Brimstone Angels by Erin M. Evans
Posted by travizzt on November 23, 2011
Brimstone Angels is a stand-alone novel set in the Forgotten Realms universe of Dungeons and Dragons. However, the novel does tie into R. A. Salvatore’s Neverwinter Trilogy, along with having ties to other events in various recent series set in the Forgotten Realms. The novel will also tie into an upcoming Massively Multiplayer Online game that will be set in Neverwinter. Erin M. Evans has written a novel for the series Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep titled The God Catcher, as well as contributing a short story to the Realms of the Dead anthology titled “The Resurrection Agent”. Brimstone Angels was released in November 2011 and was published by Wizards of the Coast, LLC.
After unwittingly accepting a pact with a cambion, Farideh realizes that she has made a huge mistake. After the town she grew up in learns of her unfortunate pact, Farideh, her twin sister, Havilar, and their adoptive father, a dragonborn named Mehen, are forced out. Thankfully, they find work as bounty hunters, but Farideh realizes that she still doesn’t fit in, and it doesn’t help that the cambion, Lorcan, keeps popping up. As the trio track a bounty towards the ruined and rebuilding city of Neverwinter, Farideh may have found a way out of her pact, or at least a way to control it. The only problem is the powers in Neverwinter has their own plans for the devastated city, and Farideh, Havilar, Mehen, and Lorcan find themselves in the middle of it all.
1) References. Brimstone Angels has a lot going for it. There’s great characters and an interesting plot. However, there is one problem that doesn’t pop up until close to the end where there seems to be a slew of references to events outside the story thrown out for the reader to try to digest. The story at this point becomes bogged down with references to the Abolethic Sovereignty, current events in Neverwinter, and some other references that may go over a new reader’s head. This wouldn’t have been a huge issue, but the amount of information given in such a short time span is overwhelming. It does take you out of the story, for a short time, and make you wonder what exactly is going on.
1) Characters. There are a few things that make Brimstone Angels a phenomenal book and it all starts with the characters. Every single character in this novel is wonderful. Not only are they developed, they go beyond that. They seem like real people in their actions and motivations. You don’t see that much depth to characters in stand alone novels. The most impressive thing about the characters is that none of them came off as cliché. They didn’t rely solely on one note personalities, defining attributes, or paper-thin motivations. The characters are so vivid that talking about them would cause this review to go on for a long time, as well as cheapen the experience of meeting these characters. Needless to say, everyone in this novel is just phenomenal and is a joy to read about.
2) Story. Another thing that makes Brimstone Angels work is the story. The story takes the typical “save such-and-such” and puts it in the background, and focuses more on being a character-driven story. The plot on its surface is about Farideh saving Neverwinter, but it never felt like it was about that. Instead, the characters seemed to drive the plot, leading it all the way to its conclusion. Everything the characters did had a direct impact on the plot and made sense. There never felt like there was any deus ex machina to help move the plot along. Instead, the characters felt totally in control, or at least as much as they can be. It all was logical with how events unfolded. Everything just worked with each other to make the plot work.
3) Settings. Brimstone Angels has some very interesting settings. Each place that comes up feels real and seems to have a life of itself. While Neverwinter is an interesting locale with all the events surrounding it, the most interesting setting is the sixth layer of Hell, Malbolge. The Hells seems to only be talked about and rarely seem to take a large role in Forgotten Realms novels. In Brimstone Angels it is prominent and paints an interesting, and frightening, picture of the layer. The amount of details and descriptions for Malbolge makes it easy to picture, in all its horrific glory. The same can be said about Neverwinter, with the amount of detail, but Malbolge just seemed more interesting. With Neverwinter, it feels like you were taking in the sights of the city with Farideh. But with Malbolge, it felt like something entirely new and exciting. All in all, the settings really helped in bring Brimstone Angels to life.
1) Infernal Pact. It’s nice to see a novel focusing on how warlock pacts work and it’s interesting to see how they develop as time goes on. I also found the interactions between Farideh and Lorcan very intriguing and something that seemed to be missing from other warlocks that I’ve read. Just having Lorcan directly interact with Farideh felt different and unique.
2) Abolethic Sovereignty. After reading Brimstone Angels, I felt like I finally began to understand what the Abolethic Sovereignty is about. Kind of. It’s still vague, but now I understand that it’s supposed to be vague.
3) Cover Art. I really like the cover artwork for Brimstone Angels. The characters look great and exactly how I pictured them while reading. Farideh and Havilar look fantastic. You can almost see the cocky attitude that Havilar has and Farideh’s worrisome nature. Also, it’s a nice touch to have Farideh’s eyes the two shades, silver and gold. Most covers may overlook this fact, but I’m glad it’s noticeable here. The character that steals the show on the cover is Lorcan. He just looks awesome, and that’s the best way to describe it. Also, there is a noticeable feeling of action going on. Just looking at it makes you pumped up to start reading the novel. It’s one of those covers that you’ll just enjoy.
Brimstone Angels can be summed up in one word; phenomenal. Everything about the novel felt right. Even the problem with the slew of references doesn’t bog it down for too long. It’s noticeable, but it doesn’t affect the overall enjoyable experience you will have by the end. Characters are phenomenal, the story is just wonderful, and the settings are vivid and exciting. Everything works and makes it one of the funnest books I’ve read this year. If you want an enjoyable, character-driven novel, definitely pick this one up. If you don’t want that, still pick this one up. There is a reason Erin M. Evans is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, and Brimstone Angels will show you why.