There is so much going on in Brimstone, that it is amazing that it is all crammed into a short 96 page novella. However, I imagine that this is also incredibly off-putting for many readers, as very little concession is made to explaining, well, ANYTHING.
Title: Brimstone (The Metals Trilogy #1)
Author: Justine Rosenberg
Publication Date: 24th October 2019
Publisher: DartFrog Books
Ava Sandrino is a knight fallen from grace – a military group known for celibacy, but she was caught sleeping with a superior, and is now a successful prostitute. When she comes home to find the wraith Sariel, an elemental species, hiding in her flat, she decides to protect him. With a knight from her past on her trail, she must go on the run, using all of the contacts and resources she has built up over the years to rescue Sariel and escape the life that she has become trapped in.
I tried hard, but I still don’t understand whether this is set in some kind of sci-fi fantasy earth, or an imaginary planet. Likewise, I can’t tell whether the lines of travel, or slipstreams, are over-elaborate ways of ocean-travel, or they are conjoined planets. Who can tell?
Furthermore, there were so many off-scene characters, lands and political contexts that were mentioned, in order to give ‘life’ to the story, but just added to the confusion. I’m still not certain who the Pit Lords, One O’Clock King or the Emperor Tong are, or even if some are the same. The story showed great imagination, though, from the names and locations, to the political and geographical context.
It was short, and I really admire the amount of content and good writing that was crammed in to such a short story – it had the potential to really show how less is more in a very sophisticated way. But without any clear explanations of what on earth (or off earth?) was going on, it meant that, although you could go along with the story, very little made any sense. It was like trying to translate a foreign language, with only a minimal grasp of the vocab.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.