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.
If you would like to be the first to hear about other great books, feel free to sign up on the right. I’m also giving away the first two chapters of, my debut novel, MIST FALCON BOOK ONE OF THE WARRIOR POET ARCHIVES. So, click over on the right, and I’ll send those your way.
Here’s the next installment in my, “Books Off the Shelf” series. So Many Books, So Little Time! 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.
I’m also trying to give the books a one to ten rating with ten being amazingly the best (or let’s be honest one of the best) books I have ever read and you need to go home sick to buy and read this book without delay and a one being please don’t bother even looking at the cover of this drivel.
Shadow Ops: Control Point (Shadow Ops series Book 1)
Rating 6 out of 10
Army Officer. Fugitive. Sorcerer.
Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with magical talents. Untrained and panicked, they summon storms, raise the dead, and set everything they touch ablaze.
Army officer Oscar Britton sees the worst of it. A lieutenant attached to the military's Supernatural Operations Corps, his mission is to bring order to a world gone mad. Then he abruptly manifests a rare and prohibited magical power, transforming him overnight from government agent to public enemy number one.
The SOC knows how to handle this kind of situation: hunt him down--and take him out. Driven into an underground shadow world, Britton is about to learn that magic has changed all the rules he's ever known, and that his life isn't the only thing he's fighting for.
So, if you’re keeping track of my Books Off the Shelf posts, you’ll note that most of them receive fairly high marks on the 1-10 rating. (We’re talking a good number of 8-10’s.) I’m only giving Shadow Ops: Control Point a 6 and I’ll get to why in a min.
First, let’s talk about what I liked. Cole, actually does a lot of things right in this book. He gives us a well imagined world, and interesting plot, and creative take on a magic system. More than that, he recognizes that, with magic, our society would have some very real shifts in our thinking and way of life.
“So,” you may ask, “what’s the problem? This seems to be shaping up to be a good read.” The problem comes in the form of the characters. It’s not that they are unbelievable exactly, but more that they are un-relatable—I never care that much what happens to them one way or the other. Our primary POV character, Oscar, never truly solidifies what he thinks, believes in, or is fighting toward. We don’t know what he wants, so we really can’t cheer for him to achieve it. Oscar is more or less just swept along the currents offering little more than a wishy-washy, back and forth attitude toward the military, his magic, and his lot in life. On top of that the supporting cast seems to pendulum swing between being likable and being the root of all evil. It was hard to emotionally attach to anything in the fictional world.
I don’t mean for that to be overly harsh. As I said, there are a lot of positive aspects to Shadow Op: Control Point. It’s not a bad book. At the same time, and as ever, there are so many books and so little time. If I was going to steer you toward a book choice, this might not be the first book I brought up.
That being said, I’m always up for second chances. If you’ve read any of Cole’s other work, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do I need to give him another shot? Was there a book of his that you just loved? 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 Fantasy, there is a good chance it is on my shelf or should be.
If you would like to be the first to hear about other great books, feel free to sign up on the right. I’ll also be sending out some free giveaways for my upcoming novel, MIST FALCON. I would love to send them your way, so do me a favor and sign up.
Ryan J. Doughan