The Demon Cycle is the best series your not reading. After a fantastic start in The Warded Man, The Desert Spear continues the story while fleshing out the world in the books. With more characters added, the story becomes denser, introducing some multiple perspectives that add to tale. Though there’s some backtracking, describing everything that ever happened to a character, the whole is still far better than anything to do with thrones.
The Desert Spear is some two hundred pages longer than The Warded Man, mostly due to the inclusion of Jardir. Now a character perspective, the first 25% of the book covers is back story, starting from his youth, the training he survived, and eventual rise to power. Breaks were laced throughout, switching between the present and past, as the Krasian’s sacked a city. Also, Renna Tanner, the girl Arlen kissed before leaving Tibbet’s Brook, is included. Now a full grown woman, she suffers that same fate as her sisters, at the hands of her father.
With the first book, all I wanted to read was Arlen. Whether from his perspective or those around him, he was such an interesting character, I couldn’t get enough. Often times I found myself pushing through chapters of Leesha and Rojer, hoping to return to him. While I enjoyed the other’s parts, his were far greater. That problem was multiplied here, as more protagonists were added. It took some time for me to warm up to Jardir. Initially, between the new vocabulary, and flock of characters I didn’t care for, it was a trial to read. The writing wasn’t poor, or uninteresting, just not what I wanted. Eventually, it did pick up, having me invest in him.
The biggest problem (again, relative phrase) was switching characters. Ending on somewhat of a cliffhanger, not knowing when the story will circle back, it was annoying. But that’s the mark of a good story, I wanted to read more. Though the scenes changed when I didn’t want them to, I was compelled to continue reading. One detractor though. Jardir has a long name. Somewhere around midway, the narration switched between calling him Jardir, and his first name, Ahmann. It had been so long since that name was used, I wasn’t sure who they were talking about.
While I eventually came around on the first half of the book, the last was entirely engrossing, with every character engaged. When a switch came, I was happy to get back to them. The final two parts were amazing, enthralling me. I can’t wait to dive into the next book, hoping to get some answers. However, judging by the sample chapter for The Daylight War at the end, another character will be added, taking the wind out of my sails a bit.
I read this digitally, which presented a few problems. I didn’t discover until the end that there was a glossary for all the Krasian terms. Would have helped earlier. Also, there’s a map. Not necessary, but with Kindles instance on starting you on chapter one, I didn’t discover it until the end.
The Desert Spear is a fantastic followup to The Warded Man. Though it was a bit slow, adding the new characters, the overall world building and events more than made up for the dry parts.
Did the first part slow you down? Think this Peter Brett will finish before George R. R. Martin? Comment below!
I hate finding images for books.