Ryan Thomason

The Desert Spear: Book Review

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I can’t remember in the past year having time to actually sit down and read a book that wasn’t a Dr Seuss, Go Dogs Go, or something of the sort in children’s books. When a book from one of my favorite new writers hit the shelves, I just had to read it. So, about two months after it was released, I finally had it in hand. With only very, very late night readings my only option, I steadily finished the book in a week. How does the second installment of Peter V Bretts Demon Wars saga hold up?

A very large bulk of the start of this book is dedicated to Jardir, leader of the desert nation of Krasia. In the first book of the series, Jardir takes a twist on a main character (Arlen the Warded Man) that left me a little upset and in turn hoping Jardir gets his ass handed to him in this book. But, we get to see the buildup in the life of Jardir how he got to be the man he is today and the strict upbringing that all Krasian males go through. With a character that going into the book I had pegged as a villain, Jardir moved up to neutral in my terms of liking him after getting his side of the story. By the end of the book, he grew on me, his courage, his willingness to follow his heart, and blatant attempts to defy his fate driven first wife (of 12). He’s a man with a clear set goal, and is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve the unification of the known world to fight the demons at night. Even, if it could possibly tear his people apart.

Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer all make returns at Point of View characters. I grinned at Arlens singular drive to kill demons at all costs. Then, I smiled at Rojers antics and frustration with teaching his skill that he only seems to possess. His wide eye moments with a potential…plural matrimony, was the kicker for me. Leesha is a hit or miss character for me, at some points I like her, and others I’d rather someone else took charge. Overall though, the series would be missing a big part if she wasn’t in it, she brings a nice element to the story. With the exception of Rojer and his masterful manipulations of a fiddle that allows him to control corelings through music, all of the main POV characters seem to have an opposite that can match them in some way. Heck, they actually take a beating at times. I actually like this, I’m so tired of reading fantasy books where the main characters are so overpowered with the exception of the main villain. Though Arlen seems to be headed toward that path, it at least seems that Jardir could go toe to toe with him. If Brett really wants to get me rallying behind him, he’ll have the stones to kill off one of his POV characters, just to really throw people through a loop. I love it when writers do that.

The side characters in this book really bring a lot to the table, they don’t steal the show, but really do a great up in their supporting roles. I’m a fan of Garric, I love the big brutes that smash and hack their way through life. Though, as a wannabe businessman, I have to tip my hat to the Krasian merchant Abban. Outrageously fat, with a camel headed crutch for his gimp leg. His ability to seize on a profitable opportunity, even though he is the crap end of a brutal caste social system is endearing. He’s the ultimate underdog in this story, and you can’t help but root for his success, even though death by his own people just because of he social standing he was born into seems to always be around the corner.

The Desert Spear introduces a new POV character in Renna. Poor, poor Renna. Promised to be married to Arlen as a child in the first book, you would have thought that the brief introduction in The Warded Man was her part to play. The Desert Spear, your heart goes out to her as she tries to make the best of her situation after Arlen left her. I’m glad with how she her story ended in this book, to tell you would spoil the fun, but she justifiably deserved what she got.

We’re introduced to some new corelings in this book, the most powerful being the Mind demons and their Mimics. Mimics appear to be thoughtless entities, only doing what the Mind demon in control of them want, as mimics have the ability to alter their shape and form at will. Mind demons appear to be lower level princes in the Core where they live, if these are just the little guys and how much the two mind demons were able to accomplish. The main characters should be screwed in the next book.

I could have used more of their demon perspective in this book, I’m hoping that Bretts third installment in the series introduces a Demons point of view. If he can put the readers into perspective about the true motivations of someone like Jardir, I’d love to see what really drives the Demons in the Core to come out at night and prey upon humans.

Currently, you can get this book in hardback at the big named book stores and online retailers. If you’ve read The Warded Man, and like me was hooked onto the writing style and series, get it now. if you’re more of a casual reader though, there is no shame in not shelling out $26 for the hardcover and waiting for paperbacks. You’ll be somewhat lost without reading The Warded Man though, which you can pick up in paperback, if you haven’t gotten into this new series, do so. Now.

I’m going to give this book a $7.99/$26 score. I loved the story, and the direction that this book is taking the series. Though, in these economic times I suggest patience, and waiting for this to drop on paperback. Unless you are a book dork like me, and have to have hardbacks, it’s a must have for your fantasy paperback collection. If you use eReaders or iPods/Phone/Pad for your reading pleasures, not only do I hate you, but suggest you pick yours gadget up and download this book at whatever decent price they are offering.

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