[NOTE: If Goodreads allowed it, I would have given this 3 and a half stars but sadly such is not the case… so just imagine it!]
Finished this a little while ago and keep meaning to review it but somehow never seem to get off my lazy behind long enough to do it!
Anyway, now’s as good a time as any. (OH! All images clickable for higher-res versions!)
I have to say that after reading this book only partway through, Peter Brett has jumped to near the top of my list of favourite current authors firmly and without doubt. That said – now on to the book!
I was completely taken by the first book (as anyone who read my review on it could guess), creating this world filled with a wonderful new fantasy setting filled with so many concepts both familiar, yet completely unique. Peopled with multiple protagonists and cultures and a richness that was most agreeable! But this follow-up did what few sequels ever have in my humble opinion: it lived up to the first, and then proceeded to surpass it. [BE WARNED: Hereon be possible spoilers!]
The old familiar things are all there and in a lot of ways its like coming home again – and what is even more engaging is the added narrative and shift in focus. Unlike many traditional forms we get here multiple point of view characters and story-lines entwined deeply with one another, sometimes without even knowing how and how much.
Very skillfully Brett now centres his focus on Jardir, the leader of the Desert Spear, as he undertakes his great war to unite humanity under his banner and under the one true god,
and then face the core-ling demons that plague the whole world every single night. Much as with Arlen and Leesha in the first book, we follow his life from his simple childhood and see how he became the powerful warrior we first met him as in “The Painted Man” which is where the familiar from the first book comes rushing back. Then we see the great divide between our heroes and Jardirs rise to become THE chosen one, the leader of his people – armed with the divine spear that he stole from Arlen, except this time through the eyes of the assailant and not the victim.
Then of course eventually the story moves fluidly back to the north where we spend time with the old familiat characters and places as we see how they have grown and evolved in the time since Arlen returned and the new life he has, as does Leesha who is so much more then the young girl who we once knew – now a truly formidable woman in her own right.
Not only all this, but we see more about the demonic plague, their heirarchy, their abilities and for a change – THEIR point of view. Albiet briefly, Brett gives us these teasing little glimpses that just give such glee but aggravate as well at having to wait yet again for more details. Annoying though it might be however, I’ll take it!
More detail of how this world works, a war between the two remaining sides of humanity as the core-ling menace lurks in the shadows for an opportunity to annihilate all mankind. Filled with compelling characters, a rich world and culture that draws on so much from our world and yet creates something quite its own – a wonderful read that I personally found nigh impossible to put down! I cannot wait to read the third book in the series and am going to be in agony until it finally hits the stands.
I do hope though that the imagination and well-thought out creation that Brett has created is such all the way through, I would hate to see something with so much potential fall by the way-side because of a poor finale. I sincerely doubt it, but such is the danger with too many secrets, and this world still has a great many even though two books in already!
As with the first one – I would heartily recommend this to any and all fantasy fans, you will not be disappointed.
In addition to this spectacular (if I may say so myself) review I came across this interview
with Peter V. Brett over at fantasyfaction which might be of interest to some.
Until I get my arse in gear for the next one folks, cheers…