As my favorite mug reminds me every morning, “So Many Books, So Little Time!” Here’s the next installment in my, “Books Off the Shelf” series—a grouping of some short book reviews on books quite literally off my bookshelves—books I’ve read or listened to. I will attempt to give you an idea on some books you might enjoy or not enjoy quite as much without ruining it with too many spoilers.
The Warded Man: Book One of The Demon Cycle
by Peter V. Brett
Rating 9 out of 10
As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.
In The Warded Man, Brett offers a delightfully imaginative world of demons and magic. As the human race cowers behind wards that fail if they are marred or allowed to fade, demon corelings have free rein in the world. It is with this background that we meet, Arlen, a boy with a gift for warding in search of ancient, lost wards that could allow humankind to go on the offensive, Leesha, a pretty girl who is mastering the art of herb gathering and caring for the sick, and Roger, a young jongleur, whose ability with a fiddle has an interesting effect on the corelings. Each of these three, wades through terror and destruction, finding their own way to fight back against the demons.
This is a fantastic story of loss, struggle, and resolution. The magic system is truly unique when compared to many other fantasy novels. More than that, Brett paints for us characters we can fall in love with, blemishes and all.
The Warded Man is the first book in Brett’s The Demon Cycle, a series that is reported to be five books total with a smattering of novellas mixed in. The first four books are available, the most recent being The Skull Throne, which was released at the end of March. I’ve read the first three and The Skull Throne is definitely on my list to get to. With Brett’s ability as a writer it’s hard to go wrong picking up one of his books.
If you’re in the mood for a well written book that will start you down a fantastical path of exploration, twists and turns, your need to pick up a copy of The Warded Man.
If you’ve read The Warded Man or any of Brett’s other work, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a message below. And as ever, if you have suggestions of books to review, please let me know. If it is Science Fiction or especially Fantasy, there is a good chance it is on my shelf or should be.
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Ryan J. Doughan