Published: 1st March 2011 by HarperVoyager
Format: Paperback, 638 pages
Goodreads ● Booktopia
The sun is setting on humanity.
The night now belongs to voracious demons that prey upon a dwindling population forced to cower behind half-forgotten symbols of power. Legends tell of a Deliverer: a general who once bound all mankind into a single force that defeated the demons. But is the return of the Deliverer just another myth? Perhaps not.
Out of the desert rides Ahmann Jardir, who has forged the desert tribes into a demon-killing army. He has proclaimed himself Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer, and he carries ancient weapons—a spear and a crown—that give credence to his claim. But the Northerners claim their own Deliverer: the Warded Man, a dark, forbidding figure. Once, the Shar’Dama Ka and the Warded Man were friends. Now they are fierce adversaries.
Yet as old allegiances are tested and fresh alliances forged, all are unaware of the appearance of a new breed of demon, more intelligent—and deadly—than any that have come before.
Peter V. Brett said he has no problem with this review appearing in fuchsia. So, here it is, in all its pink glory.
Why has it taken me so long to read the second instalment of The Demon Cycle? I loved The Painted Man, I ended it eager to start reading about Arlen, Leesha and Rojer again. In one word: life. I knew I would love this, I wanted to dedicate a lot of time to the 600 page epic, and that meant waiting. I also really wanted to have the third book, The Daylight War, in my hot little hands before I started. Knowing how high-and-dry the first book had left me, I was taking no chances with the sequel.
The Desert Spear doesn’t disappoint. It sucks you right back into the exquisite world that Brett has created: the wards, the demons, the fight for succour, the desert people of Krasia. Populated by humans of every kind, from the pious to the scum, and everything in between, this world is, creepily enough, one of my favourite places to be in. The author adds to the cleverly crafted realm by adding the perspective of a demon prince, and allowing us a behind the silk curtains in the Krasian way of life. We might not always like what we see, but it adds a dimensionality to the world that few authors can achieve so seamlessly.
The thing that’s missing from this book is the crippling fear of demons that permeated the first book. Glimpses into the demon prince’s mind have little to do with this (in fact, what little I gleaned about demonic social structures and thought process inspired fear and awe). Demons are no longer creatures to be feared – with the fighting wards, warded weapons, cloaks that hide one from demon’s eyes – and become a passing nuisance while the Warded Man journeys across the country-side. It’s a bit disappointing, but it does allow for a lot of character development and the expansion of the world, so I can’t really resent it.
Things I didn’t like? I could point out that the way the Krasian’s treated their women made me nauseous, but there were – and are – cultures like that a-plenty in our world so I’d feel silly bringing it up. One thing I loved is the way that the women in this culture – lower than the lowliest man – grasped and controlled power. A society that condones the rape and killing of its weakest members (male and female alike), gives an interesting amount of private power to women, however oppressed they are in public. It’s an interesting dynamic, and the more I found out about it, the more I wanted to know.
You want to read this book, you want to devour this series, you just might not know it yet! Dynamic characters, exquisite world-building, and the masterful story-telling skills of Brett combine to make The Desert Spear just as compelling, just as exceptional as The Painted Man.