I generally review romance, paranormal and urban fantasy. I tend to pick review books that I want to read, so generally my reviews will be positive. I always give my honest opinion: good, bad, and indifferent.
Note: on my blog I use a letter grading system. I've listed the ratings below. For sites with stars, I have listed the equivalent rating. If I didn't finish the book, I will not rate it with stars.
A+ Personal Favorite (5 stars)
A Loved It (4.5 or 5 stars)
A- Enjoyed A Lot (4 or 4.5 stars)
B+ Liked It A Lot (4 stars)
B Liked It -- Recommend (4 stars)
B- Liked It -- But I had a few small issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C+ Liked It -- But I had issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C Finished It -- Liked some, didn't like some (3 stars)
C- Finished It -- Liked a little, didn't like a lot (2 or 2.5 stars)
D Not A Big Fan (2 stars)
E Don’t Waste Your Time (1 star)
TW: Reading this book was like watching a Train Wreck
DNF: Did Not Finish
updated July 9, 2015
Picking up immediately after the conclusion of the previous book, The Brimstone Deception opens with Mak on a date with Rake and Ian on date with Kylie. At the same restaurant. Were Ian is convinced that Mak is only with Rake because the gorgeous goblin enthralled her. However, before anyone can enjoy themselves, another patron suddenly realizes he can see monsters all around him. This puts SPI into action, discovering there is a new drug called Brimstone being circulated around town, and it’s leaving a path of dead dealers in its wake.
Lisa Shearin’s SPI Files is a wonderfully adventurous series, pairing dangerous mystery-solving with the bizarre and supernatural. The Brimstone Deception starts with a jolt and the action is nearly non-stop as SPI seer Mak and her partner, Ian, try to find the open hellpit in New York before it destroys the city. I loved trying to piece together the clues as Mak and Ian uncover them bit by bit.
While the series is by no means a romance, I found myself hoping for a Mak-Ian pairing because the two make such a great team. However, Ms. Shearin makes it clear from the get go that they are strictly partners, and Mak has eyes for Rake. While I was personally bummed by this, I will admit that by the conclusion of the book, Rake was winning me over. Just a little.
Having listened to the audiobook of the first two titles in the series, I felt like I was missing something by reading this one. (I have already purchased the audiobook and will be listening to it soon.) I don’t know if it was that, or the fact that I read the book over the Christmas holidays, and it was difficult to carve out a solid block of time to read, but I never really got into the overall story. It was interesting, but I failed to connect with the tale on an emotional level.
One of the things that bothered me was the fact that this book takes place only one day after the prior book, and the SPI agents didn’t have anytime to recover, yet they were ready to go for another round of crime-solving. Additionally, Mak discovers a new aspect to her seer-abilities, and it was never really explained why it happened. It almost felt contrived, but not quite. I suppose it’s just one of those things readers are meant to just accept. Additionally, one of the best aspects of the earlier titles was the camaraderie and humor of the developing friendships between Mak and her follow agents, as well as some folks outside SPI. Unfortunately, instead of fostering and growing the friendships and bonds that were strengthening in the previous two titles, the story instead focused on new characters and friendships.
Although I did enjoy reading The Brimstone Deception, I found that the story didn’t hold up to the previous two titles. The book felt smaller and simpler than the first two, which is something I appreciated, but I also found that I need more. The mystery had some twists, but everything was pretty much straight forward and spelled out for the reader. There was a lot less of SPI and more focus on just Mak and Ian solving the case. I really think I need to reread this one via my audiobook to get a better sense of where The Brimstone Deception fits in the big picture of the SPI Files, and I look forward to it!
My Rating: B- Liked It, but I had a few small issues
Review copy provided by publisher.