Most helpful positive review
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A must-read for fans of The Warded Man
on May 17, 2010
When I read The Warded Man last year it became one of my favourite books I'd ever read. It had everything I wanted and Peter V Brett told the story in such a way that I just couldn't put it down until I reached the last page. The sequel, The Desert Spear, became one of the top three books I was looking forward to this year, but when Subterranean Press announced The Great Bazaar I knew I had to have it. Fortunately I managed to get my order in and when it arrived I quickly managed to get over my fanboy giddiness and jumped straight into it. It was just what I needed to tie me over until The Desert Spear hit the shelves!
To make things clear, The Great Bazaar is a short novella, but also contained here are two deleted scenes from the novel along with an appendix of Krasian phrases and what they mean plus a section on the various wards in the world of the Demon Cycle. Because of this it's very difficult to go into too much detail without spoiling anything for those that haven't read it. However, here's a short bit about each of them:
The Great Bazaar
The highlight of this short book by far. It follows Arlen during his messenger days before he finds the old combat wards. It revolves around the Krasian city of the Desert Spear where Arlen once again meets up with Abban who provides him with details of a deserted Krasian settlement about a weeks journey from Krasia itself. Abban promises great finds here and specifies just what he could find, but not all is as easy as it seems and Arlen find himself caught off guard when he reaches the place Abban has told him about.
I really, really enjoyed this short story and thought it proved a very good foundation to head into The Desert Spear. Not only that, but seeing some more of a younger, pre-painted man Arlen was good. It also shows a little more of the relationship he has with Abban as well as a little more detail about the Krasian society. Loved it.
One deleted scene from The Warded Man is just a little more character development for Leesha, but it works well and, in my opinion at least, could easily have been present in the first book. The second is Brett's original opening chapter of The Painted Man, following Arlen as a child as he spends the day outside travelling as far as he dares from his home before turning around and returning before the fall of night. I think this scene was right to be cut from the final product as it's a little too different to fit in well.
The Krasian and Wards appendices are also a nice little touch, but ultimately they don't have the must-read factor of the main story present here. Worth seeing though and it makes up the pages in what could have been a too-short book.
I'm, as previously stated, a huge fan of The Warded Man, so my opinion of this will be biased. The Great Bazaar is worth reading and is a stand-out story that really hits the mark. It could also be seen as a good introduction the the series, although I would recommend reading The Warded Man first. My only disappointment is that it's such a short collection. The 'other stories' of the title is a little misleading as they are simply a couple of deleted scenes and I would have loved to see another couple of stories focusing on Arlen's messenger days here. Also, Brett's introductions and reasons why the scenes are a nice inclusion and add that little extra to the collection.
At the end of the day I came away full satisfied and as a fan of Brett's work I would recommend this in a heartbeat to other fans. It's worth the price and, as always with Subterranean Press' releases, it's a high quality book. Fans should check it out for sure.