Adult, ARC review, book review

Brimstone by Cherie Priest (ARC Review)

30213129Title: Brimstone
Author: Cherie Priest
Type: Fiction
Genre: Fantasy, Historical, Horror, Adult
Imprint: Ace Books
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Date published: April 4, 2017
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 304
Source: Publisher


A physical copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

SummaryIn 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….




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I went into reading this book expecting (and hoping) to read a steamy historical romance! But I suppose it’s my own fault for making that assumption based on the summary. All throughout the first chapter, I was still expecting that the book would be like the historical romances I was used to, but by the second chapter, I was no longer sure. The book is written in the first person with alternating perspectives (one chapter dedicated to Alice, and the next chapter to Tomas, and so forth). It was definitely interesting to get the personal viewpoint of both of the main characters, and I also liked that one of the main characters (Tomas) is a POC!

I was very excited about the plot in this book ever since first reading about it many months ago! And I was very happy when after requesting an ARC of this book, I was surprised by receiving it in the mail! When I finally got to reading it a few days ago, I was very happy and looking forward to experience the plot I’d been awaiting for so long.

C1TBmJIXgAEVqpgIt turned out being a different plot than what I had expected, however, in many regards. I found Brimstone almost to be written in the Bram Stoker style seen in Dracula, in that the story was told from the perspectives from the main characters, with a lot of self-reflection and contemplation (of which Alice’s was quite annoying a lot of the time). I believe that I would have enjoyed this book more thoroughly if I had gone in with the knowledge that it was written in this style. There was a lot of dialogue which, though it may have been interesting in other circumstances, felt more like filler to me because I wanted the main plot to take off properly.

And I had to wait quite a while. I believe that I was about two thirds into the book before it really took off, and before the two main characters even met! There was also zero romance between the two mains, …so, you can understand my disappointment. As for the main plot itself (which alas, was not romance, but rather a paranormal adventure of sorts) was interesting once it took off, and only very slightly predictable near the end. That being said, I liked that this is one of the rare books out there where the focus is on community and friendship, when it comes to characters…even the main two (yes, I can appreciate that while also being disappointed that I didn’t get the romance I hoped for, haha). Continuing on that positive note, I also liked Priest’s writing in that it was without mistakes (even in an ARC) and also easy to follow. She also mostly avoided using colloquial speech in a historical novel (which some of you will know is a pet peeve of mine, haha). The cover is also quite gorgeous! (Although I wish that it had portrayed both Alice and Tomas.)

Overall, I believe that this book had a lot of potential to be quite spectacular, but that it fell a little bit short, at least for me. I will still recommend it to readers who enjoy historical horror, however, just with the caution that they should not be expecting what I had expected, when diving in.



221253CHERIE PRIEST is the author of over a dozen novels, including the steampunk pulp adventures The Inexplicables, Ganymede, Dreadnought, Clementine, and Boneshaker. Boneshaker was nominated for both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award; it was a PNBA Award winner, and winner of the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Cherie also wrote Bloodshot and Hellbent from Bantam Spectra; Fathom and the Eden Moore series from Tor; and three novellas published by Subterranean Press. In addition to all of the above, her first foray into George R. R. Martin’s superhero universe, Fort Freak (for which she wrote the interstitial mystery), debuted in the summer of 2011. Cherie’s short stories and nonfiction articles have appeared in such fine publications as Weird Tales, Publishers Weekly, and numerous anthologies. She lives in Chattanooga, TN, with her husband, a big shaggy dog, and a fat black cat. You can visit her at, or send her a tweet at @cmpriest!



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0 thoughts on “Brimstone by Cherie Priest (ARC Review)

  1. Is this YA? It does have an excellent cover, but by the sound of it, I’m guessing it’s Adult? They tend to be more self-reflective and contemplative to me. (Kind of why I love YA so much, tbh).
    Excellent review, Flav!!

    1. It’s definitely adult, hehe. But not the kind of adult I’m used to….if you catch my drift 😉 hahaha. I find some YA to be self-reflective and contemplative sometimes too…and depending on the story and the writer I’ll either like it or dislike it. I think the main issue here is that I was expecting a passionate historical novel hahaha which my fault in part…

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