BEFORE THE FALL by Francis Knight and CONTROL POINT by Myke Cole are very different fantasy books — BEFORE THE FALL is an urban noir fantasy, while CONTROL POINT is a military fantasy — but in reading BEFORE THE FALL, I’m reminded of the way I felt after reading CONTROL POINT.
In Cole’s first SHADOW OPS book, I wasn’t a fan of the protagonist, Oscar Britton, but saw a lot of promise in the world and the storytelling. In Knight’s series, the protagonist, Rojan, is also problematic. Rojan is described as an irresponsible womanizer, but we never really see any of this. Through the first two books, I believe he only sleeps with one woman, and the other characters consistently look to him to handle many of their problems, which he does. Rather than showing us how irresponsible Rojan is, we get page after page of Rojan telling us he’s irresponsible and how much he hates organized religion and rich people. By the second book, it’s become very repetitive, and while the character seems to have grown through his experiences, I’d love to see him move on to different talking points.
That being said, I really like the world despite some of the unevenness. Knight has fleshed out the city a little bit, adding details that help explain some confusing aspects from the previous book, and while I don’t always enjoy Rojan, I do like many of the characters around him, especially Jake, Pasha, Erlat and Lise.
It probably falls a bit short of being great, but it was a fast read and I’ll see how it ends with the third book in the trilogy.