July). He also picked up the Β£1,000 Readers’ prize.

Anne Enright won the second prize, also worth Β£1,000, for her collection Yesterday’s Weather (Vintage).

Judge James Walton, journalist and chair of BBC Radio 4’s “The Write Stuff” said: “I suspect Chris Beckett winning the Edge Hill Prize will be seen as a surprise in the world of books. In fact, though, it was also a bit of surprise to the judges, none of whom knew they were science fiction fans beforehand.

“Yet, once the judging process started, it soon became clear that The Turing Test was the book that we’d all been impressed by, and enjoyed, the mostβ€”and one by one we admitted it.”

The Edge Hill Short Story Prize was launched by the university three years ago and is co-sponsored by Blackwell; it is the UK’s only award for a short story collection by a single author. This year’s shortlist also comprised: Country of the Grand by Gerard Donovan (Faber), The Atmospheric Railway by Shena Mackay (Cape) and The First Person and Other Stories by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton).

Elastic Press closed in November 2008, although it is still selling backlist, it is no longer accepting submissions.

Just goes to show that just because the fiction is speculative and fantastical doesn’t mean that it doesn’t get recognized! Let’s hope that the trend continues!

And finally, this great news:


John Jarrold has sold limited-edition rights in popCULT!, a novel by UK author David Barnett, to Chris Teague at Welsh publisher Pendragon Press. David is the Assistant Editor of the Bradford Telegraph and Argus newspaper, and has had two earlier novels published by Immanion Press, Hinterland and Angelglass. He also writes regular blogs for the Guardian books website.

popCULT! is a contemporary SF caper in which a struggling writer is drawn into the machinations of a motley group of underground art prankster rebels who harbour a strange and terrible secret beneath the streets of London.

David said, β€˜popCULT! is one of my favourite works and I’m delighted that a press with the reputation of Pendragon has taken it on.’

β€˜David is both prolific and incredibly inventive,’ said John Jarrold. β€˜I’m expecting great things of him as his career progresses!’

One thing is for sure – John Jarrold is working, working, working to give us more and more great reading! πŸ™‚

Next up, Book 2 in the series in coming out soon, and I’ve started reading Book 1 (among everything else I’m reading at the moment)… What am I talking about? Well, for starters, this man,


and this book,


πŸ™‚ I will have back-to-back reviews for A Darkness Forged in Fire and Light of Burning Shadows, plus I will also be doing an interview with Chris and I will also be giving away copies of Book 2! πŸ™‚

Here’s some info on Chris; Chris Evans was born in Canada and now lives in New York City. As a military historian he has conducted battlefield tours of Europe, and was the historical consultant on a television documentary on the First World War. He’s earned degrees in English, Political Science, and a Masters in History. Chris is also an editor of history and current affairs/conflicts books including the highly successful Stackpole Military History Series. The Light of Burning Shadows: The Iron Elves Series, is his second novel.

What others have thought of A Darkness Forged in Fire:

“I’m always thrilled by seeing a new author press the boundaries of the conventions of fantasy. Chris Evans does just that–taking the broad sword and sorcery archetypes and placing them squarely in a new and exciting environment.” –R. A. Salvatore

“A gutsy fantasy set in a world of imperial greed and magical plotting, with an eye for the ordinary soldier’s plight that would have done Kipling proud.” — Karen Traviss, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Legacy of the Force and City of Pearl

“Fascinating…combining the best touches of fantasy and military storytelling.” –John Ringo, New York Times bestselling author of the Legacy of the Aldenata and The Council Wars series

“A thrilling epic from beginning to end, filled with wit, intrigue, and twists and turns reminiscent of Glen Cook’s The Black Company. A grand new entry in the field of fantasy masters!” –Richard A. Knaak, New York Times bestselling author in the Dragonlance, The Dragonrealm, World of Warcraft, and Diablo series

“A fantasy in which the gritty realities of war and politics are as important as the magic–and all are handled very well.” –David Drake, national bestselling author of the Lord of the Isles and Hammer’s Slammers series.

So now that you know what some pretty damn good authors thought of Book 1, check out this blurb for Book 2:

In the bestselling traditions of J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks, and Bernard Cornwell comes the second novel in the acclaimed Iron Elves epic fantasy series!

“They might be doomed, damned, and buggered for all eternity, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t sparkle like a diamond in the sun and grin like a skull in the moonlight on their way to oblivion.”
Musket and cannon, bow and arrow, and magic and diplomacy vie for supremacy once again in this second epic fantasy adventure from acclaimed author Chris Evans. As the human-dominated Calahrian Empire struggles to maintain its hold on power in the face of armed rebellion from within, the Iron Elves’ perilous quest to defeat the power-hungry elf witch, the Shadow Monarch, takes on greater urgency.

The Iron Elves, shunned by their own people for bearing the mark of the Shadow Monarch, and desperately wanting to forever erase this shame, became legendary for their prowess on the battlefield as the Calahrian Imperial Army’s elite shock troops. But when their commanding officer, Konowa Swift Dragon, murdered the Viceroy of Elfkyna, he was exiled, and these brave elves were banished to a remote desert outpost, doomed and leaderless, their honor in tatters.

Recalled to duty to reform his regiment from the dregs of the Imperial Army, Konowa thwarted the plans of the Shadow Monarch at the Battle of Luuguth Jor — ensuring that the fabled Red Star, a source of great natural energy, did not fall into Her hands. Now Konowa must cross storm-tossed seas to seek out the lost elves and the prophesied return of another Star somewhere in a desert wasteland roiling with mysterious power, infernos of swirling magic, and legends brought back to life in new and terrible ways.

And the fate of every living creature will come to depend on a small band of ragged and desperate soldiers, whose very loyalty to the Empire they have sworn to serve is no longer certain. When death is but a temporary condition, a terrifying question arises: who is the true ally — and fearsome enemy — in a growing conflict that threatens all?

Sounds good to me! πŸ™‚ Stay tuned for the up-coming giveaway, it’s gonna be big! πŸ™‚ Also, click through here to go to the Iron Elves website, and here to get a sneaky peek at the people behind what’ll be this Blog’s biggest giveaway to-date! πŸ™‚



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