‘The Adversary’ is the third book in the Forgotten Realms, multi-author event ‘The Sundering’. I have not read Erin Evans before, but a glance at the blurb and the chance to jump back into Faerûn had me hopping from foot to foot until the ARC hit my hands. Wrapped in a devilishly barbed tale of intrigue, ‘The Adversary’ furthers the adventures of the tiefling, Farideh and her companions.
Finding herself in a bind—one tighter than the pact she shares with the cambion, Lorcan—Fariden strikes a bargain with Lorcan’s sister. The deal quickly devolves into a mess of disastrous proportions and the only way out is for Farideh to follow the instructions of her new patroness. She winds up in a secure and secluded fortress in Netheril. That’s when things start to get really interesting.
The camp within the fortress houses prisoners of all races. Many appear to be quite ordinary, but it is the few who are not that catch her attention. These are Chosen and they are a part of the mystery Farideh is unwittingly involved in. As she figures out who they are and what their purpose is, she discovers who and what she is as well.
Erin M. Evans does a fantastic job of catching up the casual reader. Being familiar with her characters would make ‘The Adversary’ more compelling…maybe. Having being introduced at the beginning of this book, I found the journey of all the characters very satisfying. In particular, Dahl’s story. The fallen paladin quickly captured my imagination. He comes across as an atypical hero, which led me to expect great things, of course! I enjoyed his struggle as much as I did Farideh’s, which makes me sound rather sadistic. But, as readers, we’d rather see a character grow than go out for coffee, right? Strength usually comes from adversity and all that. The conclusion to his portion of the story alone is enticement enough for me to reach for the next novel.
The pace of ‘The Adversary’ is a little slow at times, but this does allow Evans to share the thoughts of all the players. I did not really mind the sometimes ambulatory pace; I understand an author’s desire to visit with each of her characters. For instance, the slow reveal of Clanless Mehen’s back story adds depth to all the characters and therefore the novel. The exploration of the romance between Havilar and Brin is sweet. The more complicated relationship between Farideh and Lorcan is another of those elements that will have me reading forward.
‘The Adversary’ is a satisfying entry in ‘The Sundering’ series. As a novel, it’s a good read. As part of its own series, I’m sure it will delight fans. What impresses me the most is the author’s confidence in shifting events on Toril, messing with the grand order, while advancing her own story arc. Well done!
Written for SFCrowsnest.
The Companions by R. A. Salvatore (August 6, 2013)
The Godborn by Paul S. Kemp (October 1, 2013)
The Adversary by Erin Evans (December 3, 2013)
The Reaver by Richard Lee Byers (February 4, 2014)
The Sentinel by Troy Denning (April 1, 2014)
The Herald by Ed Greenwood (2014)