Synopsis: In the trenches of Europe during the Great War, Tomás Cordero operated a weapon more devastating than any gun: a flame projector that doused the enemy in liquid fire. Having left the battlefield a shattered man, he comes home to Tampa, Florida, to find yet more tragedy–in his absence, his wife has died of the flu. Haunted by memories of the woman he loved and the atrocities he perpetrated, Tomás dreams of fire and finds himself setting match to flame when awake…
Alice Dartle, a talented clairvoyant, leaves her family behind in Virginia to live among others who share her gifts in the community of Cassadaga, Florida. She, too, dreams of fire, knowing her nightmares are connected to the shell-shocked war veteran and widower. And she believes she can bring peace to him and his wife’s spirit.
But the inferno that threatens to consume Tomás and Alice was set ablaze centuries ago by someone whose hatred transcended death itself…
Holly: Brimstone is a historical fantasy set in Florida within the 1920’s, told by alternating POV’s. Alice, a clairvoyant & Tomás, a former flame projector operator in the war. There is also a Chihuahua thrown into the mix, ghosts & fire, fire, fire.. did I mention fire?! Because there is a lot of it throughout.
Corey: Yeah, to get it out there early…this is not a book I loved. It’s certainly well written, and there’s nothing for me to actively dislike about it. But it didn’t leave a very lasting impression, beyond just wanting to finish it and move on.
Holly: It felt like a Jane Austen novel with fantasy elements, which will certainly tick all the boxes for many people, but unfortunately it just wasn’t for me!
Corey: I kinda liked Alice. Her overall dorkiness, her odd mix of self-confidence and crippling self-doubt. I could relate!
Holly: Yeah, I think she is relatable for many of us! I just wish she was fleshed out a bit more. She had a lot of potential to be a fantastic protagonist, but I found her to be a little flat. When a Chihuahua leaps more vividly off the page as opposed to the rest of the characters in the few scenes he is in, I’m not sure if that is exactly a great thing for the entirety of a story.
Corey: Yes, Felipe the chihuahua. I was totally rooting for him, and I don’t really like tiny dogs. I do think the relationship between Tomás and Felipe was important to the story, something to sort of keep Tomás from losing it completely.
Holly: I agree!
This was definitely a slow burn (ha, ha) which did not really pick up until the tail end of the book for me. I was excited at the possibility of what this may have been, a dark fantasy Gothic horror. Unfortunately, this didn’t come together. I never fully got invested in the story or the characters (besides Felipe)! By the end I was wanting to finish it just to be done.
Corey: I managed to get through the whole book without realizing that Cassadaga is a real place! That adds an interesting element.
Holly: The original title for this was actually going to be Cassadaga when it was a different project!
This isn’t a “bad” book, although certainly a forgettable one. I think because this story started off as something that was reworked a few years ago, perhaps it affected the flow of the overall feel.
Even though this wasn’t for me, I still plan on reading some of her other books which have been on my tbr for ages!
Corey: Right on. Solidly written book, just not one that really resonated with me.
The Grimdragons Rating: 3 stars
(Thank you to Ace for providing us with a copy before the release date, in exchange for an honest review!)