Friday, November 9, 2012

Review: Lords of the Dark Fall - Fabian by C.A. Nicks

My very first review... It was more fun to do that I expected, so I think I'll make it a regular feature on this blog. I'll also have an interview of C.A. Nicks up tomorrow if you'd like to know more about her books!

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The blurb: 

Once immortal, tyrant and ruler of all he surveyed Fabian Lucimanticus of Anxur is vanquished in battle and made to take the Dark Fall – an abyss that cycles through time and dimensions. With no idea where he will land, he endures a thousand years of purgatory, loses his immortality and grows a very unwanted conscience. Now human and alone in a strange time and place, he vows to rise again, find his brother Marcellus, who jumped with him, and regain what he’s lost. But first he needs to find a mage strong enough to magic him home. Instead, he gets Tig, a poor potter trying to survive life in a land ruled by warlords and marauding gangs.

When she finds Fabian, naked and disorientated in the desert, Tig’s first thought is to turn him in to the local warlord for a life of almost certain death or slavery. Her second thought is that his family might pay a handsome reward for his safe return. But as she grows closer to this confused, displaced warrior, she wonders if she can ever let him go.

Fabian wants only to find his brother, go home, and regain his status and immortality. But his new human conscience and meeting with Tig makes him question everything he ever held dear. Can a tyrant really reform? If he found a mage strong enough to get him home will he go, knowing he would have to leave Tig behind?

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My thoughts:

The theme of a human gaining immortality, with all the consequences it may imply, is one I’m familiar with, especially since I’ve played with it in my own stories. However, I’ve more rarely seen stories in which immortality is stripped away from a character, leaving him human.

That is exactly what happens to Fabian, the hero of the first Lords of the Dark Fall books by C.A. Nicks. Once the immortal ruler of his world, a tyrant by his own admission, Fabian is condemned by enemies to a millennium-long fall through a chiasm in time and space. During that time, he gets to revisit his past deeds, and when he lands in a strange, new – and by his standards, backward – place, he is a changed man.

He fights this change, lamenting his weakened state and swearing to return home for vengeance, and C.A. Nicks shows us throughout the book his wounded pride and his endurance as he adapts to his new limitations and makes the best of what he is. I thought she made the evolution of his feelings quite believable as he constantly compares himself to the man he once was, both physically and mentally, and slowly comes to realize that mortality comes with its own rewards.

One of these rewards, of course, is love. As an immortal and tyrant, Fabian saw women as commodities and although he had spouses he didn’t grow close to them, knowing they’d fade and die. When he first lays eyes on the heroine, Tig, he only considers what he can get from her: sex, knowledge, a way out of his predicament; I can’t say I was very fond of *that* Fabian. But Tig is no simpering weakling. She’s a survivor, and she holds her own in front of this big (naked!) stranger who calls himself a lord. I liked her spunk, and her ability to think beyond her immediate wants and even her own safety in order to reach more important goals, something she slowly teaches Fabian.

My one wish would have been for the aftermath of the fight between Fabian and the local ruler – a mirror of who he used to be, in some ways – to be longer, but in truth it doesn’t need to be. The whole book brings Fabian and Tig to this point and a quite satisfactory conclusion.

I’ll also note that the love scenes are sensual though not graphic, and the cast of secondary characters interesting. And C.A. Nicks is absolutely a tease and includes a couple chapters of the next book, the story of Fabian’s brother Marcellus, which made me want to start book 2 as soon as I finished this one!

Overall, I quite enjoyed Lords of the Dark Fall – Fabian and would recommend it to friends who like tales of redemption and of love conquering the most hardened hearts.

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