Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Adversary by Erin M. Evans

The Adversary is the first book I've read by Erin M. Evans. I went in with no expectations. I knew the 'Sundering' was one of those mega-events in the Forgotten Realms like the Avatar series and others but wasn't sure how they all tied in together or what the overall themes and arcs were.

The book is packed with numerous characters and factions that lends a bit of depth to the setting that can be confusing for newcomers, but most things are explained succinctly enough that readers shouldn't be too lost, even if this is their first Forgotten Realms novel. Mind you, the 'attachment' that long term Forgotten Realms readers will have will be missing from such as the novel does make use of many familiar organizations ranging from the Harpers and the Red Wizards of Thay, to the Netherese wizards and more.

The Adversary is also volume three in the Brimstone Angel Series.

After reading the Adversary though, I'll probably wind up hunting down the other books.

We have interesting heroes like Havilar and Fariden, twin tieflings. Tielflings are descendants of evil outsiders. Outsiders in this case being devils.

The girls were orphans, raised by Clanless Mehen, a dragonborn. It was great to see a dragonborn as this race gets little play. Dragonborn are reptilian humanoids from far away lands in the Forgotten Realms and having one inhuman raising two more inhumans of a different species was an interesting twist on things.

In the cast and parade of characters, we have Fariden's patron, a cambion, a half devil, who provided her initial set of powers. That character has sisters who are not fond of him. They all serve various patrons of their own and have various alliances that must be followed.

There are things I was not a fan of mind you. Perhaps because it's in 'the Sundering', there was a time skip although only of a few years. Richard Baker's character suffered such to get him to the new Forgotten Realms timeline, Paul S. Kemp's character had a son who was 'pushed' into the future, and other bits have happened that seemed forced in the Forgotten Realms. This bit was one of them.

Because it wasn't a huge push forward in time though and it wasn't a gate popping open or a magical trap, the twins, Fariden and Havilar, wind up in a bit of an off situation. The world has moved on without them in its own way. Mehen, their father, is pleased to see them. Havilar's prince is pleased to see her, but he is also engaged to be married. Such events as this provide nice complications to the characters so that they don't just get to step back into their lives.

The second bit I didn't enjoy was the 'Chosen' factor. Now mind you, the book has Fariden herself as the chosen of Asmodeus. I'm fine with that. She's one of the main characters of the book. The main thrust of the story though is that Fariden is among the Netherese to find the Chosen so that their divine energies can be harvested. On one side, the Netherse do this for Shar, on the other, those allied with the Netherse do this for their patron, Asmodeus, so that the king of devils can secure his place among the divine pantheons.

Having so many Chosen reduces what it means to be a Chosen. If Elminster and the Seven Sisters are some of the better known Chosen of the Forgotten Realms, what does it mean when dozens or more are similar? It reduces the unique factor, it reduces the whole point of being Chosen.

Given the scope of the book and the setting it takes place in though, these are minor complaints. The Forgotten Realms, much like Marvel Comics or DC comics, goes through upheveals often enough that either you get on for the ride or you stop reading them or you shake a fist in the air going "Damn you publishers!"

While the main plot of the book is wrapped up, the end leaves the reader prepared for the next novel in the series. While there are many questions answered, there are other elements set up for future novels.

Erin M. Evans wasn't a name I was familiar with before, but it's one I'll seek out again.