When my older son was around 2 or 3, he realized those hours of the day where we weren’t playing with him weren’t due to our not understanding that he wanted to play, but because we had jobs.
“What you even do?” he demanded. Daddy, it was decided “fixed computers.” And Momma wrote books. Which books? These books–these novels we have piles of copies of with the horned lady on the cover, Farideh. My series, the Brimstone Angels Saga, was onto its third title by then, and would finish out last year with number six.
Tiny Mr. I, enthralled by books, was delighted to hear all of this. “Let’s weed Fweeda!”
Ooh. Let’s not. Grown-up books. You can read them when you’re older (Except maybe don’t read them when you’re older. That feels weird….We’ll cross that bridge later.)
That did not satisfy him. Of course it did not satisfy him. Did I mention he was 2 or 3? He pestered and pestered and pestered me. I mean, by this point he was entranced by Farideh. He’d find her at the book store. He’d attempt to potty train my copy of The Adversary along with his stuffed octopus. He’d insist on adding her to songs listing people we knew–the Farideh on the bus goes zap, zap, zap! And always, always “Momma, what is this? What you even do?”
It’s an innocent enough question, really, and while I was never going to read my pretty violent, sometimes sexy, entirely complex and inappropriate for a toddler fantasy series to my son…I was willing to give him a Cliff Notes versions. The not-scary, not-sexy, avoid-all-the-nightmare-fuel-because-I-want-you-to-sleep-omg versions.
Rejected at birth and raised in a village of tiefling misfits, Farideh expects a life without friends, love, or control over her destiny. Then she makes a pact with a devil named Lorcan, and everything changes.
Lorcan promises all she ever dreamed of and asks for nothing in return. Her twin sister Havilar urges Farideh to resist the devil’s sway. But Farideh’s not so sure. Lorcan may be dangerous but the power he offers is exhilarating.
In the ruins of Neverwinter, Farideh’s doubts get tangled up in a devilish snare six layers deep. A succubus playing human pawns against an otherworldly foe sees the twins as obstacles in her path. And Lorcan’s monstrous sisters have their eyes on the city—and on Farideh. There’s no time to question her pact with Lorcan—it will take every ounce of Farideh’s newfound powers to get out of Neverwinter alive.
Tiny Mr. I’s Version: Uh….okay, no cultists, no devils, uh…One time Farideh and her friend, Brin, were walking through the forest and suddenly there was an owlbear chasing them. Oh no! They ran and ran, and then they jumped into a ravine—but with magic, so it was safe. Don’t jump off high places. Then they walked and they…got out. And everyone was…mostly glad to see them. The end [of that chapter].
Mere weeks after escaping Neverwinter, Farideh’s dreams are still haunted by Lorcan, the cambion devil whose power fuels her own. One of only four known descendants of the original Brimstone Angel, Farideh has no regrets about the pact she made with the devil. But no one in the Hells knows that she has a twin—an impulsive eager sister, just waiting to be corrupted. At least as long as Lorcan can keep her secret.
Determined to protect her sister, Farideh searches for a ritual that could call Lorcan out of
the Hells. But in the midst of her hunt, she’s drawn into an assignment for the secret society the Harpers, an assignment which leads her and a ragtag group of allies to an ancient Netherese library deep underground. While the group combs the site, dodging ghosts and magical traps, Farideh discovers a magical book whose pronouncements throw into question everything she thought she knew about herself and her sister.
The more the Book gives up its macabre secrets, the more one thing becomes clear—a traitor lurks among them.
Tiny Mr. I version: In this book…Farideh and her friends go to the library! And they…meet a book that can talk. And it helps them find the things they need—it’s like a librarian. Kinda. Also they fight a hydra in there. It was blocking the library.
In the 3rd book of the multi-author Sundering series, the award-winning Erin M. Evans throws her signature character Farideh into a maelstrom of devilish politics and magical intrigue. Captured by Netherese agents and locked away in a prison camp, Farideh quickly discovers her fellow prisoners are not simply enemies of Netheril, but people known as Chosen who possess hidden powers, powers that Netheril is eager to exploit—or destroy.
As Farideh’s friends and sister race across the landscape on a desperate rescue mission, Farideh is drawn deeper into the mystery of the Netherese plot alongside two undercover Harper agents. But will her closest ally turn out to be an adversary from her past?
Tiny Mr I Version: It…hmm…uh…Farideh and her friend Dahl get taken by… I mean, they go to try to help some people who are stuck in a…place. It’s like…They are in time out, but it’s not a consequence. And they aren’t being let out. And there’s a bad guy being naughty. There’s a couple of bad guys being naughty…Hmmm…
Okay, in this book, Farideh and Dahl explore tunnels together. And she gets to play cards.
In a direct follow-up to her third book in the Sundering series, The Adversary, Erin M. Evans throws her signature character Farideh into the midst of a battle for the throne of Cormyr. As the war brought on by the Sundering rages across Faerun, princes and princesses, wizards and rogues scheme to capture the seat of power of the Land of the Purple Dragon—with Farideh and her allies caught squarely in the middle.
Tiny Mr. I version: Okay, not war, not missing parents, not plague, not shadow monsters…This is a complicated book! Maybe it’s just a grown up thing. No? Okay…Farideh and her friend Dahl go to…restaurants and look for bad guys. Because…bad guys also need to eat. They are people. People are complicated. Like this book. No, the waiter isn’t a bad guy. Hey, guess what? Havilar gets a puppy!
Following her fourth book in the Brimstone Angels series, Fire in the Blood, Erin M. Evans thrusts her signature character Farideh into a fast-paced murder mystery rife with political intrigue.
In the wake of the war brought on by the Sundering, Farideh’s adopted father Mehen has been called back by the clan that cast him out, and Farideh and Havilar mean to go with him.
Just as Mehen confronts the head of his former clan, a clutch of young dragonborn is found in the catacombs, brutally murdered, an infernal summoning circle that looks all-too-familiar to Farideh, nearby.
Tiny Mr. I version: Farideh goes to visit her daddy’s family. Yes, like seeing Poppy and Gigi. Kinda.
In the long-awaited finale of her riveting Brimstone Angels series, Erin M. Evans thrusts her signature character Farideh into an epic battle of good versus evil, rife with deception and intrigue, where the question is as much who is evil, as how they can be defeated. The stakes have never been higher, and the fallout will shake the Hells, and through them, the Forgotten Realms.
Before Farideh took a devil’s pact, before she was Chosen by the god-king of the Hells, before any of this started, there was Bryseis Kakistos, the original Brimstone Angel, first of Farideh’s line. Now, at the end, there is also Bryseis Kakistos—but this time, instead of helping the king of the Hells achieve godhood, she’s going to kill him. All she needs is a little help from Farideh—which she should, by all accounts, be happy to give. After all, who could object to killing the king of the Hells? Except, it turns out, Farideh. Because as always, things are far more complicated than they seem.
Tiny Mr I: Uhhhhhh…Farideh has a problem and it’s really tough to solve, because she doesn’t know who is telling her the truth, and who is going to be nice to her. But she does her best because…if she doesn’t…the world…will have problems…She does tell her mommy actually. It doesn’t…This is an example of a problem you have to work out on your own.
How would you explain your book to a curious preschooler?