Review: The Brimstone Deception by Lisa Shearin

Posted March 10, 2016 by Lucy D in Book Reviews, Urban Fantasy / 2 Comments

Review:  The Brimstone Deception by Lisa ShearinThe Brimstone Deception (SPI Files, #3) by Lisa Shearin, Johanna Parker
Series: SPI #3
Published by Audible Studios on January 26th 2016
Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Pages: 296
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Johanna Parker
Length: 9 hrs 5 min

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[box style=”rounded” border=”full”]This is my last SPI novel. It has lost the fun of the first novella and novel but never transitioned to a more serious urban fantasy. The whole series just flopped.[/box]

Makenna Fraser was a small town girl with a gift of seeing through glamours which hid the supernaturals from the humans that shared the city with them. When we started the series, there was a definite fish-out-of-water spin to the series. Not only was Makenna new to New York City but she was now exposed to even more supernaturals and some of those were the reason humans feared the night.

It is has been a year that Makenna has been here and part of SPI (Supernatural Protection and Investigation) and she no longer has the green of a small town girl, but she hasn’t progressed to a kick-ass agent either. That leaves us in the same dead zone as the last book, especially since this book takes up about 20 minutes after the last book ended. Even though it has been a year since the last book was released, we are expected to remember everything that happened “the day before.”

In this novel, someone has opened up a pit to Hell somewhere below Manhattan in order to use Brimstone for a drug. The humans who have been given a sample can suddenly read minds and see through glamours, leaving them screaming when they figure out that their boss is actually a vampire and their next door neighbor is a goblin.

SPI needs to find this pit and close it before the next full moon or the pit remains open and the demons from Hell can escape into our world and kill us all.  That sums it up and is about as exciting as the whole book gets.

While the introduction novella gave a scene with Makenna and her now partner, Ian, making out as a cover and getting a little too distracted by it, the author has been shying away from any romantic attachment between these two and Ian’s reaction to Makenna’s date is being given as the actions of her new “big brother.” That would be fine, especially considering that we also met sexy goblin Rake Danescu in that initial novella, who has been trying to seduce MaKenna through all the books. Except we had more sex appeal in the initial novella than now while he is taking her to dinner and working with SPI on their last two investigations. Even if she doesn’t trust the magically gifted and seductive Rake, since he wants to hire Makenna for her seer talents, there could be a lot more sexual tension between them while she tries to determine if she can trust him. So we have a change from our initial love interest and now a love interest with no sexual chemistry. I am not even certain she has kissed Rake in any of the stories.  Make the romance good or don’t put it in at all.

Not only has Ian taken a step back in the love interest department, he didn’t seem to be needed much in this book at all. It is hard to express how utterly uninteresting this entire story was and how I just continued listening in order to finish it and do a review and to debate how sucky the series has become with my friend.

One thing I did find irritating is the constant repetition of the author trying to get her points across, such as Makenna telling us often that she has never been able to see portals before, and she doesn’t think anyone else in her family ever has, and how she is in danger because people will want her for her portal seeing abilities. I can see portals.  I can see portals.  Now that I can see portals… Or goblins are beautiful. Goblins are attractive. Goblins are hot. (But apparently not hot enough to kiss.)

A better repetition would have been to remind us about the end of the last book since it might be why she suddenly can see portals.

After the first two stories, I thought I had a new light-hearted urban fantasy series to replace my lost Sophie Lawson (Underworld Detection Agency series by Hannah Jayne). Yet the second and third novels simply fizzled both in the characterization, the change of non-sexual tension filled love interest and the bland story plots.

I am definitely done with the SPI series.

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2 responses to “Review: The Brimstone Deception by Lisa Shearin

  1. Anne

    My sister and I liked this one more than the last. She thought it was better edited. I don’t expect or want much romance in my UF, I read plenty of romance in other genres so the backtracking here was fine with me. I didn’t really feel any real connection with either Ian or Rake and Mac in the previous books.

    I liked the story line with the gates of hell and all the action.

    Definitely not the strongest UF series I read, but I enjoyed it enough to check out the next one.

    • Lucy D

      Thanks for the feedback. 🙂 I love hearing differences of opinion.

      Since this series is no longer going with being a lighthearted UF, I would have liked more tension. It was like a normal PNR, you know that the main characters aren’t really going to be facing danger. If I am reading an Urban Fantasy, I want funny or I want dark and dangerous. If there is a love interest, give me tension or don’t bother. I found her attempt to switch over to dark to be a bit wishy-washy. Hopefully she brings more to the next story.