This is the third of the Sundering series I’ve read, and I’m thinking it comes in as my favorite. We’re thrust into disaster after disaster from the very start because the main focus is on a tiefling, Farideh, who never looks before she leaps, so determined to do what’s right that she doesn’t take the time to think things through. Of course, she’s rarely given the time she needs either. Then there’s the Harper Dahl who comes with a history rich with disaster and a self-destructive streak miles wide, Lorcan who is a devil half-blood driven by emotions he doesn’t believe he can have, Farideh’s sister with her own issues, and more.
Sure, this is an adventure fantasy with horrible things happening, people needing a rescue, people forced to do things they would prefer not to and suffering the consequences should they balk. It’s complex, complicated, and twisty. Deals with devils are rarely simple, and all the clauses in the world won’t cover every eventuality. But ultimately this is a people novel. It’s about the kind of trouble that comes through rash choices, and learning to live with the consequences at the same time as trying to mend what went wrong.
It’s rare that a novel can startle me into a laugh, and I wasn’t expecting it of this one as much of what happens falls into the dark paths of choosing the best of the worst when lives are at stake, but still there have been several times when the characters’ interactions just hit me the right way. There are things the characters say that stand out as poignant or telling, and yet though they have broader implications, are also perfect for the moment and that character.
Though Farideh is known in the Forgotten Realms universe, she’s new to me. What I came out of this book with is a wish to check out more of Erin M. Evans’ stories, and a sense of a rich history of which I know enough to make this book solid just in the glimpses offered, and yet I’m intrigued to discover more. The characters are complicated, well-rounded, and faced with the kinds of choices that make black and white a simple world for simple people who have never experienced anything more difficult than whether to share their breakfast meats or hoard them. I’ve already recommended the book to my son, and I suspect he’s not the first to hear about how much I enjoyed the rich characters and events put into play here.
P.S. I received this title from the publisher through Net Galley in return for an honest review.