Pathfinder Tales: The Redemption Engine

****½ (based on 15 ratings)
Pathfinder Tales: The Redemption Engine
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Get Out of Hell Free

When murdered sinners fail to show up in Hell, it's up to Salim Ghadafar, an atheist warrior forced to solve problems for the goddess of death, to track down the missing souls. In order to do so, Salim will need to descend into the anarchic city of Kaer Maga, following a trail that ranges from Hell's iron cities to the gates of Heaven itself. Along the way, he'll be aided by a host of otherworldly creatures, a streetwise teenager, and two warriors of the mysterious Iridian Fold. But when the missing souls are the scum of the earth, and the victims devils themselves, can anyone really be trusted?

From acclaimed author James L. Sutter comes a sequel to Death's Heretic, ranked #3 on Barnes & Noble's Best Fantasy Releases of 2011!

400-page mass market paperback
ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-618-8
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-619-5

The Redemption Engine is also available as a digital edition on the following sites:

The Redemption Engine is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle sheet is available as a free download (359 KB zip/PDF).

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Tales Subscription.

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****½ (based on 15 ratings)

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Loved this book

*****

Having been a long-time reader of Forgotten Realms, I have recently delved into the world of Pathfinder. I enjoyed the first book in the Salim series, Death’s Heretic, and this one was even better. I love seeing the different planes, and the theological debates. Salim is a flawed but fascinating character. I’m not a religious person, but I don’t really understand the Rahadoumi (sp?) philosophy. Paying tribute to the gods doesn’t mean you have to be yoked to them. They would rather spend eternity in the atheist graveyard than in a true afterlife, all for the sake of pride? It doesn’t make sense to me, but it adds to Salim’s character. In The Redemption Engine, we see him continue to grow.

Aside from Salim, my favorite characters in this book would have to be Roshad and Bors. I loved the idea of the Iridian Fold, and the inclusivity of this book (I hope to read more like it). Their love for each other was palpable, and it was refreshing to see.

And of course, there were the angels. Being a fan of angels, I enjoyed seeing the Pathfinder’s take on them, and the idea of “redeemed devils” is something that comes into play in my own writing. Aruzethiel was an interesting character, and I wish he had been featured more prominently.

All in all, a great read, and I hope to read more about Salim’s adventures in the future.


****( )


Solid 5 Stars

*****

Sequels tend to disappoint. This story, however, bucks that trend. The basic setup at first appears to be the same as the first (souls are missing and and it is Salim's job to find what is happening), but it has a nice opening twist of Salim being in trouble because of how the previous book ended so someone else is being sent in to run a concurrent investigation. Like last time we go to the planes. Not the same planes as last time and where we go is a nice change. The descriptions of those planes are wonderfully done. Along we way we have a number of other twists that keep this story fresh and exciting while still feeling familiar. This story is a worthy sequel.

Unlike the last book, I was not able to figure out who was behind it until it was revealed. The details were all there but were nicely obscured. And the ending is one that I wish Joss Whedon would direct should a movie of this ever be made.

This book gets a hardy recommendation and a request for additional books by Sutter being written, whether about the character Salim or a new character.

I should add that it was nice that the author of this book set it in a location he detailed in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting (or Chronicles, as it was known at the time) line. He has far more intimate knowledge of the setting than anyone and he did an excellent job bringing it to life.


A Great Planar Whodoneit

****( )

A solid Salim story elevated to greatness by Sutter's loving depiction of Kaer Maga and the expanded lore of Golarion that he brings to the tale.


great read

*****

While I really wanted to like Death's Heretic, there were just too many niggling details that made doubt James Sutter's ability to write solid characters.

Any doubts I had about where he was taking Salim, the plot, and the character development have disappeared after reading the Redemption Engine. His handle on his characters has improved immensely from Death's Heretic and half the excitement from reading the "sequel" (in the sense that it continues Salim's journey) is in seeing how much tighter his characters get. Sutter continues Salim's path with more mystery, more quests for Pharasma, but this time Salim's strong, embittered opinions are countered by angels that needle him, undead that he really connects with, and friends that he comes to deeply appreciate. This book does so much to make Salim feel real and human, while still continuing Sutter's whirlwind quest to have the man visit every single plane of existence. A very exciting read and top tier in the Pathfinder Novels. A+, 5 stars, would rec to friends.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Interesting- I've only recently gotten more into Kaer Maga (and am still poring over the City of Strangers book I got in the mail a few weeks back).

I wonder if this novel is going to have anything to do with the Seal or the Godspool? (More likely the latter, though I'm very interested in the Seal and its Brotherhood myself.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Paths of Prestige (CS line) has a prestige class for the Brotherhood, IIRC.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just started reading this.

Also, I realized that Salim is Golarion's answer to Captain Jack Harkness.

Paizo Employee Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Ross Byers wrote:

Just started reading this.

Also, I realized that Salim is Golarion's answer to Captain Jack Harkness.

Sutter is one of the many (unfortunate) Paizo staffers who has yet to be indoctrinated into the ways of Who, so I doubt he even gets the reference. That said, I am in 100% agreement with your assessment.

Liberty's Edge

I'm pretty decently far into this novel. I do love it so far. I'll try and write a review after I am done.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Finished this over the weekend. More, James. Write moar!

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

2 people marked this as a favorite.

"Saranrae's burning bush!" Double entendre for the win.

Managing Editor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark Moreland wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:

Just started reading this.

Also, I realized that Salim is Golarion's answer to Captain Jack Harkness.

Sutter is one of the many (unfortunate) Paizo staffers who has yet to be indoctrinated into the ways of Who, so I doubt he even gets the reference. That said, I am in 100% agreement with your assessment.

While it's true that Erik and Mark haven't been able to drag me into Dr. Who yet (mainly due to lack of free time on my part), I've picked up just enough knowledge to be *extremely* flattered. :D

Managing Editor

Laschoni wrote:
I'm pretty decently far into this novel. I do love it so far. I'll try and write a review after I am done.

Yay, thank you! Reviews are really important!

Managing Editor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Matthew Morris wrote:
"Saranrae's burning bush!" Double entendre for the win.

I think that was the moment I first truly understood Roshad's voice. :D

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

3 people marked this as a favorite.
James Sutter wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:

Just started reading this.

Also, I realized that Salim is Golarion's answer to Captain Jack Harkness.

Sutter is one of the many (unfortunate) Paizo staffers who has yet to be indoctrinated into the ways of Who, so I doubt he even gets the reference. That said, I am in 100% agreement with your assessment.
While it's true that Erik and Mark haven't been able to drag me into Dr. Who yet (mainly due to lack of free time on my part), I've picked up just enough knowledge to be *extremely* flattered. :D

Long dark clothes, check.

Ageless/Deathless, check.
Charming, check.
Reluctant hero, check.
Inexplicably detailed knowledge of places and creatures outside the 'ordinary', check.
Heck, Salim is actually one-up on Captain Jack, because his vortex manipulator actually works.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.

On a more serious note:

Spoiler:
I think the rogue angels were drawing their remaining divine magic from Iomedae - They kept pointing out how if they were so bad the Gods would have pulled the plug, but they still had magic and would detect as Lawful Good.
Now, I don't mean to insist that Gods instantly react to heresy by pulling ht eplug: Death's Heretic demonstrated that aptly enough. Gods are vast, slow moving, and do 99.9999% of everything via intermediaries.
However, it was repeatedly pointed out how the Angels are immortal, and how they've been doing their thing since before mortals on Golarion mastered fire. In contrast, Iomedae, a very recent God on geologic/divine timescales, was invoked as one of their patrons. Iomedae doesn't have the same patience as the 'elder' LG gods like Torag and Erastil: she'd be kicking in Dreskari's door and battering down the gates of Hell if it was up to her. If any of the LG Gods secretly approved of the rogue angels, its her.

Managing Editor

Ross Byers wrote:

On a more serious note:

** spoiler omitted **

THAT is a serious spoiler warning, folks! Beware! :D

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

James Sutter wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:

On a more serious note:

** spoiler omitted **

THAT is a serious spoiler warning, folks! Beware! :D

I did put in in a spoiler tag.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ross Byers wrote:
James Sutter wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:

On a more serious note:

** spoiler omitted **

THAT is a serious spoiler warning, folks! Beware! :D
I did put in in a spoiler tag.

I believe that James was simply reasserting the very spoilery nature of your spoiler. At least that is what I took it to mean. Can't say for certain as I have not read it yet, the spoiler or the book. I am waiting until I have a little money to buy the book. I can't wait.

Managing Editor

Ross/Graywulfe--Yup. I just wanted to make sure everybody paid attention to your tag. ;)


I read the book or rather consumed it over the last two days and enjoyed it very much. The Pathfinder Tales line continues to provide enjoyable entertaining reads and I find that Salim is fast becoming one of my favorite characters. That being said I do hope he is (as appears to be the case) moving away from his "I must be alone" stance and accepts a few friends into his life on a more regular basis.

Liberty's Edge

I took a break from The Malazan Book of the Fallen and dove into this quite enthusiastically, just finishing it a few moments ago(took me a bit longer than I planned with the busy weekend with family, and with running Wrath of the Righteous). It is a really fun read. A worthy follow-up to Death's Heretic and a great adventure for Salim.

I was also thinking the same thing as Ross.

Managing Editor

Thanks, Mike and Laschoni! And also, if it's not imposing too much, might I nudge you to copy/paste those posts into reviews? People don't always read a product's threads, but they certainly look at the reviews and ratings. :D

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

To elaborate on my earlier spoiler

Seriously, don't open this if you haven't finished the book:
Angels have the Good subtype, so they will detect as Good even if they aren't. If the rogue angels 'fell' to LN, instead of LG, they'd still show up on detect good and not show up on detect evil. To any outside observer, their alignment hasn't changed.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I jammed through this book in about a day-and-a-half. Up until this point, Death's Heretic was vying for my favorite Pathfinder Tales novel (with a couple of Dave Gross's Radovan and Jeggare books up there with it). But, hands down, The Redemption Engine takes top prize now. The characterization of Salim picks up where it left off and expanded in new and interesting ways. And all the other characters he meets along the way have their own intriguing elements. Meanwhile, the mystery wrapped around the overarching story keeps you moving from chapter to chapter very easily. It's one of those books where you don't really want to pause or put it down. The story just keeps getting more and more interesting the further you get into it. Kudos to James! Really well done.


James Sutter wrote:
Thanks, Mike and Laschoni! And also, if it's not imposing too much, might I nudge you to copy/paste those posts into reviews? People don't always read a product's threads, but they certainly look at the reviews and ratings. :D

Done, although the computer won't seem to let me review as myself but no big whup. It's not because I didn't want to put my name on it. :)

Managing Editor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks, everyone! You folks are the best! :D


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Reviewed!

Originally posted on The Grassy Gnoll. Edited down for length when reposted here, with some spoiler tags added just in case.

For the even longer, and even more rambling full review, follow the link: Review - Pathfinder Tales: The Redemption Engine

My only complaint is that now I want more Salim. And it's less of a complaint and more of a request. As in "Please James, may we have some more Salim stories?"


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I really liked the book, more than Death's Heretic, specially because it shows us truly new places. My only issue is the ending for Roshad and Bors.

Spoiler:
It doesn't feel like it's the goal of the Iridian Fold (and from descriptions in the book, they were making good pace toward it), and I'd say Salim has the mojo to put Roshad in a new body, seeing as he isn't actually dead.

Managing Editor

Tinkergoth wrote:

Reviewed!

Originally posted on The Grassy Gnoll. Edited down for length when reposted here, with some spoiler tags added just in case.

For the even longer, and even more rambling full review, follow the link: Review - Pathfinder Tales: The Redemption Engine

My only complaint is that now I want more Salim. And it's less of a complaint and more of a request. As in "Please James, may we have some more Salim stories?"

Wow! I think that's the most thorough book review I've ever received. :) Thanks, Tinkergoth!

Managing Editor

Amaranthine Witch wrote:
I really liked the book, more than Death's Heretic, specially because it shows us truly new places. My only issue is the ending for Roshad and Bors. ** spoiler omitted **

Thanks, AW! And a fine point about Bors and Roshad...

Spoiler:

While it's definitely not the goal of the Iridian Fold, I like to think their... condition... is close enough that they'll be happy. And if not, maybe they really *will* call in a favor from Salim and company...


James Sutter wrote:
Tinkergoth wrote:

Reviewed!

Originally posted on The Grassy Gnoll. Edited down for length when reposted here, with some spoiler tags added just in case.

For the even longer, and even more rambling full review, follow the link: Review - Pathfinder Tales: The Redemption Engine

My only complaint is that now I want more Salim. And it's less of a complaint and more of a request. As in "Please James, may we have some more Salim stories?"

Wow! I think that's the most thorough book review I've ever received. :) Thanks, Tinkergoth!

No worries :)

I'm thinking I actually need to rework how I write those reviews... maybe do the summary at the start so it can be spoiler free if people want that, then do my thorough ramble through through characters and so on afterwards for those who don't mind the minor spoilers (I try to not give away anything majorly plot related, just the very early stuff that sets the story up, but still).

On another note, are you able to confirm or deny my theoretical scenario about how that tricksy t-rex James Jacobs tricks you into taking the time to write more Kaer Maga material? :P

Managing Editor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Tinkergoth wrote:


On another note, are you able to confirm or deny my theoretical scenario about how that tricksy t-rex James Jacobs tricks you into taking the time to write more Kaer Maga material? :P

The Redemption Engine was my own idea, but what you describe is almost *exactly* how I ended up writing Pathfinder #63: The Asylum Stone. :D

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

James, finished the book this morning and all i have to say is that I love it. Oh. And when is the third book out? 2015 right? :)


Anorak wrote:
James, finished the book this morning and all i have to say is that I love it. Oh. And when is the third book out? 2015 right? :)

2015? Far too late! He needs to strike while the iron's hot... I think we need to see another Salim book by year's end*

* Financial year of course. Surely James can crank out a top notch novel that continues the tradition that Death's Heretic and The Redemption Engine have established in less than 2 months**, then get it printed and shipped.

** That's how everyone works, right? After all, pressure makes diamonds... :P

Managing Editor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Anorak wrote:
James, finished the book this morning and all i have to say is that I love it. Oh. And when is the third book out? 2015 right? :)

*head asplode*

Thanks for the votes of confidences, dudes. :D


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

spoiler question for James:
So... what were Valeros, Merisiel, and Seoni doing in Kaer Maga? Is the novel perhaps set simultaneously with Seven Swords of Sin?


Kajehase wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Wait, did they show up? HOW DID I MISS THAT?! *Pulls out copy of book to re-read*


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Spoiler:
Check the bit where Salim leaves the Caydenite temple/drinking house and observes three other guests outside the building.


Spoiler:
Hah! Found it! Just as he's entering the tavern. Don't know how I missed that before.

Also entirely unsurprised that Valeros has gotten himself that wasted :P

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Spoiler:
The first time he visits the Common House? Do you have a page number?

Managing Editor

Spoiler:

I was wondering who would notice that. Both my editors breezed right past it. ;)


One of the disadvantages of being a speed reader is that I often miss little things like that on the first read. That said, one of the advantages is that I have little things like that to pick up on as I read books again and again :P

Anorak:

Spoiler:
Have a look at page 159


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

WANT. THIS. BOOK.

EDIT: (Totally not because a lawful good character of mine is planning something similar or anything. Nope. Not at all because of that.)

EDIT 2: The above may be a lie.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Spoiler:
Sarenrae's burning bush! I remember reading that thinking, "Nice detail on the citizens of the city!" but it never clicked it was the Iconics!

Thank's Tinkergoth!


The Strix are native to Arcadia?!

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

This is overall surely a really good book!
I enjoyed reading it and had a lot of fun.
Salim is really cool and his narrative pretty good.

However:

i think some other things could be done a bit better. The couple that is with Salim is a real good idea, as is the other couple there. They all seem a bit superficial though and the sudden narrative switch from Salim to them comes abrupt in my opinion. While the male couples background is better explained, the sweetsinger and the cleric of a certain drunken god seem just to be a sidework and overall all of them could use some more color.

Now i´m really spoiled by good literature and do compare most things i read to that, for example Game of Thrones is one of my favorites.
I would love to see that level of deepness and complexity in Golarion.
This is meant as a positive challenge and encouragement James Sutter^^

Managing Editor

Lloyd Jackson wrote:
The Strix are native to Arcadia?!

Yup! Check out the Inner Sea Bestiary. :D

Liberty's Edge

Very minor spoiler:
Caught the cameo at the beginning of chapter 11... Had to come here to verify that I'd read what I'd thought I'd read.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

In case my previous post is not so clear to understand:

Rather then having a lot of homosexual side characters appear in the novels i think it would be better to have the main character being homosexual or transgender.
Golarions Lore offers a lot of opportunities for that in my eyes.
From a storytelling point of view there are also many interesting opportunities. Someone who was reincarnated or cursed maybe? (Not that this would fit the real life perspective of course!)
It would also suit Paizo very well i think.
From the novels i read so far, most main heroes were male. Time for a heroine too!

And there is surely enough room to have all of that in a non-explicit way.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Hayato Ken wrote:


From the novels i read so far, most main heroes were male. Time for a heroine too!

Pathfinder Tales stories with a female protagonist:

Plague of Shadows and Stalking the Beast focus around Elyanna. (Stalking the Beast also has a female gunslinger portrayed as a primary character.)

Blood of the City's protagonist is Luma, a female half-elf urban druid.

Called to Darkness's protagonist is Kagur, a female kellid barbarian.

Skinwalkers' protagonist is Jendara, a female ex-cleric.

Dark Tapestry (the Legacy of Fire journal) is about a female (half-?)elf druid.

Guilty Blood (the Carrion Crown Journal) also has a female lead.

Light of a Distant Star (the Shattered Star Journal) has a female lead.

The Treasure of Far Thallai (the Skull and Shackles Journal) has a female lead.

I might have missed a few.

I'm only including novels here where the driving character was female. We can get quite a few more when we realize that Pathfinder Tales books often follow the 'adventuring party' model, leading to strong female characters that, while maybe not the protagonist, are co-protagonist, or at least more than 'supporting'.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Haha thanks for the prompt answer!
I read a lot, but none of those so far.
On the list now! I surely welcome different perpectives in that sense.
That´s why i think it could be very interesting to read a novel written from the perspective of a non-standard character.

A female not straight halfling in Cheliax could be an example.

Contributor

Finished this book last night (why yes, I am catching up on my Tales reading) and ahahahahaa that was great.

I kind of just want to watch Salim tour all the weirdest parts of the cosmos now. He doesn't even have to do anything. I'd happily just watch him wander around needling ultra-powerful outsiders and wisecracking at the local scenery.

A little more seriously: this is a great book. Really well-written, the central mystery was compelling and solidly anchored in the world, the characters were tons of fun, and the distinctly alien voices of the various inhumans were colorfully and convincingly rendered.

Can't wait to see what's next. :)

Managing Editor

Liane Merciel wrote:


I kind of just want to watch Salim tour all the weirdest parts of the cosmos now. He doesn't even have to do anything. I'd happily just watch him wander around needling ultra-powerful outsiders and wisecracking at the local scenery.

Honestly, I feel the same way. Who needs plot when you can just take folks on a sightseeing cruise? :)

Thanks so much, Liane!

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