The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
|Book Name:||The Warded Man (US) The Painted Man (UK)|
|Author:||Peter V. Brett|
|Formatt:||Hardcover / Paperback / Audio Book / eBook|
|Genre(s):||Fantasy / Dark Fantasy|
|Release Date:||March 10, 2009|
To Arlen the night was a thing to be feared. In his world things didn’t just lurk in the night, they owned it. The only safe place to be when the sun set, was behind magical warding symbols. The only way to live through the coreling demons’ nightly onslaughts was to hide and pray that morning would come without incident – without the wards failing. That’s the way it had been for hundreds of years and as far as the world was concerned that’s the way it always would be.
But Arlen was not satisfied with his people’s mantra of ‘hide and wait’. And after personal tragedy strikes his family, Alren decides he is going to find a way to fight back. Alren will never again give anything to the corelings, if they want something from him, they are going to have to take it.
– – –
The Warded Man (The Painted Man outside the US) by Peter V. Brett is the first book in the Demon Cycle series. The book has three main characters Rojer a traveling musician, Leesha a healer, and of course Arlen who seeks a way to fight the corelings directly. The story follows each person starting in their childhoods as they begin to take up the fight against the monstrous corelings.
I’d heard a lot of good things about this book before I read it; most of them were about how good Mr. Brett was at worldbuilding. And I have to say, the worldbuilding in this story is amazing. The back-story of the world is that long ago people fought the coreling demons with magic and these ancient people were eventually able to defeat the monsters, driving them back to the core from whence they came. Or at least they thought they had.
Years went by and people forgot about the warding magic, and technology began to rule in its place. But then the corelings returned and proceeded to pretty much wipe humanity off the face of the earth. Luckily, the wards were rediscovered, but not before civilization was crushed, and the technology the people had clung to was destroyed.
Now the world setting resembles that of medieval times with a hint, now and then, of what might have been in the past. It’s an unpleasant place where people in the country eke out a living as best they can and people in the cities are really prisoners inside their gilded walls.
The demons and magic in the story are really interesting as well. The corelings can only survive on the surface when there is no daylight visible. Every night when the sun sets, they rise out of the earth as incorporeal beings of mist and solidify into raging demons. There are different types that seem to follow the elements, though I’ve only read the first book in the series and there might be more. There are giant rock demons, sturdy wood demons, and flaming fire demons, there are even sand demons in the desert.
The warding magic works like a circle of protection. If you draw the circle of wards correctly, then you’re safe. If even one ward is out of place, smudged, or covered somehow, the corelings will find the hole and penetrate your defenses. In ancient times, there are legends of wards used to attack and even kill the demons, but these wards were lost years ago. The only hope the people have is the legend of the Deliverer, who will one day come and save the people from the demons. Many think that he is just that, a legend. But others still hold out hope that he will return and send the demons back to the core forever.
I could go on and on about the detail and the uniqueness of the world, but I’m trying my best not to ramble. Now that’s not to say that the worldbuilding is all this story has going for it. The plot is great and the way each main character brings something completely different to the story, makes each point of view interesting and fun to read. I have to say, without a doubt, this was one of my favorite reads this year. And if you like darker fantasy with interesting characters and great worldbuilding then this is a series you definitely need to read.
The Warded Man (The Painted Man outside the US) and its sequel, The Desert Spear, are both available for purchase in print and ebook format. The final book, The Daylight War, is currently still in production, but you can listen to the author read an excerpt from it here.