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148 of 166 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new classic
Not since Mistborn have I been so captivated by a story and charmed by its setting. The Warded Man is an impressive debut and probably my favorite book of 2009 in any genre. If Peter Brett continues to write this way, he will need to clear space on his mantle for awards.

The Warded Man is about Arlen, a villager who must survive in a grim fantasy world ravaged...
Published on June 26, 2009 by Rich Gubitosi

versus
100 of 110 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars review 164 :)
With so many reviews typed up, I'm not sure that mine will be even read - and I normally don't write reviews at all, but this book was something else. I loved it for the first 2/3's of the book, and like other readers I wanted to give it a 5 star up to that point and I was probably driving my family crazy by talking about it too.

Pro's
- I love how the...
Published on June 9, 2011 by Sarah Almahdali


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100 of 110 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars review 164 :), June 9, 2011
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This review is from: The Warded Man: Book One of The Demon Cycle (Mass Market Paperback)
With so many reviews typed up, I'm not sure that mine will be even read - and I normally don't write reviews at all, but this book was something else. I loved it for the first 2/3's of the book, and like other readers I wanted to give it a 5 star up to that point and I was probably driving my family crazy by talking about it too.

Pro's
- I love how the book was put together for the most part. There are three very different main characters that the author shares with the readers. And we get to see how they all grow up and how they develop.
- The writing style was really neat. Brett brought in so many different cultures, ideas, topics and perspectives with enough detail that readers could appreciate and understand them all, but not too much detail that readers got lost in the background.
- The plot (for the first 2/3's) was AMAZING!

Con's
- The last 1/3 of the the book - the characters that the author had spent most of the book developing did a 90 degree flip if not a 180. You didn't recognize the characters that you grew to love
- Almost every scene where there was a woman, sex or child bearing was the topic of conversation. Brett made it seem like a woman's only interest/purpose was creating babies or making men happy. I totally get why (in a world where human population is decreasing, you want to have more children) but, really, there is no point in kicking a dead horse.
- Leesha - one of the main characters. (SPOILER) She really emphasized the above point and I don't like how she "saved" herself for 27 years, then completely falls in love the another character, and gives herself to him, at the end of the story after having met him for all of 1 week. Her character was honestly really unrealistic. At the beginning of the story she was bearable, but in the last 1/3 I read through her portions as fast as possible.

As you can see from the lengths of the pro's and con's, sadly, I could not give this book that 5 stars that the first part deserves. I would recommend it if you need a change of story, b/c it really is an intriguing idea. But I just want you to take this note as a warning about the last part of the story.
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148 of 166 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new classic, June 26, 2009
This review is from: The Warded Man (Hardcover)
Not since Mistborn have I been so captivated by a story and charmed by its setting. The Warded Man is an impressive debut and probably my favorite book of 2009 in any genre. If Peter Brett continues to write this way, he will need to clear space on his mantle for awards.

The Warded Man is about Arlen, a villager who must survive in a grim fantasy world ravaged by demons at night. His character arc propels the narrative once he realizes that survival is not enough. Two other characters eventually join him in his exploits against the demons: Rojer and Leesha. I like how they are regular people--too many fantasies deal with long-lost princes, wizards, queens, and knights. The best thing I can say about the three main characters is that I cared about them. Since the author takes his time developing them from children to adults, you almos feel like you are growing up alongside them. When they suffer, you will cringe, but when they excel, you will cheer.

The author's depiction of village age is authentic and folksy. Everything feels right--the gossip, the neighborliness, the barter, the sense of feeling apart from the other villages and cities. The world is dangerous, and not everyone gets along, but people set aside their differences when the demons strike. Later in the novel, the author describes city life just as well as village life, especially once Arlen reaches Krasia, a hub of a warrior society with Arabic influences.

The novel packs action, adventure, romance, and substance. I like how it considers the nature of heroism, the futility of passivity, and even the plight of women. The scenes of combat between man and demon are gratifying, and the one romantic scene is heady with tenderness and passion. The author has a pleasing, crisp, lively style that serves the story and does not overwhelm it.

Like many fantasies, The Warded Man ends with a teaser for the next book. For once, I am glad that a book does not end conclusively. I am counting days until Brett's next book. If you only read one fantasy in 2009, The Warded Man is the one to read.
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152 of 199 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Predictable Stuff., May 6, 2010
This review is from: The Warded Man: Book One of The Demon Cycle (Mass Market Paperback)
The Warded man is another hero's journey of a boy who is thrust from the womb of his home and into the terrible reality he lives. This novel follows Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer, each following similar coming-of-age arcs, jumping years, until they finally converge near the end of the book. Structure is good, but you must stray from it to keep things interesting. The story almost turns into Dune while Arlen is in the desert, but thankfully Brett decided to stop there, and instead give Arlen a Edmund Dantes-esque return as the titular Warded Man. There are some funny bits, some sweet revelations of the good in the hearts of some lowly characters and the action was often bloody and thrilling, but overall the inner story of the characters was flimsy, and Arlen essentially becomes the Batman of his world.

Brett's prose would have gotten me flayed in school, he almost entirely tells instead of shows, often repeating the obvious multiple times in the same paragraph, then having the dialog repeat it again, never allowing for subtext. He bashes the reader over the head with the apparent, yet neglects details like describing what the demons actually look like until quite a few chapters after they appear. The world that he created feels more like a rough sketch, which would work with a cast of strong and complex characters, but those are missing here.

Another odd and bothersome aspect of this book is the constant examples of rape, incest, and molestation that permeate the story. About every other chapter has the characters in some conflict with sexual predators, or their own juvenile sexual issues. Particularly Leesha, who in the story is so beautiful that she turns any man alone with her into a drooling rapist. Well written, this may have lent itself to the complexity of the story, but it was not well done. This aspect was clumsy, predicable, and left me cringing more than once, and actually less interested in the character's fates. By the end, it felt like a heavy handed attempt to shape Leesha's and the others characters, but failed to do so.

Certainly not the worst fantasy you could pick up, but if you want a well done, gritty, fantasy, check out Joe Abercrombie and the First Law series. Or just a great, original fantasy book, try The Name of Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and see how it's done.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Meh... not impressed, January 13, 2012
This review is from: The Warded Man: Book One of The Demon Cycle (Mass Market Paperback)
I seem to only write reviews for mediocre books that I slightly enjoy reading, but am a little ashamed for enjoying, even a little. Maybe because I get so frustrated when authors have an interesting story to tell, but they screw it up so royally that it just leaves me feeling empty. And angry. Really f-ing angry. Prepare for spoilers right now, because I wont warn you later. In full disclosure, I have read the first 2 of this series, so my opinion is slightly clouded by the second book.

If you like "authors" like Joe Abercrombie, then you'll probably love this ridiculous book.

You know the plot: monsters infest the earth and eat people at night, poor people believe some ridiculous religious prophesy of a savior, an unlikely hero who doesn't want to be responsible for other people and only wants to be left alone, yadda yadda. Fine.

It wasn't very well written, but I liked the premise. As always with these kinds of books, they most certainly do not pass the Bechdel test. I mean, why even have women in the books at all? I would rather read a sausage fest book than read one where the women are all strong and independent until an attractive man shows up, and then they turn into idiots. Seriously, a woman gets gang-raped, then a few days later she is trying to have sex with another man she hardly knows? It gets even better in Book 2, when that same woman's mother tells her she's happy the daughter was gang-raped because at least she finally lost her virginity and wouldn't be a spinster for the rest of her life! Then they hugged it out, bro! Or, my absolute favorite part, when the women who was gang-raped says she "wet her fingers" to moisten her lady bits right before she was raped to make sure it didn't hurt as much!

WHAT THE HELL???

The best parts of the book were the parts about Arlen. They were, in fact, the only parts of the book that were both WORTH READING and actually advanced the plot. The main woman character (so unremarkable I can't even remember her name after 2 books full of her simpering, although I remember her master Bruna, who was written VERY well. But that's, of course, because Bruna wasn't a SEXUAL character and could therefore have a role in the book that didn't involve having sex, thinking about sex, being the object of sexual desire, or being raped, being fearful of rape, thinking about rape, raping, or, hey!, sex again) in the books could have been completely eliminated and the story wouldn't have changed. The boy, Rojer, was another simpering, spineless character with no personality. What was the point?

It's like Brett only developed these characters AFTER the book was finished. Like, someone said "Hey! Remember that part of the book where you were trying to show us how sexy Arlen was, bro, and he met those strangers in the woods and had sex with the hot girl? Write a back story for the strangers, bro! That will make the book twice as long, and add a lady character FO' DA B----S!!!!!"

/eyeroll

What I thought would be a brief break in the story turned into page after page of misogyny, whining and unbelievable dialog. Has Brett never heard two women speak to each other before? Surely he is aware that all women's conversations don't devolve into the topic of men and sex EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. There are SO MANY books out there that just DON'T include women or romance, and they are perfectly FINE to read. I love fantasy books with strong lady characters as much as the next nerd, but I'd rather the book be WITHOUT women at all if they are going to SUCK. If you can't do a character/gender/age/race/species/toaster/banana well, then DON'T DO THEM AT ALL. Brett should have left women completely out of the story, except to serve as maids and wenches. I would have LOVED these books then. By the final third of the first book, I was rolling my eyes and sighing heavily every other page. The second quarter of the second book was just as bad.

And it's not just that the portrayal of the women in the story was disgusting and misogynistic (it was). It was that their role added NOTHING of value to the book, didn't move the story forward a single iota, and just forced me to read an extra 200 pages hoping that something interesting would happen (it didn't). I had to force myself to finish the last 100 pages.

Arlen... was the best part of the books. Especially after the Shar'dama Ka (or however you spell or say it) tried to kill him and he BECAME the "Warded Man". That whole story-line I thought was pretty cool and I couldn't read fast enough! Brett had a rough time writing Arlen as a child and he should have stopped and reevaluated his decision to write a 'coming of age' story about a little boy if he couldn't, in fact, write from a little boy's POV. He tried to make him out to be this wholesome kid who wanted to protect his family, but it made NO SENSE that he spoke to his father with disdain instead of a boy of like, 9 or whatever. Brett tried really hard to make this into the story of like, how one becomes a superhero/supervillain or whatever, but instead Arlen seemed kind of... whiny and super ungrateful. I get that we needed to see what a coward his father was, but why was Arlen so disdainful of his father out of the blue?

The first third or quarter of book 2 wasn't bed. Then that same woman (WHY can't I remember her name??) was brought back into the story, and Rojer, and it all just went downhill from there. I HATE the spelling of names in these books, BTW. The books would have been SO MUCH BETTER if they'd just gone back and forth between Arlen and Jardir, instead of adding in the girl and Rojer, who totally weakened the story even further. They're the only two characters who matter, and everyone else is just filler so Brett can make his page quota. I would rather have read 250 pages of Arlen than 480 pages of BS. This could have been a fast, fun read for the train-ride home.

Will I read the 3rd and 4th books? I don't know yet. Brett is a decent writer, the story is super interesting, the magic is not your standard fare, and the world is suitably creepy and dark. But there is SO MUCH crap added to the books that has no value and completely wastes my time and interest that I feel Brett doesn't respect me as a reader and paying consumer. (Ugh, and his arrogance! Did you read his interview at the end of the book? I felt soiled afterwards and had to wash my hands and face.) The 2nd book goes into way too much detail of demon-fighting, as well. Like, I get it the first time, he's like a freakin' samurai or kung-fu master. I. GET. IT. Don't keep hammering me over the head with the same descriptive fight details for like, 5 pages. ENOUGH.

Would I recommend this book? Only to fantasy newbies.
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62 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rousing Fantasy Debut, March 10, 2009
By 
N. Bilmes "bookaholic" (Vernon, CT United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Warded Man (Hardcover)
Brett's debut novel is well-told, action-packed, and as addictive as any book I've ever picked up. The main characters are introduced to us in separate vignettes detailing the momentous turning points in their youths that spur them to become the heroes they will later prove to be. In the world created by Peter Brett humans fear the night, and seek protection from the demons that rise from the ground at sunset to wreak havok (which mostly involves eating human flesh).

The storytelling and snippets of humor keep the narrative lively and fresh, and while Brett's main character turns out to be rather humorless, the other people in the story are more than colorful enough to make up for that failing.

This book has similiarities to Elantris (the wards of power) by Brandon Sanderson, Mystborn (creatures arise by night) also by Sanderson, Robert Jordan's earliest books of the Wheel of Time, and a speck of George R.R. Martin. There is more humor in Brett's novels than those of the other authors, and the action is taut and frantic.

If you enjoyed any of those authors' books, or the writing of Patrick Rothfuss, you're going to love The Warded Man.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book is like an abusive relationship..., December 14, 2013
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I've read tons of both good and bad fantasy books over the years. And I have to say this book truly is like an abusive relationship.

The first 2/3 read like a promising first attempt at writing a fantasy novel by someone who may have a gift for it (given some more experience - detail is thin but story/plot/world is there).

Then the author pretty much destroys his own work with the last 1/3. I have to admit, I've never read a book that actually self destructed until now. It just implodes on itself out of nowhere. I honestly couldn't suspend disbelief anymore. Every single one of the characters became totally different, and nearly unrecognizable, people in the span of a chapter or two. I can clearly see what the author was going for with this: a plot twist to make your jaw drop. The problem is that the author doesn't have the skill to pull this off believably. I don't know if it is because he is green or simply rushed it out. It doesn't really matter. The net effect is the same.

One last thing: The whole rape thing he used in the book? Yeah, if you're going to actually implement a rape of one of your primary characters, you should at least make it impact the story beyond a chapter or two. Oh, and a woman is not going to throw herself at some stranger 3 days after being raped and walking around in shock about it. Sorry but this author seriously needs to stop writing women characters. I am a (manly man type of) guy and feel embarrassed for him about the way they are portrayed.
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55 of 73 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I guess I wanted to like it, August 16, 2010
This review is from: The Warded Man (Hardcover)
Having been mentioned in the same breath as Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch I was looking forward to this book. I would have even settled for the normal tropes if it was well written. This not so much. My first issue was with the pace of the book. It jumped between so many different characters, at different points in their life, that none of them felt really developed.

The second issue was the desert people that are totally-not-the-same-as-an-orientalist caricature-of-Muslims. This author isn't the only one guilty of this, but I wish people would stop using it.

----Spoiler---

The third issue was the sexual content. It's fine if it is well written and serves a point, but it feels like this guy is using it as a shortcut to create some sort of depth to his female character. Lots of people do this, and it irks me like hell every time. I'll say it again, rape and sexual abuse are not a short cut to character depth.

It was also sort of bizarre that Leesha was getting it on with Arlen a day or two after a brutal gang rape. I had to put the book down after that for a few hours because it just skeeved me out.

I liked some of the world building, but not much else.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but Entertaining, December 19, 2011
By 
Art (New Jersey) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Warded Man: Book One of The Demon Cycle (Mass Market Paperback)
First, only 2 of the 4 books in this series are out as of this review.

This book has an extremely simple and somewhat undeveloped mythos, magic system and history. "Demons" come up from the ground (the "core") and try to kill people. "Wards" -- writing in glyph like patterns -- can block their attacks, but because the demons took a 3000 year break after humans, led by the "Deliverer" kicked their butts, the humans have forgotten the "offensive wards". No hint of what the demons are is suggested, nor any hint of what wards are or why they work. Not many different cultures or peoples are described -- you have some villagers, people of one city who worship mothers and have a Duke, while the people of the desert city worship killing demons even though not very good at it. That is basically it.

All 3 POVs start as youngsters, and we have some hardships, learning professions and character development. It is not entirely convincing, particularly with respect to the two less developed main characters, whose entire POVs seemed rather pointless. You have a "jongler" which is a made up word for a bard, who seems to serve no real purpose, and an ultra-hottie whose purpose seems to be to get abused and to be a romantic interest, and then the titlar charachter. So 2 out of the 3 POVs dont seem to have much point. The author does a somewhat better job with the main charachter, although even there you may have a little trouble believing some of his choices, shown after time jumps of a few years. The romance, when it finally comes, is so ill developed that I found it almost silly.

Despite all of these flaws, I really did enjoy the book, and give it 3 1/2 stars. The book has a good amount of action, and is written in a way that moves things along fairly nicely. I think some of the lengthier epics have a lot of bloat, and its refreshing to read a decent fantasy that is more streamlined. No incredibly intricate history, cultures or mythos here to take up pages and pages -- which is both good and bad. Still, with only 2 of the 4 books being out -- and book 2 receiving mixed reviews -- I think I'll wait on book 2.

Verdict: Recommended, but not a top choice.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A good book trying to get out of a bad one, January 4, 2011
By 
Deckard (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Warded Man: Book One of The Demon Cycle (Mass Market Paperback)
Hmmmm... well I get the feeling I'm on my own here given the reviews, but here goes:

The warded man/painted man is set in a kind of alternate future where after the age of science, the world has been thrown back into a dark age, where ancient elemental demons known as "Corelings" have once more risen from the earth to feed upon mankind. Man's only salvation rests in the magical properties of "wards", magical symbols that can be written on homes, and earth to keep the creatures at bay. The story has three protagonists altho it centres mostly on Alren a young boy who's mother is killed in a demon attack and sets out to seek a way to fight the Corelings. Then there's Rojer, a crippled musician who discovers that music itself can be a weapon against the demons, and Leesha, a healer who learns that what can cure can also cause harm. We follow each character from childhood to maturity across a sizeable time span. Although adhering to the traditions of the hero's journey, Brett does a nice job of avoiding the cliches that a lot of epic fantasy books fall into, however the book has many problems that really detract from what would have been an - if not massively original - at least, very enjoyable and entertaining read.

The first and probably worst of these is that Brett's writing is surprisingly amateur and limited, to the point that it actually becomes incredibly intrusive. He uses endless adverbs in his dialogue tags (he said angrily, she said hopefully, etc) as well as an awful lot of "Arlen said", "Leesha returned", "Bruna snapped", "Steve went on", which are really superfluous and distracting. Brett's vocabulary seems noticeably small, resulting in naturally repetitive descriptions and unimaginative prose that fails to evoke any lasting impression. I lost count of the number of times someone's "eyes bulged", someone "gasped" or someone "spat on the floor". Sometimes there's so much spitting and gasping in a conversation that you wonder if Brett has ever observed a real conversation. In fact every time someone hears something they don't like in the world of the Painted man, they lean over to spit somewhere. Women, men, children... I'm surprised that even the corelings didn't flob at things when they couldn't get past a magical ward! I genuinely wondered through the first few chapters whether I was reading a children's book (which would be no bad thing at all), and when the first adult subject matter came up it actually seemed starkly out of place.

The second point, is that it's slow, and boy is it really, painfully slow. You can boil the actual happenings of the first 8 chapters and summarise them on a post-it note, in fact you can even boil down the entire dramatic content of the book and scribble it on an envelope. I find it immensely hard to stick with books that seem so obsessed with 'world building' that they basically end up being nothing more than meticulously crafted settings looking for a story. The Painted man is probably one of the worst offenders for this I've read in a while. Brett writes hundreds of pages of mostly directionless village based drama with characters who exist purely to impart back story directly to the reader. There's the continually inviting questions of the 11 year old Arlen to permit older characters to prattle on endlessly about the world, there's Hogg, the shopkeeper who wastes the best part of a chapter pointing out how village trade works, and the Jongleur, whose sole purpose is to describe some 300 years of history, which he bizzarely and very handily does every year!

I appreciate there's scope, but it's hardly complicated or broad and even if it were, you only have to read something like George Martin's: A Game of Thrones to see how complex historical threads and richly detailed world building can be seemlessly integrated into an unfolding story. Brett always steps way beyond the line of what the reader needs to know at that moment in the tale and what they don't, which cripples pace and really sucks the pleasure to be had out of reading the book. Also Brett always seems to be ahead of his action, often relating exciting or interesting scenes retrospectively through character chatter or paragraphs of narrative. There are great opportunities in the book for hugely dramatic conflicts, excitement, and drama which end up being watered to a trickle and it's so frustrating to read!

The third problem is characterisation. The Warded/Painted Man is populated with characters that are either so one dimensional that it's like being hit over the head with them or so contradictory that they lack any kind of realism. Pretty much without exception, they are the most unsympathetic, downright unlikeable cast of characters I've ever read. I'm still not sure whether this was intentional or just a result of Brett favouring the use of events to drive character, rather than the other way around. Shopkeepers are greedy, mothers are verbally and physically abusive, fathers are cowardly, downtrodden and in one instance even sexually abusive. Wives are harlots and liars, husbands are subservient, young men are reactionary thugs who chop wood and little else, and sexuality itself is regarded with a base disdain that Brett seems to continually impart in lots of really superfluous dialog about "bloodied sheets", "de-flowering", "slapping stomachs", "budding breasts" and endless insults about various things "between legs". In fact his uneccessarily detailed accounts of the the sexuality of young girls and lecheous ways of women is either purile or decidedly uncomfortable, and the entire thing is so utterly pointless in narrative terms that you wonder why any of it had to take up so many pages.

To me great fantasy always has a basis in reality. If you make the characters, families, societies, conflict, troubles etc as human as possible, you'll capture the heart of the reader. At the end of the day fantasy is just a setting, the human condition is universal. It's very tough to care about the characters in the warded man, because they're victims of a poorly constructed story. They have so little of worth fighting for and so little to care about that I found them impossible to connect with. It's that connection that what makes you champion your heroes, understand and fear for them, cheer and love them. The only flashes of such empathy I had, came from much lesser characters and even in some cases, the Corelings themselves. But unfortunately even as the protagonists are pretty basic and unappealing, the antagonists are like clunky blundering monsters from straight out of a computer game.

And this leads to the novel's main theme: The demons. The story basically has little to offer other than this constant threat, which is pretty much the identical device used in the film "The Village". They ring bells to announce the arrival of the night, they paint symbols on things to keep them at bay etc. Obviously there's a more to Brett's interpretation, but because this is the central conflict, it becomes old very quickly and the drama that underpins it is nowhere near enough to cause any kind of page turning excitement. In fact it's pretty much the opposite. And then of course Brett even manages to pretty much ruin the main dramatic twist by the title of the book!

I really desperately wanted to like this book - especially as I heard it's just been optioned for a film - and I thought that from the synopsis it sounded like it could really have something good going on. Clearly for many people it does, but personally it was a real disappointment. I don't think Brett is exclusively to blame here, and I think you have to allow a certain slack to a first time writer. He clearly has some great ideas and some desire for interesting characters but somehow they never really take form in a succinct, dramatic or sympathetic way. It's like there's something good here trying to get out, and with some refinement, reevaluation, or even a restructuring it could well have been, but as it is, this was a really unrewarding chore to read. I think possibly if Brett had envisioned a single story rather than a trilogy (which so many fantasy writers seem so obsessed with) it might have worked better. It actually amazes me that there's a quote from Terry Brooks on the front of the Warded man, when if you read Terry's "sometimes the magic works", Brett seems to be a prime example of all of the writing pitfalls that Terry rebells against! Anyhow, regardless of my disappointment, Brett is clearly onto a very good thing with his demon trilogy and I wish him the best with it. Sadly there was nothing in this novel to make me want to read anything more.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A solid effort that is nonetheless flawed, August 17, 2011
By 
A. D. "Aranis" (Eastern United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Warded Man: Book One of The Demon Cycle (Mass Market Paperback)
All in all, this book is a strong debut that has its fair share of problems.

First of all, the positives. The book has strong characterization for its three leads and many of the supporting cast, especially Leesha's mentor Bruna, Rojer's master Arrick, and Arlen's mentors, Cob and Ragen. In addition, its demons are enjoyable unique, as it the magic that combats them: wards. It's a lot of fun watching characters use this magical tool inventively, and it's even more fun watching Arlen make discoveries about them throughout the book. Not only do the characters and the magic get good treatment, but the world itself is well-developed, with rivalries, cultures, and economies there for the discovery as characters make their way through the wold.

Secondly, the negatives. Mr. Brett's style is still developing, and he has a few idiosyncracies that grate, such as dialog attribution ("Here's some example dialog," I recommended) along with a lack of emotional weight to actions in the world. At one point, Rojer loses a favored Jongleur tool to rivals, and all that's described is the thing's destruction with no reaction from Rojer whatsoever. Besides the stylistic flaws, there's a development in the plot that I hesitate to even call a twist. It felt like it was played for cheap drama, and it even took away from a potential romantic culmination not 50 pages later. I wasn't quite offended by the development, but it felt like a cheap and tasteless trick just to keep tension high. The worst part is that the character seems to have completely brushed it off by the conclusion of the book, only lending credence to the perception that it was a cheap trick.

All that said, the positives still outweigh the negatives. I greatly anticipate reading the Desert Spear (the sequel to this book), especially if Mr. Brett avoids the pitfalls of this book.

Three stars.
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The Warded Man: Book One of The Demon Cycle
The Warded Man: Book One of The Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett (Mass Market Paperback - March 23, 2010)
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