The war against the corelings continues in the third volume of Peter V. Brett’s the Demon Cycle, The Daylight War, albeit slowly. Much like the previous book, The Desert Spear, this adds new perspectives, fleshing out events from a different point of view will bringing a few threads to a violent head. Does this continue to build the moment or does it merely slow the main story down?
After the climactic battle that ended The Desert Spear, I tore into this, wanting to know what happened next. My drive was immediately hindered seeing the opening chapter following Inevera, starting with her as a young girl. I accepted this, as it started before she met Jardir. After tearing through this, getting to the meat of the story, I was exhilarating. In addition to the year and character symbol that started each chapter, a countdown of days until the next new moon was included, teasing the battle to come. Needless to say, I was excited.
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, for a time at least. In wasn’t until around halfway through the book until the flashbacks from Inevera were finished. While there was some hundred pages of Renna and Arlen mixed in early on, most of it was dedicated to flashbacks, with nary a word from Leesha, Rojer, and the rest. It was a tie between wanting the story to progress and waiting to pick up with other characters as to which was worse. Inevera’s story wasn’t bad, not in the least. Brett continued his masterful story telling, fleshing out another corner of this world and society, while adding more layers to previous events. Only, they were unnecessary.
Inevera served as a better character when her motivations were unknown. Making her sympathetic didn’t weaken her, as she was still menacing from other’s perspectives, but knowing her inner workings added little. Once she was caught up to present day, she was almost completely dropped. What was added could have been gleamed from Jardir or Abban. Reading her parts felt like needless padding, artificially extending the story. Again, her sections weren’t bad, but with so many other parts screaming for attention, it’s difficult not to be annoyed by these distractions.
As for the meat of the story, Brett delivered. The battle during the new moon from both sides (the Hollow and Everam’s bounty) were gripping. The extensions of Jardir’s and Arlen’s power, and the tactics of the Coreling Princes were both smartly done. Reading others sorrow at the lose of a character, though they were already known to the reader to be alive, choked me up despite myself. That is powerful writing.
The cliffhanger ended on a poor spot. A red herring, the ending exacerbated my frustration as it was an obvious feint, making me wonder why Brett ended there. Having read the first chapter (don’t click unless you want major spoilers) of the next book, The Skull Throne, I think this would have made a better ending, adding a little closure while setting the stage for what’s next. Much like how The Warded Man ended.
The Daylight War delivered (ha!). It exceeded my expectations, bringing exciting conflict along with new uses of wards and magic. While the flashbacks did little beyond slowing down the experience, this is still a wonderful read and a great series that I can’t wait to continue.
Did Inevera’s flashbacks bother you? Enjoy the new powers? Comment below!
I swear to god, if I have read about the same events again from someone else’s p.o.v…