Monday, August 15, 2011

From The Top Shelf - Part 2.



*Sigh* Sometimes I think the various cosmic forces that be have conspired to grant Cthulhu dominion over weekends. I'm not quite sure how it happens, but it seems various events of late keep managing to short-circuit my brain and all possible self-imposed plans. Alas, I digress; let me continue as I proposed to do.

The Coldfire Trilogy by: C.S. Freidman

Much to my own shame and regret the first book of this series lingered on my shelves for a rather lengthy period before I gave it the chance it so richly deserved. As I recall a boyfriend to my older sister left the book with me, hoping no doubt to curry favor I am sure. Sadly I was somewhat hesitant at it's value and it's proposed plot. Coupled with a recently acquired fresh pile of my own additions to my shelves(and perhaps some resentment at the gifts motivations) soon proved to be too much for even common etiquette.

Fortunately, as is often for me, I exhausted my ample supply of new material and once more found the book fresh in my sights. Instantly all doubts were cast aside as I began to read the little beginning glimpse into an event that would prove to shackle me with fascination for one of the two most central figures. A fact I don't deny has shaped various plots and characters for a variety of my own rpg sessions. One I must add has led to many others unfamiliar with it's source to comment on the memorable figure as one of their favorites.

With that said, let's discuss a central element to the whole series, the very foundation of which so many great elements culminate in a wondrous and rich environment. The story takes place on a little planet called Erna, one very akin to earth. About 1200 years ago a colonization ship landed upon the alien world and it's passengers found a new home. Unfortunately some unique characteristics to Erna would prove difficult and puzzling challenges. Namely that of the Fae; a natural force on Erna, one that reacts to the subconscious and is capable of shaping the very fabric of Erna itself.

In a desperate bid to find a way to survive, the colonists sacrifice their technology and all ties to their past. Leaving various moments of curiosity within the story where characters muse over cd's as vast records like books, but with no idea how to read such a thing. However the sacrifice is not without benefit, as the colonists slowly learn to shape some of the very fae of Erna to their own benefit. The end result is a unique and complex system that presents an almost scientific and natural view on something akin to magic.

The greatest strength though in the whole series, and the most enjoyable aspect lies in it's two main characters. Each begins as the anti-thesis for the other and proves as the story unfolds to shape each other just as one might manipulate the fae. Intricate ideals and dogma are touched on and handled masterfully in the books that I found to be a never ending source of fascination and interest.