by: Peter V. Brett
Del Ray Books New York, NY 2013
I reviewed the first book of the Demon Series The Warded Man. The second I found typical of a mid-trilogy novel. It was important, kept the story moving, gave deeper insight into the characters but didn’t provide me with a new theme. There was, however a dramatic ending continuing the sense that these novels would stand alone.
My biggest disappointment with this third book is that it’s not the end. Not only is this not the trilogy I’d signed up for, the ending of this book is a cliff hanger. Literally, there’s a cliff and the reader is left hanging at the edge of it, with night coming on and the Demons rising.
Having said that I understand the need for this expansion. This third book is largely set in the desert culture. This is not something most Americans have a lot of experience with. To appreciate these people and understand their motivations, rather than assuming them the villains of the tale takes a certain amount of time and patience. This is not the culture I know, but it is a full and rich one. Successful in its own right, even though I may object to many of its practices.
This is also the book where the two cultures come into conflict. The desert people are on the move, expanding against the demon invasions. The farm people, where our main characters originate, can’t hold off against the armies. The ruling class, which we visited in the second book, doesn’t really get involved until they feel directly threatened. It’s interesting to note that the threat they feel most strongly is from the warded man not from the leader of the desert tribes.
Only one man can unite the people against the demons, the Deliverer. Thus is the prophecy interpreted, in both cultures. Arlen, the warded man, fights against this notion. He advocates for the people rising to deliver themselves. Ahmann, Lord of the Desert tribes, may question his worthiness but recognizes the omens pointing to him.
Arlen and Ahmann are zahven. They are brothers, counterparts, rivals, nemeses. They are certainly reflections of each other and it seems that either has the potential to become the Deliverer. As we learn in the story both have their strengths and their character faults. They have approached the problem of the demons from different vantage points and found differing tactics.
Now I have to wait for an indeterminate amount of time before I can read the end of the story. How do the people defeat the demons and who will become the Deliverer?