Brimstoneby Cherie Priest
Published on April 4, 2017 by Ace
Genres: Historical, Paranormal
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: Publisher (via NetGalley)
Book Depository / Amazon / Barnes & Noble
In the trenches of Europe during the Great War, Tomas 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 find yet more tragedy for in his absence, his wife has died of the flu. Haunted by memories of the woman he loved and the atrocities he perpetrated, Tomas dreams of fire and finds himself setting match to flame when awake. . . .
Alice Dartle is a talented clairvoyant living 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 Tomas and Alice was set ablaze centuries ago by someone whose hatred transcended death itself. . . .
I think my expectations for this book didn’t quite line up with the reality. From the synopsis, it almost sounded like some sort of romance (though not quite) but I soon learned that the book alternates points of view between the characters mentioned, Alice and Tomas. Not exactly what I thought and the result was a story that I never fell into.
It took a while before I was really hooked and in the case of Brimstone, I was never truly hooked, just interested enough to keep reading rather than put it aside. I thought the setting was unusual but interesting, told in the 1920’s in Florida. There wasn’t too much in terms of the world-building beyond the location and a few details here and there, and I would have liked to have seen more but being set in our world (with a twist), I was able to fill in the blanks a bit.
The two perspectives kind of worked but, like in most multi-POV stories, I ended up picking a favorite and disliking reading the other. In this case, I enjoyed Alice’s scenes more despite how she got on my nerves at times. She was the stronger of the two characters, though Tomas had his moments. As for the rest of the characters, they never really made an impact on the reading experience and didn’t strike me as anything beyond names on a page.
Finally, the killer for me on this one is the pacing. I liked Priest’s style to a degree, but the book took forever to pick up. When it finally did, well, IT DID, but the lead-up to that was too long for my tastes.
Ultimately, I think a combination of mixed signals as to what to expect and the story itself made this one a no-go for me.