Novel Review: Erin M. Evans – The Adversary (The Sundering)

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The Adversary
The Adversary is an epic fantasy novel, part of The Sunder series set in the Dungeons & Dragons universe, written by Erin M. Evans and published by Wizards of the Coast.
By Cape Rust
Erin M. Evans' The Adversary - Cover Image

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Farideh is a Teifling, with horns and all. Not only is she a Teifling, but she is a warlock who has gained her powers by making a pact with a devil. To dog pile onto all that, she is descended from a very desirable and collectable bloodline. Yes, devils like to collect souls from famous or infamous bloodlines. Devilish politics are convoluted; convoluted beyond even what is going on in Washington D.C. these days. In this maelstrom of soul selling and deal making in a tough spot, Farideh made a deal with the sister of the devil she made her pact with. See, things are already getting devilishly convoluted.

The deal she made was for protection and the time has come for her to live up to her end of the bargain.To protect her twin sister, Farideh leaves everything she loves, and is important to her, to help a wizard who is part of a scheme that will be the Super Bowl of fights, The Devils of the Nine Hells vs. the Gods. To penetrate this wizard’s fortress, Farideh must cast a powerful spell and in the process picks up a stowaway Harper agent named Dahl. Dahl being a Harper agent isn’t beholden to the devils and may or may not be more than he appears. In his attempt to escape, Dahl encounters an odd village of odd people stuck behind a wall they can’t escape from. Farideh soon soul gazes and sees that some of the villagers are not like the others and these special villagers are being taken away. Why are they being removed, where are they going, how does all of this fit into the wizards scheme to start the sundering death match between devils and gods, and what will it cost Farideh to reveal all of these secrets?

Erin M. Evans, has been added to the all star line-up of The Sundering authors, and from a plot-line perspective, she was a good choice. The character, Farideh, completely changed the way I look at warlocks and Teiflings. Because of Evans’ writing, I have been able to make warlocks much deeper in the games I run. That might not seem like much, but for me it is a big deal; no, a huge deal. This book, like the other books in The Sundering series, starts out fast and dosen’t really slow down much. If you have not read the other books that Evans has written, or the other books in The sundering series, then this book will confuse you. As a standalone it still works, but barely.

Evans pours her heart and soul into Farideh, and it pays off. Even with her supernatural powers, Farideh feels real. She doesn’t always make good choices, she has bad timing, she does petty spiteful things, and, most importantly, she makes rash decisions that tend to haunt her later on. It is these real reactions to situations that make Farideh a character worth getting to know and Evans an author worth reading. As you can guess, Farideh tends to create plot hooks left and right in the process of not always making the right choice or a choice for the right reasons. In many ways, Farideh will always be that teenaged Teifling that stole the keys to power and is having a heck of a time trying to figure it all out.

Like all things dealing with the Nine Hells and devils, this book is complex and at times confusing; deals are being made left and right and things happen fast. The characters seemed to be more in the background and the hook of the novel seemed to have the purpose of setting things up for later books in The Sundering series. I didn’t have a problem with that, but I do feel like the character development suffered just a bit. I think the overall best way to describe this book is that it is a little bit like the Empire Strikes Back of The Sundering series; there are parts of the book that seem like they will come into play later on and some significant things happen, however, the reading audience might not list it as their favorite.

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