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Ashes of the Tyrant > Ashes of the Tyrant - Finished the Book

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message 1: by Chad (new)

Chad Peek (mordrim) | 255 comments Mod
Here it is....the thread where you can discuss every plot twist, every secret, and even make fun of those of us who are digesting the book in small pieces.

I do encourage you to still stop by the section threads and take part...just don't ruin anything for me :)

message 2: by Merlin (new)

Merlin | 16 comments I would have liked to digest the book in small pieces, would have prolonged the fun but instead I scarfed it down in one go (almost)...:)
First off, sorry for slightly funny English...I´m from Berlin.
I do like the big story arc but I´m sure it would not be half as engaging if it wasn´t being told from the perspective of characters who are so real and believable, who actually develop over time and have steadily grown on me with each book.
And while the series is full of interesting characters and relationships, the most central one of course is that between Farideh and Lorcan.
After reading the last book I definitely had to think of Wuthering Heights. The analogy only goes so far but it´s there.
The love between Dahl and Farideh is sane, healthy, socially acceptable (on Faridehs side at least), it fosters happiness and peace. The love between Lorcan and Farideh is passionate, insane, it is killing both of them, is socially unacceptable and yet it is of a so much more fundamental quality.
Faridehs virtuousness drives Lorcan to distraction, puts him in danger and makes his life hell, and yet he loves her not in spite of it but because of it. He wouldn´t love a morally flexible, more manageable version of her. And the scene in which he takes her into his arms when she vents Asmodeus´ fiery power shows he accepts her completely - while Dahl wouldn´t only physically be unable to anything like that.
He´s been unwinding his unholy self for her for quite while now - starting to lie, care, fuss and there´s no limit - it wasn´t a lie when he told her he´d kill Sairché if she needed him to even with the deal still in force - thus obliterating himself. Of course, his love is insane and possessive, but what about the other - Faridehs- side? If the pact is a leash, it goes both ways obviously. I think it was a very funny move to have the loony demon state the obvious to Dahl: she doesn´t keep Lorcan around because she has to...for protection. It really doesn´t make any sense if you think about it (it´s rather a common kind of rationalization we all employ in order to hide our true motives even from ourselves) . And yet Farideh hasn´t even for a second seriously considered cutting him loose. And she is clever so she´s already started to see her wickedness in this. She even now asks him to change for her although she has Dahl. Let´s him come back, shoos him away, treats him (as he complains) like a dog - an embarassingly ugly, smelly one to boot- that should be kept in the cellar. Only to be taken out to perform some special task.
But in the end ... it stands to reason that she no more wants decent human Lorcan than he wants a morally flexible Farideh.
She didn´t want Asmodeus to forcefully change him - that would be monstrous - and it might be what is happening now...through the magic of the demon that Dahl hit Lorcan with.
In a very fundamental way they are alike as well as opposites that attract. And they want each other exactly for what they are - never mind it´s killing them both. LOVE IS PAIN.
I remember a part from Wuthering Heights (just quoting from memory- lacking in poetic quality) where Cathy explains that her love for Linton is like the foliage in the Woods. It changes with time and the seasons while her love for Heathcliff is like the eternal rocks below. It is not a source of much happiness but necessary. A part of her very self. The craziness went both ways, of course, she never married him anyways and it all ended in epic tragedy.
Sooo, obviously there can be no happy ending with Farideh and Dahl ending up together. There can also be no happy ending with Farideh ending up with a downsized human version of Lorcan (she doesn´t even like the newly downsized Version of herself without the powers given by Asmodeus). There can also be no happy ending with regular Farideh and Lorcan ending up together (because the very nature of their love is pain). Although the latter would allow for new series with these characters - something that I´m sure we´d all love to see.
If Erin were a devil I might consider a pact in order for her to tell me how it ends...:) But I wonder, does she know already at all? Maybe did from the beginning? In any case, the development of the characters does not seem erratic at all. And I think it´s very uncommon to find such well developped characters and even epic victorian-style love drama in the FR franchise.

message 3: by Merlin (new)

Merlin | 16 comments gawds.. i feel like Drizzt now...such a lengthy monologue..;)

message 4: by Ashley (last edited Jan 09, 2016 02:49PM) (new)

Ashley | 19 comments Great analysis! I've never read Wuthering Heights but now I want to to see this parallel...
I'm really enjoying how crazy and complicated this "love triangle" has gotten as well. I do however think that there's no way at this point Fari will end up with Lorcan, and I do think she can be happily together with Dahl.
Even though I'm not usually a huge fan of love triangles, the reason this one works for me is because I see it not as Fari having to choose which man she loves more, but rather having to choose herself and her own happiness. She obviously loves both of them (and her love for Lorcan might even be more fundamental, since that relationship is such a big, influential part of her), but the difference is that Dahl actually treats her well and makes her happy. Mehen said something like "When you're with Dahl you seem happy, but when you're with Lorcan you just seem afraid." right?
I absolutely believe that Lorcan loves Farideh, but the fact is he's abusive. He tries to control her actions, he makes her feel guilty for standing up for herself, manipulates her emotionally, doesn't apologize for mistreating her (or when he does he acts as though she's making a big deal out of nothing), etc. Farideh doesn't exactly treat Lorcan well all the time either. Their relationship is super unhealthy and has an obvious power imbalance, soI think the way Farideh's development is going is that she's going to choose her own wellbeing over her love for Lorcan.
Anyway, I agree that this storyline can't (and shouldn't) have a perfectly happy, tied-up ending, but I think it'll get pretty close with Farideh out of her abusive relationship with Lorcan and instead with Dahl in a relationship that is equal and healthy and makes them both happy.
My personal theory is that Lorcan might die by the end of the series anyway, but who knows. :)
I like your theory that Dahl's demon spell might end up making Lorcan more human (or something). That would certainly complicate things haha
And yeah I too am going crazy waiting to see how Erin is going to wrap everything up!

message 5: by Merlin (last edited Jan 09, 2016 04:52PM) (new)

Merlin | 16 comments Hm, I don´t really see the power imbalance in this realationship. The mighty bad devil lording it over the poor damsel would make me groan with annoyance! But I do think they are equals...they are equally abusing each other...:) That´s unhealthy, of course, yes...but still...his life was in her hands in the past and it is even now. She has crushed his little black heart most violently...and what is telling a person that loves you to prettyplease be someone else, and making that person come back again and again to hear it? Or go hide in the cellar? Even though you´ve started a new relationship with someone else? It´s quite cruel (though she is -not- ever deliberately cruel)... And in the Farideh to be ultimately not manageable by the manipulations of this devil - no matter how clever he is....she matches him...don´t sell her cheap!
And if my way of looking at this is "correct" she can not choose herself and her happiness by choosing Dahl.
If he´s part of her soul, her very self, then that would necessarily mean making a choice against well...herself. It´s what Cathy did and look where it´s gotten her....;)
Ending up with both of them might theoretically be a solution...if they reconciled...but doesn´t exactly look like they´ll stop being at each others throats anytime soon so meh....:P

message 6: by Ashley (last edited Jan 09, 2016 05:27PM) (new)

Ashley | 19 comments You know on second thought I think you're right and there's not much of a power imbalance in their relationship now like there was in earlier books, but I would still say Lorcan is an abuser.
In the end, I don't think Farideh could ever be truly happy with Lorcan, although I guess she couldn't be all the way happy without him either. Of course there's no truly 100% right choice that will wrap everything up neatly with no regrets.
I think it comes down to personal growth and her realizing he's bad for her and giving that relationship up, no matter how much she does love him and how much it will hurt to let him go. In the end, Lorcan is a devil, he's evil, he doesn't think like her. He loves her, but he doesn't care about her family and friends, or about helping people, or about any kind of greater good, all things which are so important to Farideh. There's no possible future for the two of them, as I see it. I realize I could absolutely be wrong about that; we'll just have to wait and see where things go. :)
Maybe Lorcan will become a better person and she'll end up with both of them in some sort of polyamorous relationship. That would be unpredictable and interesting and fresh, so I would be all for it if it was done right. :P

message 7: by Merlin (new)

Merlin | 16 comments Hrm...maybe what it boils down is they´d both have to grow....
She would have to stop being embarrassed and hiding him like some ugly pimple because of him being what he is...a half-devil.
And he would have to finally manage to let that lovely non-devilish side of himself shine with some constancy and not be embarrassed about it...
Then they could complete each other in the most beautiful way: he would be her passion, her power, her daring and she would be his (moral) sanity, sense of purpose and raison d´être. In their union, each of them would grow more fully into their true potential... he is not and has never been a regular devil...and she was never meant to be some fighter or demure midwife. By accepting the other, they´d end up accepting and realizing themselves more fully, each nurturing what is present but atrophied in the other.
Yes, now I think I´m on to something (finally...)...:D
And since this isn´t likely to work out without drama, the "happy couple" might drive each other insane in oh so many more books...:)

message 8: by Erin (last edited Jan 10, 2016 03:30PM) (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Interesting take! I expect you don't really want things spoiled so I will watch from the sidelines on this one. I will say I didn't always know how it would end, but I do now and have for a while.

For everyone who finished, please please take a moment to leave a review here on Goodreads or on Amazon or Barnes&Noble. The only thing that really sells books is word of mouth, so think of those 10 minutes you take as an investment in future books! (I love hearing you enjoyed it, but I'm already sold)

Usually I ask some discussion questions at the end/in this thread.

If you play D&D:
1. Did this book make you want to play anything new? A location? A character? A story point?
2. Did this book make you interested in the Rage of Demons adventure? Did you pick up the book because you were interested in that story arc?

For everyone:
1. How did you feel about dragonborn coming in? Did your feelings change?
2. This book had more elements dictated by the RPG team than the previous book. Do you feel like it affected your enjoyment (good or bad)?
3.Since the conversation is already there: team Lorcan, Team Dahl, or something else?
4. What would I have to do to make Team Dahl/Team Lorcan shirts happen at Gen Con? ;)

message 9: by Merlin (new)

Merlin | 16 comments I´d -really- like to read the next book right now...but of course we´ll have to make do with speculation until then...
Teambuilding...interesting idea. Of course team Lorcan would have to get shirts with a more sexy cut while Ashley on team Dahl would have to settle for more baggy, bland ones....:) Then there could be fist fights and stuff...oh the fun! ;P
I´d love to visit Gen Con if only they wouldn´t do it in ...I dunno...the US-Prairie.
I´ll come back for the questions but I feel I´ve blathered enough already and will wait for others to pipe in first.

message 10: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Spinney | 2 comments I agree its mutually abusive between Lorcan and Farideh, but I think Farideh is more at fault, because lets be honest Lorcan grew up in hell and often has no choice, but to be a bastard, it not like he does it for fun, but because he has no choice choice.

Lorcan isn't a self bastard or a psychopath, his a victim of an insane level of horror and brutality all his life and left in a constant state of fear, that he has any goodness in him at all.

I see the bad boy vibe as a mask of survival, underneath it is an abused boy who has known little of joy and until Farideh nothing of love, his whole world a literal hell, where he was beaten, bullied, and/or dominated by literally every women in his life, his mother, his sister, his half sisters, and even Glasya.

To survive he's become what he had to become, compared to that Dahl has come from a very privledged back ground.

message 11: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
So I know I said I'd stay out but I have to ask, what is it Farideh's done that reads as abusive?

Also, don't underestimate Dahl. He might not be Lorcan but keep in mind wealthy heiresses try to show him their libraries. ;)

message 12: by Kendra (new)

Kendra Lawrence | 16 comments I posted a review here and on Amazon! I loved it! There is so much going on, and I cared about what was happening to all the characters. I loved all the intrigue and depth that was happening. A lot to take in, but in a good way.

I am glad Brin and Havi are back together, though now Havi, is, well, you know. Inhabited, shall we say?

I am torn between Dahl and Lorcan. I like them both. Lorcan is a, uh, jerk, but he isn't "evil". I liked him from the beginning, and I think Farideh has influenced him for the better, at least in part. But Dahl isn't so bad either. I didn't like him at first, but he's grown on me. I was unsure about their relationship, because it was so unexpected to me, but unexpectedness was actually a topic in the book. Maybe Fari will be unconventional and have them both? Lol if she can stop them from killing each other.

I wouldn't say Fari is "abusive", per se, but she does push Lorcan away, and constantly lead him in circles, But, she has reason to, and he has done the same. Lorcan has a dark charm, and Farideh knows that, so she is trying to keep him at a distance (also, there is a lot going on, so she can't constantly be worrying about who her "brightbird" is--though she often ends up doing so. It's an interesting contrast). This distance frustrates Lorcan, in part because she's his warlock, so there are business reasons, but I also think Fari has found her way into his heart.

I am also curious to see what happens with Mehen and his relationship with Kallan and/or Arjhani. I like Kallan.

Oh, and as a fan of anything canine, I adore Zoonie. And Mot the imp is kind of funny, too.

message 13: by Merlin (new)

Merlin | 16 comments Maybe I shouldn´t have said they are abusing each other. I meant to contradict the idea that there is a simple power imbalance between them - like there is between the abuser and his victim.
But there is a tragic dynamic between them, as Kendra said.
She baits that human, kind part of him but she always leaves him with the feeling that it´s not enough, he is not enough, something to be embarrassed about always, not to be trusted - and he never fails to prove her right unfortunately ... he keeps inching towards her and then he slips most badly and she pushes him further away again. I liked how he tried to imagine a way to appease her with a present and after initially failing to come up with something, finally (and not in a calculating way) ended up with the right thing: the tea. So he´s getting there...but painfully slow.
If they never take that leap of faith together, never somehow manage to trust each other, it will be tragic though...she´s not just his saviour, he´s hers, too. She couldn´t be the warlock of any other devil, any regular devil (imagine the creepy paelyrion...) but that is what she´s meant to be/wants to be.
So yah, the poor cambion has had a bad childhood, but there´s only so many chances you can give a person like that before kicking their behind so hard they fly to the moon. And I have felt many times the cambion was in line for exactly that. But Erin drags him back every time. So I don´t think things are looking too bleak for team Lorcan.
Also I do love the little erratic anarchist imp Mot.

message 14: by Merlin (new)

Merlin | 16 comments On second thought: he just left a whole group of people to die in the underdark (including Dahl). Maybe there´s no hope for him after all...Farideh would have to be his moral compass 24/7. He´d only ever love her and nothing/no one else. Crazy. So now I´m on team Dahl after all...:) Tragedy ahead!

message 15: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 19 comments Welcome to the light side! We have... baggy, bland t-shirts apparently.. ;P
Honestly, I do like Lorcan and I am rooting for him to achieve some kind of "redemption" in the end, whatever that will mean. I just would like it to be in some other way than a happy ever after relationship with Farideh.
As much as I like to think I'm #teamfarideh and what's best for her, I really do love Dahl too and if it came down to a choice where either of them would be equally as good for Farideh, I would still choose Dahl, no doubt. I've never thought he was boring, either... but I guess a lot of that comes down to personal taste and what kind of characters and relationships I like to see explored in fiction.

message 16: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 19 comments Anyway Farideh’s love life isn’t the only thing in these books I care about so other thoughts:
-Brin was my least favorite character at the end of Fire in the Blood, but I’ve come back around and I totally like him again, now that he doesn’t have all that stress in Cormyr to make him act like a jerk. I really liked the scenes where we got to see his and Farideh’s friendship, since they haven’t really gotten to interact a lot in the past few books. All around I enjoyed that Ashes of the Tyrant focused more on the friendships and not as much on the romantic relationships (as much as I love that too).
-I agree with Kendra that I can’t wait to see what happens with Mehen and Kallan. Kallan is really great! Mehen deserves to be happy and needs to stop worrying about his grown up daughters so much, although now that we know exactly why I have way more sympathy for his overprotective tendencies. The reveal that Havi almost killed herself when she was twelve was completely heartbreaking.
-Dumuzi is a new favorite! He’s a sweetie and I think his friendship with Farideh is the most precious thing. This whole Enlil thing is pretty weird and I’m excited to see where it goes.
-I said it before on the other thread, but I was super pleased to have Mira back! I was hoping to get her point of view like we had in Lesser Evils, but oh well.
-I was super glad that Farideh and Havi were together for the whole book, after them spending most of the last two apart (and now they’re separated again! poor Farideh). The way they interact really reminds me of myself and my own sister sometimes, and I really enjoy reading the parts that center on those two.
-I don’t play D&D or read any of the other novels or really know that much about the Realms besides what’s been in this series, and at the end I think that was affecting my ability to understand the plot a bit. I’m a little confused about a few things, and not sure how much I’m supposed to not understand yet and how much would make more sense to more hardcore fans.

message 17: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Ashley: Anything I can clarify and/or confirm is intentionally unclear?

message 18: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Oh, quick thing I thought of: Sessaca's ending. There is a deeply D&D nerdy bit in here.

Per the Monster Manual, kuo-toa can create gods by worshipping things. And they're kind of dumb so what they worship is a little random.

So herein lies the possibility that a tribe of kuo-toa may wind up venerating the Viper of the Earthfasts and Sessaca becomes a weird Demi-goddess.

Or she dies in glorious battle with another tribe who disagrees with that dogma. Up to you.

message 19: by Ashley (last edited Jan 13, 2016 05:04PM) (new)

Ashley | 19 comments I'm just generally confused about most of the bigger "world events" that play into this book, like the Demon Lords and whatever is going on with Abeir. Most of it is things the characters seem to be confused about too, and I'm content to wait and understand it when they do. I'm just wondering how much more dedicated fans would already know or be able to figure out themselves.
I also read through the book pretty fast, and that's probably part of my problem. :) I'm sure a few things will become clearer when I re-read it.

message 20: by Micha (new)

Micha | 13 comments Frankly, I don't think Farideh is abusive, and honestly, I don't understand how anyone can say that anything she's done is cruel. Dating someone else when Lorcan "loves" her? She broke up with him when he poisoned her. He has no right nor claim to her.

And, of course, there is a power imbalance between Farideh and Lorcan. Here's the thing - Farideh is the one with the power! She always was, even if she didn't realize it. In the first book, she had her status as the rarest of the Toril Thirteen to leverage. You can see at the end of Brimstone Angels when she realizes that she's the one makes the calls. In the second and third book, she's the one who's pulling Lorcan around through the protection - he's tied to her. From Adversary on, she's the Chosen, and Lorcan relegated to her bodyguard. In this last book, he likely needs Farideh's protection again.

Farideh's given Lorcan every chance. Remember in the first book when he tried to kill her family? Or after he abandoned her in the tower? Farideh has done nothing but give the cambion chance after chance to stop hurting her, her family and friends. Hells, if a stlarning imp can figure out how to find the King in the previous book, then Lorcan could have... he could have easily done it, before anyone left the city. But he didn't. Again, with the demon lose in the fourth book? He likely could have raised a hellish army to seek out the demon - rekindled Blood War anyone?

Lorcan is a worthless sack of crap. Farideh bends over backwards to help with his problems, but Lorcan's responce to her problems are "how can I stop Fari without her knowing?"

message 21: by Micha (last edited Jan 14, 2016 05:01AM) (new)

Micha | 13 comments If you play D&D:
1. Did this book make you want to play anything new? A location? A character? A story point?
2. Did this book make you interested in the Rage of Demons adventure? Did you pick up the book because you were interested in that story arc?

For everyone:
1. How did you feel about dragonborn coming in? Did your feelings change?
2. This book had more elements dictated by the RPG team than the previous book. Do you feel like it affected your enjoyment (good or bad)?
3.Since the conversation is already there: team Lorcan, Team Dahl, or something else?
4. What would I have to do to make Team Dahl/Team Lorcan shirts happen at Gen Con? ;)

Well, I do play D&D, so I guess I'll answer these!

1) Well... tiefling warlocks and dragonborn barbarians have been a staple for me for a while, long before I found your books. Yes, I realize that Mehen isn't a barbarian, but there's a lot of overlap.

Brin is a stereotypical "princess" character, just as a boy instead of a woman. He fits the Chick role in the Five Man Band perfectly with the exception of his physical sex.* So, I don't think of him as anything new either. Same with Mira as a rogue-scholar, or Tam the cleric. While I love them as characters, I don't see them as something new to play.

The one character that really inspired me to try something different is Dahl, paladin of a god of knowledge. When you look at it through the lens of 5e... How does that even work? I really want to play a paladin with an Oath for knoweldge now.

As for locations? That's where these books really shine for my games. They're GREAT for inspirational material. Fleshed out dragonborn society can be used for my game easily.

2) Not at all. My group uses a homebrew world where adaption simply isn't viable. In my world, for instance, humans are generally treated as a lower class race - very much NOT the dominant species.

1) I love the dragonborn. Love seeing more of them. Great inspirational material for dragonborn in my games. I love seeing more of them, and their language bits on the blog are great to see.

2) The only thing that dictated my "enjoyment" was the suddenness of the plot shift with demons showing up. Normally, in a story, you can see things coming with forshadowing. This is a sudden and slightly jarring insert. Everything other than that was good, but sudden plot shifts like "And then, demons!!" can be a bit strange from a non-game perspective.

3) Team Farideh, first and formost. And then, Team Mira (quit the Harpers, join the Zhent!) Just kidding (though, seriously, would love to see more Harper-Zhent drama)! Team Dahl if we want to ship Fari with someone; romance or not, the two do play off each other well with their love of learning and puzzle solving, so more Dahl in any capacity is awesome.

4) Give them away for free? Because there's no way I can afford them otherwise. :(

* Speaking of tropes... What happened to not having Farideh not fit into one, Mrs Lady of Black Magic?

message 22: by Todd (new)

Todd Leinweber | 3 comments wow. I have catching up to do. haven't been keeping up with the conversation for the last few days.
I'll try and add my thoughts in tonight after work.

Ashes of the Tyrant has really struck a few chords and touched on a few nerves, Erin. :)

message 23: by Erin (last edited Jan 15, 2016 10:06AM) (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Hrm. I just discovered goodreads isn't letting me know when new posts pop up.

Lady of Black Magic: what can I say? My tongue-in-cheek nod to whoever created the Brimstone Angels TV tropes page. Dream come true.

Lorcan is...complicated enough I may have to wait until I'm on a proper computer to add anything.

message 24: by Merlin (new)

Merlin | 16 comments Nobody would want anybody to end up with someone like Lorcan in the real world. He might change - already has- but isn´t likely to be a sane decent person at any time. But then, in the real world, nobody has hellish ancestry to deal with, a calling to be a warlock and readers who want to enjoy some more crazy and dramatic adventures.
I like their story exactly because its not all black and white and their reasons for sticking to each other are so manifold and conflicted. She´s not just the misguided psychotherapist of a worthless sack of crap or simply the hapless victim of his lovely features and shapely butt. That would be boring. They both have many rational, selfish and irrational reasons for sticking to each other. There´s some sort of a power balance in that.
And I do think that if the shitting cambion produces the final wuss-out in the next book the series will be over. Don´t you think? Maybe with a bitter-sweet happy ending for Farideh as a scholar/harper after her heritage problems are solved? It would be a good ending. But I´m greedy and would love to see more adventures coming. I´m a huge fan of roaring Mehen, too.
Although I would read a spin-off about Sessaca, the sea-hag queen of the underdark, too...;)

message 25: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
So from a kind of technical standpoint, Lorcan works the way he does because he's not uniformly evil. He has moments of goodness--he suffers a lot of torture rather than give Farideh up to Sairché. He doesn't bail on her with Rohini. He does Tarchamus's volcano spell and nearly dies, because anyone else would definitely die. Ideally, every time you get to the point where you want to kick him off a cliff, he does something that reminds you he's salvageable. Maybe.

And part of this is that I want to show his side of it too: This really is the only way he knows how to interact with people. Farideh really is good for him. You follow this thread and you can see the argument that, well, she would redeem him and so maybe that means they're meant to be.

But if you swing over to the other side? Loving Lorcan is like trying to tame a wolf. Why is it Farideh's job to tame the wolf? I think she feels responsible in some ways because she's the only one having much of an affect and because in her mind he's the one who saved her from Arush Vayem (and because yeah, she's pretty smitten with him for most of the series). But the question remains: even if he's redeemable, is it her job to redeem him?

I think in real life abusive relationships you see a lot of this. The abuser isn't 100% evil. Real life Lorcan has a lot of decent qualities and so there's some attraction in overlooking how controlling and vindictive he can be. Real life Lorcan--like book Lorcan--has a tragic past that totally explains why he is like that.

And you see this path that Farideh could lead him down, and you think, oh see! She's his angel. She will fix this. How has she not fixed it already?

But the only person who can change Lorcan is Lorcan.

And I think that's more plausible than reality, actually given that as a devil he'd probably be really good at changing his behavior to appease other devils and really good at analyzing people--why they say and do what they say and do. And even if he doesn't, I don't think he's going to be easy to shrug off. She does need him in a totally mercenary way.

Either way, I can totally think of more stories. :)

message 26: by Merlin (last edited Jan 16, 2016 06:08AM) (new)

Merlin | 16 comments I hear MOAR stories and am happy...
Thanks for explaining...didn´t see that coming...;)
Not sure I understand the last paragraph though...maybe I´m being dense. I came to reason that his half-devil nature would make his actual redemption nigh impossible. But you´re saying it´s the other way around? His devilish ability to analyze people, their emotions, calculate reactions and emulate emotions and adjust his own behavior accordingly seems to be like the abilities of a clever psychopath (I always saw devils as master psychopaths). They may help him to "seem" redeemed but Farideh, being just as clever as he is, figures him out every time so that only serves him to dig his own grave in the end. I dunno, the way I read it, it´s exactly when he doesn´t employ that kind of thinking that he inches a little closer to being a better Lorcan. Like I read the thing with the tea, or other little gestures he didn´t do in that calculating, analyzing manner. And in order to understand her reactions to those gestures he wouldn´t need those psychopathic qualities? But maybe I just didn´t understand what you meant.

Anyways, finally a quick answering of the questionnaire:
I gave up on d&d when the 4th edition came out. We have been using Pathfinder since then and a custom setting our hilarious dm came up with. Maybe the books have made me inch back a little and have an eye out for what´s coming from d&d.
1. The book(s) are inspiring for character creation in general. Take a race or class that is rather straightforward and bland and twist it to make it fun. The anarchist imp, the good warlock, love-struck devil, not-quite paladins etc. Of course, we all know the good drow, but I think a lot of the reasons for doing such twists was lost on that one. So...shit on the rules and categorizations to make the game more fun...:)
2. Nah.
1. Would have expected them to be more alien. Wouldn´t work of course if they are a player race. The setting you describe is very rich and believable. Very good for players and dms to work with.
2. Did happen with other books where this seemed to wreck the story or the setting completely but not in this case.
3. too much said already...

message 27: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
(There's an excellent chance I'm not going to explain this badly as Itsy Mr E woke up at 2:30 am and proceeded to list his grievances for the next few hours)

It's not that he's a devil. It's that he's half a devil and half human. Humans, in general, are very adaptable but they aren't great at self-examination. Humans who act sociopathic are notoriously rubbish at it. If Lorcan were human, I feel like expecting him to change would be a losing proposition.

But a devil would be more aware of the whys and wherefores of the human psyche--the better to corrupt a soul--and fairly adept at shifting behaviors within a very narrow spectrum. You have to keep your betters happy after all, but mostly the things you do are going to fit the alignment. And I don't think it generally changes the devil deep down, just that Devils are very goal-oriented.

So it's possible to integrate both of these, to turn that analytical part inward and adapt on a deep level.

Of course then he'll still have poisoned her and trapped her lover.

message 28: by Ashley (last edited Jan 16, 2016 12:48PM) (new)

Ashley | 19 comments So I guess Lorcan's ability to change for the better would be enabled by his "devil side," but what makes that really "becoming a better person" is whether the *motivation* for the change is from his human side (his love for Farideh, his occasional desire to do the right thing) or his devil side (his wanting to make Farideh and others trust him for the purpose of being able to control/corrupt them better).

message 29: by Merlin (new)

Merlin | 16 comments Yea, I bet, mysteriously life as a baby can be harder than life being pursued by the nine hells. Thanks for taking the time to explain anyhow....:)
So, the suspense remains...

message 30: by Coffeedave (new)

Coffeedave | 17 comments Erin wrote: "Interesting take! I expect you don't really want things spoiled so I will watch from the sidelines on this one. I will say I didn't always know how it would end, but I do now and have for a while. ..."

I do play D&D:
1. I'm still hooked on Tiefling spell casters, but not just Warlocks. Playing a Tefling bard that uses her bardic magic to change the colors of her cloths to match the mood of her music. in Social settings a bad dice roll makes me change colors like a mood ring, my 'tell'.
2. It did make me interested, but I was already invested in the Brimstone Angels so I was getting this book anyway :D

the Everyone questions:
1. I've never been a fan of Dragonborn before this book. While I liked how they were portrayed here, I'm still not rolling one anytime soon.
2. While this book was influenced somewhat by the 'Rage of Demons' story arc, it didn't take me out of it like seeing Tiamat in the hells in the previous book. I think it's due to the nature of the series (Dealing with the Hells, Demons isn't that far of a stretch).
3. Team Raedra...but I think that's kinda hard to do with one book left so Team Dahl. I can't tell you how good it felt to see Dahl punch Lorcan like that. Even under the influence of a Demon.
4. If not shirts, maybe a reversible book cover showing your allegiance for the last book of this arch?

message 31: by Merlin (last edited Jan 17, 2016 06:54PM) (new)

Merlin | 16 comments C´ one for team Lorcan? Doesn´t matter...I can take you all...*funny boxing hops*...>:)
And no Dave, the nasty not-quite paladin hit Lorcan´s face while NOT under the influence of the demon. He felt stabs of conscience afterwards (typical paladin)...but he broke his promise to Farideh and might have hurt her with this.

message 32: by Coffeedave (new)

Coffeedave | 17 comments At this point, I have a hard time seeing Lorcan live long enough for that to be an issue. Even if he stuck around in the realms, they will still come after him and Sairche.

message 33: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 19 comments Team Raedra yasss. Maybe that's how this whole conflict needs to be solved. :P

message 34: by Merlin (last edited Jan 18, 2016 02:40AM) (new)

Merlin | 16 comments That came out wrong...he hit him in the face while under the demon´s influence, you´re right (if I now remember correctly), but the final blow to the chest transferring the demons magic was not made under that influence. So they both have broken their promise to Farideh. And Team Raedra...weeell....Raedra certainly has no use for Brin, the princess. But she´s already a heroine who seems to be doing quite well on her own...and doesn´t need Farideh to save her every five minutes.

message 35: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 19 comments That's what would make them such a great pair! But yeah, she doesn't *need* Farideh like our other two guys do, plus there's the fact that the people of Cormyr certainly wouldn't react well to their queen having a tiefling girlfriend. I guess it's just not meant to be. Still I have to admit that before I jumped on the Farideh/Dahl train I was secretly hoping for a female endgame love interest for Fari... And she and Raedra did have chemistry. Oh well.

message 36: by Kendra (new)

Kendra Lawrence | 16 comments Erin wrote: "Hrm. I just discovered goodreads isn't letting me know when new posts pop up.

Lady of Black Magic: what can I say? My tongue-in-cheek nod to whoever created the Brimstone Angels TV tropes page. D..."

I'm having that problem too. After my post, I was never notified that the conversation continued.

message 37: by Kendra (last edited Jan 18, 2016 03:05PM) (new)

Kendra Lawrence | 16 comments Ashley wrote: "I'm just generally confused about most of the bigger "world events" that play into this book, like the Demon Lords and whatever is going on with Abeir. Most of it is things the characters seem to b..."

There are a lot of really good Forgotten Realms books out there, but it can be daunting to get started. It's hard coming into something you don't know much about, but the more you read, the more you learn. I have read quite a number of them, and the sourcebooks can be helpful too for lore and references. That's what I use them for. I don't play D&D, either, but sourcebooks, like ones on deities and campaign guides, can be quite helpful for understanding the setting and events.

And this is just a general comment in response to the Fari and Lorcan relationship. I'm not responding to one particular post here. Personally, while their relationship in real life would likely be labelled unhealthy, I like Lorcan and Fari together. I have a soft spot for Lorcan. He is one of my favorite characters in the books. In a weird way, they balance each other out. Whatever his motivations, Lorcan -does- want to protect her, and as he said at the end of the book "I do love you, just not in the way you want." He is, after all, a half-devil, and he is always going to have that "devilish" side to him (though I think Fari is partially attracted to that side). It's a complicated relationship, made more complicated by circumstances that are far less likely to happen in real life.

message 38: by Lidiya (new)

Lidiya | 12 comments Very glad to hear you're not out of stories. I only hope WoTC (or are they just wizards now?) gives you the chance!

message 39: by Brandon (new)

Brandon Draga | 6 comments Erin wrote: "Interesting take! I expect you don't really want things spoiled so I will watch from the sidelines on this one. I will say I didn't always know how it would end, but I do now and have for a while. ..."

Just wrapped up the book, so here's my two cents:

D&D questions:
1. I'm typically a DM, but hot damn this book makes me want to roll up a Dragonborn ranger SO BAD (I do need to go back and re-read the little clan history post from last year to figure out where he'd come from though).

2. My time to run games has petered out significantly lately, but in truth I did already pick up the Tyranny of Dragons and Elemental Evil modules, so I'm sure I would have picked up the Rage of Demons books eventually, even if I never end up running the adventure.

Questions for everyone:
1. I don't think anything has done as much to flesh out the dragonborn quite as much as this series has, and I'm glad for that. So many people were reticent, I think, when the race came out because nothing like them had ever been done before, but these books (especially Ashes) have made them so realized. I had always thought they were an interesting concept, but now I'm excited to see them used as a Realms staple.
2. I think for those who actively follow the D&D TRPG story arcs, the mark of the WotC team was certainly there, but the book tied the Rage of Demons plot into it's own ongoing arc really seamlessly, in a way that made sense for the Brimstone Angels stories. I can't say if it made the story better, because I have no idea what it would have been like without Grazz't showing up, but I definitely don't feel like it suffered in the slightest.
3. Team Dahl. Oooooh man, I'm super Team Dahl - have been ever since The Adversary. I mean, he's not perfect obviously, and he and Farideh have a LOT of issues to deal with (their respective deals with Lorcan notwithstanding), but by and large I feel like Dahl's muck-ups have been the results of trying to do the right thing for them, whereas Lorcan's concept of "the right thing for them" always defaults to "the right thing for Lorcan".
4. I won't be at GenCon unfortunately, but "Team Dahl" and "Team Lorcan" tees are a great idea!

message 40: by Merlin (new)

Merlin | 16 comments Well, aside from the whole love business - I love characters who give you the twitchy eye, who aren´t easy or quite impossible to pin down. Our current dm likes to throw this kind of character at us, that creates controversy in the group on whether you should befriend them, hand them over to the next loony bin or sneak away while they sleep...while creating the feeling things might just end in major tragedy, killing your beloved characters in a major bloodfest thus creating suspense. Makes for great gaming and great FR-reading.
And the cambion is just epic on so many levels - from epic douchebaggery to epic coolness. So even those of you who hate him right´re going to miss him when - no IF!- he bites the dust in the next book and you end up with a cambion-shaped hole in the forgotten realms, filled with boredom galore...:)

message 41: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Spinney | 2 comments Abuse was the wrong word, its more like a lack of understanding and compassion.

Farideh doesn't really understand what Lorcan is the way he is not because he's an asshole, but because 1. He grow up on hell under constant suffering and danger and abuse, he's known nothing, but victimization, fear, exploitation, and danger, and Farideh never once tried to put herself in Lorcan's shoes, never once asked herself what it must have been like to be raised literally in Hell, she just seems to use him for sex, or magic, which isn't abusive, but it feels like she's exploiting him, if she really loved him she'd try and understand what growing up in hell was like.

message 42: by Coffeedave (new)

Coffeedave | 17 comments A more humorous part of me kinda wants the arch to end with Farideh to say 'karshoj' to it all, dump Lorcan and the entire hells and switch to team 'Fey Warlocks' and get herself David Bowie as her parton. Tight white pants and all....or maybe the Fey lord formerly known as Prince.

message 43: by Micha (last edited Jan 20, 2016 11:15AM) (new)

Micha | 13 comments Team Readra. Yes. I would absolutely adore seeing more of her and the little Chosen of Shar, alongside Mira.

Honestly, I don't think there's any "understanding" Lorcan. Sure, he has a pitiful childhood growing up in the Hells with a fiendish mother. But that no more excuses his actions than it excuses any criminal in our world.

While I liked the cambion as an antagonistic character, there's no way I could see him as a "goodly" or even passibly neutral person. He represents that uncomfortable allies, the lesser of evils that you have to deal with in order to get things done.

I would never be able to support him as a love interest. He started off trying to kill Mehen in the very first book. You don't casually redeem yourserlf from that kind of attitude. He endured torture, not because of Farideh's or Havilar's sake, but his own; it would mean his death to speak. He emotionally manipulates people left and right.

Redeeming features? I have yet to see any. So what if he occasional pets the puppy instead of kicking it? All that means is he's not a sadist. Sure, he's done is fall in lust with Farideh, and because of some twisted logic, he's possessive enough that he wants to isolate her and lock her up and keep her all to himself. The only thing Lorcan will be good for is Lorcan.

message 44: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
I am fully expecting some FaRaedra fanfiction now. Maybe Brimstone Angels-Labyrinth crossover. ;)

Two more things that occurred to me about this book:

1. It's kind of a massive cliffhanger. The Rage of Demons storyline came down kind of late in the game. My original plan was to have a murder-mystery that led much more quickly to the battle with Gilgeam--which would have been resolved in this book. Dahl's storyline would have tied into the original story arc plan (which is still coming so I can't say what it is). In order to keep the two stories relatively synced in tone/content and do justice to the story arc, I had to focus more on the demon part. So...I'm not thrilled that big chunks of this story aren't resolved, but considering it's place as the penultimate book in the run, I guess I'm okay with it. :p

2. Alyona. I forgot Alyona finally appears in this book! I actually didn't get the idea for Alyona until Fire in the Blood, I think. I was writing the scene where Constancia turns the ghost of Bryseis Kakistos and the description was something about two voices twining together. I meant Brin's and Bryseis Kakistos's, but I thought, "Ugh. That sounds like he's got two ghosts in him."


It's one of those moments where you realize that subconsciously you've had this half-formed idea all along. Bryseis Kakistos has always had this kind of complicated nature in my mind, this faint ways she parallels Farideh. With that idea, it became clear how the pieces all fit together.

message 45: by Merlin (last edited Jan 21, 2016 05:25AM) (new)

Merlin | 16 comments Coffeedave wrote: "A more humorous part of me kinda wants the arch to end with Farideh to say 'karshoj' to it all, dump Lorcan and the entire hells and switch to team 'Fey Warlocks' and get herself David Bowie as her..."
Good grief, Ziggy Stardust now? Or Jared the cobold king...well, I could see Brin going for that option...the whole Torm thing doesn´t seem to float his goat really...;)

And Erin, it´s nice to know you´re okay with your cliffhanger...but I do feel it´s of course rather the readers who are suffering from them...;P I´m still mulling over all the ways things might turn out in the next book (that never happened to me with -any- other FR-book...).
But then maybe it´s a little painful for an author, too, to see readers speculate wildly, reading things so differently and reeling off in all kinds of different directions...
And interesting to know this was WotC´s fault (of course it was- damn them to the nine hells!).

Reading about Alyona felt like that, too - not surprising but more like: yes, of course crazy Bryseis also has a sister.

The others will have to do the fan-fiction. Me talks english too funny to write story. But wow, I´d love to do some fan art (would help with procrastinating on the deadlines I have hanging over my head, too). I see a scene with a fiery verbal dispute between Lorcan and lil Mot in front of a hellish background. Maybe once the deadlines go away (will they ever though...-.-) and I gift myself with that shiny new wacom cintiq.

message 46: by Micha (new)

Micha | 13 comments Hmmm..... so tempting to try my hand at.... anyone have any suggestions? Maybe start a new thread about what Team FaRaedra would involve?

message 47: by Coffeedave (new)

Coffeedave | 17 comments She would need to be hidden from the public as a Tiefling, if she wanted that. While she's not thrilled about it, it is something within the range of Warlock packs (at least in 5e).

message 48: by Micha (new)

Micha | 13 comments Would Lorcan teach her that magic is the question, though? Seems that, if he wanted to, he already would have given it to her. A perfect gift for blending in when she needed to. But... he hasn't. I think its deliberate on his part, and something I'd play up.

Actually, while we're on the topic.... I kind of wonder what Farideh's powers will be now? I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't we fully into 5e timeline now? At least at the end of this book? So that means that Farideh needs to translate to a 5e version of the warlock. I kind of wonder what form her magic would take, and what level she'd be at?

Her Pact Form is all over the place. While she doesn't have a familiar, she is a fair hand at summoning. She does have a ritual book, but its not from the Hells. She does practice with a blade, and I remember our esteemed author mentioning somewhere that she's definitely a bit like a Blade due to her pratice in these last two books.

I think its fair to assume that a wizard's ritual book feat for rituals. She knows ranged fire spells (hellish rebuke?), rain of brimstone (scorching ray?), she knows eldritch blasts ("bruised energy"), the volcano spell (flame pillar?), and the grasping-dead spell (refluffed Hunger of Hadar? Evard's Black Tentacles?). Oh, and teleports; can't get rid of her signature Misty Step. She can Conjure Fiend (which apparently doesn't exist as a spell yet) and cast Magic Circle as well, and then she knows Mending as a cantrip, as well as Comprehend Language as a ritual. Sending, as a spell, isn't a ritual anymore, and is rather cheaper to cast, but she still knows it. She should also know Thaumaturgy and Darkness. As an Invocation, she has the Shadow Step mage armor. Oh, and Shatter! Can't forget Shatter!

That's about a level 9 or 10 or so character, if we take Flame Strike and Conjure Fiend as the most powerful spells she has access to.

Hmmm... not sure where I went with this. I started off with wondering if she'd learn any illusions from Lorcan for hiding her tiefling form, and ended up talking about other stuff.

message 49: by Brandon (new)

Brandon Draga | 6 comments Micha wrote: "Would Lorcan teach her that magic is the question, though? Seems that, if he wanted to, he already would have given it to her. A perfect gift for blending in when she needed to. But... he hasn't. I..."

The interesting thing I think we're starting to see is just how much Farideh and Havilar aren't so much two sides of the same coin, but two mosaics that were created from different tile pieces that had all been combined. Both are so much their own unique character, but we see in each of them something that seems almost out of place, or more befitting of the other. In the case of Farideh's lack of a familiar, we have Havilar with two imps and a Nessian war hound at her beck and call. It brings to mind just how much Havi has progressively allowed Lorcan to be of assistance directly though her, rather than Fari, and how much more she's going to be willing to let him as time progresses.

message 50: by Coffeedave (new)

Coffeedave | 17 comments @Micha Wizards rolled up Farideh's character sheet when Fire in the Blood was released.
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