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Brimstone by Cherie Priest


by Cherie Priest

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365313,489 (3.7)3



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Showing 5 of 5
I picked this up on a whim based solely on the cover. I didn't expect much from the story, but I was pleasantly surprised. The Thomas portions of this story, in particular, were really moving and interesting. Alice wasn't quite as enjoyable to me - she came off anachronistic and more immature then I think she was meant to be. I had a hard time accepting the basic premise of her being sent off alone given the timing of this book and her behavior didn't make it easier to buy. Still, I liked the conclusion and I would certainly try another by this author. ( )
  duchessjlh | May 22, 2017 |
Cherie Priest always finds a way to please my palate. Her unique gift of combining gripping storytelling, supernatural elements, and the darker side of life makes her stand out in the crowd. With this new addition to her body of work, she still continues to please overall. I anticipated this novel highly when I heard that it dealt with WWI and supernatural fire starting, two elements that at least I can say I've never seen combined. So I knew I was in for a different kind of story. Despite one little element I had a hard time with, this book still ranks as a great tale.

The author chose a turbulent time to set her story. Set post WWI, the story explores the themes of healing from tragedy and fighting against prejudice. I enjoyed her usage of historical details like the ever popular world of mysticism that arose after the war as people try to contact their lost ones. She uses that heavily as a strong vehicle to bring together her two protagonists as they prepare to face off true evil. Her ability to bring everyday life from this timeframe also stood out. The fashions, Prohibition, and lingering pain from the war and recent Spanish flu epidemic all play interesting parts in the tale.

As always, Priest excels at combining her supernatural elements with the overall story. Demonic spirits, fire starting, psychic sessions, and guiding lights make this story distinctive when held up against other historical fantasy titles. I really like how they also played such an important part as the bedrock for the overall story and struggle. The author created a fight against evil and prejudice with psychic elements and ghosts on both sides of the story. She draws on the lingering distrust of “witchcraft”, making the need for a creation of a community like this one and using that as both a scene for the narrative and objective as well.

It's one of the two leads where this book falls down a bit. I liked Thomas. He's a tragic figure whose life has hit hard with multiple painful events and an obsession with connecting to his past. After losing his wife and emotional health post war, the universe decided to kick him in the nuts even harder by connecting what seems like an evil entity to his soul. That serves as the basic plot line for the story, and what a story it is! Through it all, Thomas fights with a deep well of courage that the reader can't help but admire. Even if Thomas doesn't think he's being brave, we all know different.

So with all that good, you're probably wondering what I'm talking about when I mention that this area is where the book fell out. It's Alice that's the problem. She's not flat out horrible by any means. I still felt like I could identify with her and connect with her as she put herself in this community of peers. However, at times she came off extremely immature. I felt I was reading the inner thoughts of a young teen rather than a young woman. She read too innocent to my mind. I think I would have connected to her better if her inner thought processes had been that of an older woman.

A unique set of supernatural elements set this post WWI ghost busting tale apart. The author uses great historical details and a great main character to keep her readers moving forward rapidly. While the other main character can be immature at times, I still couldn't help but want her to pull through and help fight the evil hunting Thomas. While not the best work Priest has done, I would still feel comfortable recommending the story. It's a unique anecdote that will please many a reader. ( )
  Sarah_Gruwell | May 17, 2017 |
The Family Plot was my introduction to Cherie Priest, so when I got the chance to read this book was I pretty happy since The Family Plot is an awesome book.

Brimstone story follows two POV's one is Alice Dartle in Cassadaga, Florida. she is a clairvoyant. The second POV is Tomas Cordero a man who has lost his wife during the time he fought in the Great War. What they share is a connection, both dreams of fire. For Tomas is the fire a link to his dead wife, but Alice feels that the fire is bad, really really bad...

I found both storylines interesting to follow. However, the pacing was a bit off now and then and I did not think the story really took off and I did not really find the story as thrilling and interesting to read as The Family Plot. It was good, just not spectacular. The best part came towards the ending when the pacing steps up and finally, the answers started to come. Also, I did like Tomas and Alice, and I wouldn't mind reading more books with them since I liked the community of Cassadaga and the time period.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Apr 14, 2017 |
I’ve been following Cherie Priest’s work for years, so it was with not a little anticipation I picked up this newest outing from her. Unfortunately, I was expecting and desiring a historical fantasy story, but I found Brimstone to be more horror with a Southern Gothic twist.

Alice Dartle is descended from a long line of witches, but she has no idea how to use her clairvoyant abilities. The town of Cassadaga, Florida, a community of similarly gifted people seems to hold the answer. But as she draws closer to the town, she keeps having dreams of fire and trenches. She knows that these are not her own dreams, and she believes that she can help the dreamer.

Tomas Cordero came back from World War I to find his wife dead of influenza. He continues to operate his tailoring business, but he’s haunted by the memories of his wife. Since his return, inexplicable fires have hounded him. Could they be messages from the beyond?

For whatever reason, Brimstone left me cold. A few scenes did manage to effectively convey the skin crawling tension of horror novels, but most of the novel crawled by. By the last ten percent, I was rushing through it so I could start a different book instead.

Brimstone seemed competently executed, but none of its elements interested me. It didn’t have the brilliant world building or use of magic that I come to the fantasy genre for. I remained luke warm on both Alice and Tomas. And I never found myself getting invested in the plot.

I think Brimstone could have better developed both it’s lead and supporting characters. I found myself mixing up even the more important of the supporting characters. Tomas was probably the best of the entire cast. His desperation and grief shone through, and he had some of the best scenes. However, Alice felt like she lacked motivation. Outside of helping Tomas, she didn’t have her own goals, and it hurt her character.

Overall, Brimstone was both disappointing and forgettable. It’s a stand alone, but if it wasn’t, I would not be picking up the sequel. This one is not recommended, although I hope other readers can find more enjoyment in it than I did.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page.

I received an ARC of Brimstone from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review. ( )
  pwaites | Mar 20, 2017 |
I loved her last novel The Family Plot and had high expectations for this one. Unfortunately it fell a little short which is why I gave it only 3 stars. Don't get me wrong. It was still a fun read. I just wanted a little more out of the story and characters. ( )
  JJbooklvr | Mar 7, 2017 |
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