As darkness falls each night, the corelings rise–demons who well up from the ground like hellish steam, taking on fearsome form and substance. Sand demons. Wood demons. Wind demons. Flame demons. And gigantic rock demons, the deadliest of all. They possess supernatural strength and powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards–symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and mystery, and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile.
It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms. Once, under the leadership of the legendary Deliverer, and armed with powerful wards that were not merely shields but weapons, they took the battle to the demons . . . and stopped their advance.
But those days are gone. The fighting wards are lost. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault.
Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past.
Arlen will pay any price, embrace any sacrifice, for freedom. His grim journey will take him beyond the bounds of human power.
Crippled by the demons that killed his parents, Rojer seeks solace in music–only to discover that music can be a weapon as well as a refuge.
Beautiful Leesha, who has suffered at the hands of men as well as demons, becomes an expert healer. But what cures can also harm. . . .
Together, they will stand against the night.
Look for Peter V. Brett’s complete Demon Cycle:
THE WARDED MAN | THE DESERT SPEAR | THE DAYLIGHT WAR | THE SKULL THRONE | THE CORE
About the Author
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The Warded Man
By Peter V. Brett
Del ReyCopyright © 2010 Peter V. Brett
All right reserved.
the great horn sounded.
Arlen paused in his work, looking up at the lavender wash of the dawn sky. Mist still clung to the air, bringing with it a damp, acrid taste that was all too familiar. A quiet dread built in his gut as he waited in the morning stillness, hoping that it had been his imagination. He was eleven years old.
There was a pause, and then the horn blew twice in rapid succession. One long and two short meant south and east. The Cluster by the Woods. His father had friends among the cutters. Behind Arlen, the door to the house opened, and he knew his mother would be there, covering her mouth with both hands.
Arlen returned to his work, not needing to be told to hurry. Some chores could wait a day, but the stock still needed to be fed and the cows milked. He left the animals in the barns and opened the hay stores, slopped the pigs, and ran to fetch a wooden milk bucket. His mother was already squatting beneath the first of the cows. He snatched the spare stool and they found cadence in their work, the sound of milk striking wood drumming a funeral march.
As they moved to the next pair down the line, Arlen saw his father begin hitching their strongest horse, a five-year-old chestnut-colored mare named Missy, to the cart. His face was grim as heworked.
What would they find this time?
Before long, they were in the cart, trundling toward the small cluster of houses by the woods. It was dangerous there, over an hour's run to the nearest warded structure, but the lumber was needed. Arlen's mother, wrapped in her worn shawl, held him tightly as they rode.
"I'm a big boy, Mam," Arlen complained. "I don't need you to hold me like a baby. I'm not scared." It wasn't entirely true, but it would not do for the other children to see him clinging to his mother as they rode in. They made mock of him enough as it was.
"I'm scared," his mother said. "What if it's me who needs to be held?"
Feeling suddenly proud, Arlen pulled close to his mother again as they traveled down the road. She could never fool him, but she always knew what to say just the same.
A pillar of greasy smoke told them more than they wanted to know long before they reached their destination. They were burning the dead. And starting the fires this early, without waiting for others to arrive and pray, meant there were a great many. Too many to pray over each one, if the work was to be complete before dusk.
It was more than five miles from Arlen's father's farm to the Cluster by the Woods. By the time they arrived, the few remaining cabin fires had been put out, though in truth there was little left to burn. Fifteen houses, all reduced to rubble and ash.
"The woodpiles, too," Arlen's father said, spitting over the side of the cart. He gestured with his chin toward the blackened ruin that remained of a season's cutting. Arlen grimaced at the thought of how the rickety fence that penned the animals would have to last another year, and immediately felt guilty. It was only wood, after all.
The town Speaker approached their cart as it pulled up. Selia, whom Arlen's mother sometimes called Selia the Barren, was a hard woman, tall and thin, with skin like tough leather. Her long gray hair was pulled into a tight bun, and she wore her shawl like a badge of office. She brooked no nonsense, as Arlen had learned more than once at the end of her stick, but today he was comforted by her presence. Like Arlen's father, something about Selia made him feel safe. Though she had never had children of her own, Selia acted as a parent to everyone in Tibbet's Brook. Few could match her wisdom, and fewer still her stubbornness. When you were on Selia's good side, it felt like the safest place in the world.
"It's good that you've come, Jeph," Selia told Arlen's father. "Silvy and young Arlen, too," she said, nodding to them. "We need every hand we can get. Even the boy can help."
Arlen's father grunted, stepping down from the cart. "I brought my tools," he said. "Just tell me where we can throw in."
Arlen collected the precious tools from the back of their cart. Metal was scarce in the Brook, and his father was proud of his two shovels, his pick, and his saw. They would all see heavy use this day.
"How many lost?" Jeph asked, though he didn't really seem to want to know.
"?Twenty-seven," Selia said. Silvy choked and covered her mouth, tears welling in her eyes. Jeph spat again.
"Any survivors?" he asked.
"A few," Selia said. "Manie"-she pointed with her stick at a boy who stood staring at the funeral pyre-"ran all the way to my house in the dark."
Silvy gasped. No one had ever run so far and lived. "The wards on Brine Cutter's house held for most of the night," Selia went on. "He and his family watched everything. A few others fled the corelings and succored there, until the fires spread and their roof caught. They waited in the burning house until the beams started to crack, and then took their chances outside in the minutes before dawn. The corelings killed Brine's wife Meena and their son Poul, but the others made it. The burns will heal and the children will be all right in time, but the others . . ."
She didn't need to finish the sentence. Survivors of a demon attack had a way of dying soon after. Not all, or even most, but enough. Some of them took their own lives, and others simply stared blankly, refusing to eat or drink until they wasted away. It was said you did not truly survive an attack until a year and a day had passed.
"There are still a dozen unaccounted for," Selia said, but with little hope in her voice.
"We'll dig them out," Jeph agreed grimly, looking at the collapsed houses, many still smoldering. The cutters built their homes mostly out of stone to protect against fire, but even stone would burn if the wards failed and enough flame demons gathered in one place.
Jeph joined the other men and a few of the stronger women in clearing the rubble and carting the dead to the pyre. The bodies had to be burned, of course. No one would want to be buried in the same ground the demons rose out of each night. Tender Harral, the sleeves of his robe rolled up to bare his thick arms, lifted each into the fire himself, muttering prayers and drawing wards in the air as the flames took them.
Silvy joined the other women in gathering the younger children and tending to the wounded under the watchful eye of the Brook's Herb Gatherer, Coline Trigg. But no herbs could ease the pain of the survivors. Brine Cutter, also called Brine Broadshoulders, was a great bear of a man with a booming laugh who used to throw Arlen into the air when they came to trade for wood. Now Brine sat in the ashes beside his ruined house, slowly knocking his head against the blackened wall. He muttered to himself and clutched his arms tightly, as if cold.
Arlen and the other children were put to work carrying water and sorting through the woodpiles for salvageable lumber. There were still a few warm months left to the year, but there would not be time to cut enough wood to last the winter. They would be burning dung again this year, and the house would reek.
Again Arlen weathered a wave of guilt. He was not in the pyre, nor banging his head in shock, having lost everything. There were worse fates than a house smelling of dung.
More and more villagers arrived as the morning wore on. Bringing their families and whatever provisions they could spare, they came from Fishing Hole and Town Square; they came from the Boggin's Hill, and Soggy Marsh. Some even came all the way from Southwatch. And one by one, Selia greeted them with the grim news and put them to work.
With more than a hundred hands, the men doubled their efforts, half of them continuing to dig as the others descended upon the only salvageable structure left in the Cluster: Brine Cutter's house. Selia led Brine away, somehow supporting the giant man as he stumbled, while the men cleared the rubble and began hauling new stones. A few took out warding kits and began to paint fresh wards while children made thatch. The house would be restored by nightfall.
Arlen was partnered with Cobie Fisher in hauling wood. The children had amassed a sizable pile, though it was only a fraction of what had been lost. Cobie was a tall, thickly built boy with dark curls and hairy arms. He was popular among the other children, but it was popularity built at others' expense. Few children cared to weather his insults, and fewer still his beatings.
Cobie had tortured Arlen for years, and the other children had gone along. Jeph's farm was the northernmost in the Brook, far from where the children tended to gather in Town Square, and Arlen spent most of his free time wandering the Brook by himself. Sacrificing him to Cobie's wrath seemed a fair trade to most children.
Whenever Arlen went fishing, or passed by Fishing Hole on the way to Town Square, Cobie and his friends seemed to hear about it, and were waiting in the same spot on his way home. Sometimes they just called him names, or pushed him, but other times he came home bloody and bruised, and his mother shouted at him for fighting.
Finally, Arlen had enough. He left a stout stick hidden in that spot, and the next time Cobie and his friends pounced, Arlen pretended to run, only to produce the weapon as if from thin air and come back swinging.
Cobie was the first one struck, a hard blow that left him crying in the dirt with blood running from his ear. Willum received a broken finger, and Gart walked with a limp for over a week. It had done nothing to improve Arlen's popularity among the other children, and Arlen's father had caned him, but the other boys never bothered him again. Even now, Cobie gave him a wide berth and flinched if Arlen made a sudden move, even though he was bigger by far.
"Survivors!" Bil Baker called suddenly, standing by a collapsed house at the edge of the Cluster. "I can hear them trapped in the root cellar!"
Immediately, everyone dropped what they were doing and rushed over. Clearing the rubble would take too long, so the men began to dig, bending their backs with silent fervor. Soon after, they broke through the side of the cellar, and began hauling out the survivors. They were filthy and terrified, but all were very much alive. Three women, six children, and one man.
"Uncle Cholie!" Arlen cried, and his mother was there in an instant, cradling her brother, who stumbled drunkenly. Arlen ran to them, ducking under his other arm to steady him.
"Cholie, what are you doing here?" Silvy asked. Cholie seldom left his workshop in Town Square. Arlen's mother had told the tale a thousand times of how she and her brother had run the farrier's shop together before Jeph began breaking his horses' shoes on purpose for a reason to come court.
"Came to court Ana Cutter," Cholie mumbled. He pulled at his hair, having already torn whole clumps free. "We'd just opened the bolt-hole when they came through the wards . . ." His knees buckled, pulling Arlen and Silvy down with his weight. Kneeling in the dirt, he wept.
Arlen looked at the other survivors. Ana Cutter wasn't among them. His throat tightened as the children passed. He knew every one of them; their families, what their houses were like inside and out, their animals' names. They met his eyes for a second as they went by, and in that moment, he lived the attack through their eyes. He saw himself shoved into a cramped hole in the ground while those unable to fit turned to face the corelings and the fire. Suddenly he started gasping, unable to stop until Jeph slapped him on the back and brought him to his senses.
They were finishing a cold midday meal when a horn sounded on the far side of the Brook.
"Not two in one day?" Silvy gasped, covering her mouth.
"Bah," Selia grunted. "At midday? Use your head, girl!"
"Then what . . . ?"
Selia ignored her, rising to fetch a horn blower to signal back. Keven Marsh had his horn ready, as the folks from Soggy Marsh always did. It was easy to get separated in the marshes, and no one wanted to be wandering lost when the swamp demons rose. Keven's cheeks inflated like a frog's chin as he blew a series of notes.
"Messenger horn," Coran Marsh advised Silvy. A graybeard, he was Speaker for Soggy Marsh and Keven's father. "They prob'ly saw the smoke. Keven's telling 'em what's happened and where everyone is."
"A Messenger in spring?" Arlen asked. "I thought they come in the fall after harvest. We only finished planting this past moon!"
"Messenger never came last fall," Coran said, spitting foamy brown juice from the root he was chewing through the gap of his missing teeth. "We been worried sumpin' happened. Thought we might not have a Messenger bring salt till next fall. Or maybe that the corelings got the Free Cities and we's cut off."
"The corelings could never get the Free Cities," Arlen said.
"Arlen, shush your mouth!" Silvy hissed. "He's your elder!"
"Let the boy speak," Coran said. "Ever bin to a free city, boy?" he asked Arlen.
"No," Arlen admitted.
"Ever know anyone who had?"
"No," Arlen said again.
"So what makes you such an expert?" Coran asked. "Ent no one been to one 'cept the Messengers. They're the only ones what brave the night to go so far. Who's to say the Free Cities ent just places like the Brook? If the corelings can get us, they can get them, too."
"Old Hog is from the Free Cities," Arlen said. Rusco Hog was the richest man in the Brook. He ran the general store, which was the crux of all commerce in Tibbet's Brook.
"Ay," Coran said, "an' old Hog told me years ago that one trip was enough for him. He meant to go back after a few years, but said it wasn't worth the risk. So you ask him if the Free Cities are any safer than anywhere else."
Arlen didn't want to believe it. There had to be safe places in the world. But again the image of himself being thrown into the cellar flashed across his mind, and he knew that nowhere was truly safe at night.
Excerpted from The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett Copyright © 2010 by Peter V. Brett. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
"Brett's debut builds slowly and grimly on a classic high fantasy framework of black-and-white morality and bloodshed. Young Arlen battles demons to save his mother while his father watches in terror; when his mother dies, Arlen runs away. Leesha leaves her village to work in the city hospital of Angiers after her betrothed claims to have taken her virginity. Jongleur Arrick Sweetsong saved himself from demons at the expense of a female friend, but he honors her last request and raises her son, Rojer, as his apprentice. Only near the end do the three strands of the story begin to intertwine. With its nameless enemies that exist only to kill, Brett's gritty tale will appeal to those who tire of sympathetic villains and long for old-school orc massacres."—Publishers Weekly
“I enjoyed The Warded Man immensely. There is much to admire in Peter Brett’s writing, and his concept is brilliant. There’s action and suspense all the way, plus he made me care about his characters and want to know what’s going to happen next.”—Terry Brooks
“The Warded Man works not only as a great adventure novel but also as a reflection on the nature of heroism.”—Charlaine Harris
“An absolute masterpiece . . . The novel [is] literally ‘unputdownable,’ and certainly deserves to be the next Big Thing in dark fantasy.”—HorrorScope
“A very accomplished debut fantasy, broad in its scope.”—SFRevu
“A fabulous new fantasy series . . . that is likely to become a classic. Excellent fantasy literature.”—The Cairns Post ,Queensland, Australia
My parents have always been avid mainstream fiction readers. They never really looked down on me for reading fantasy, but I don't think they understood what I saw in it, either. Neither of them had much interest in exploring the genre for themselves until I sold my first novel, The Warded Man, and supportive parenting forced their hands.
My mom read it first. Then she called me. "I really liked your book."
I rolled my eyes. Of course she would say that. She's my mom.
"I have to tell you, I didn't think I was going to," she went on.
That got my attention. "Oh?"
"Now you're my son and I support you no matter what," she interjected quickly before I could get offended, "but I've never read a fantasy book and didn't know what to expect. I thought there would be all sorts of elves and monsters and dragons and I wouldn't know what was going on. You kids always sounded like you were speaking another language when you were playing Dungeons & Dragons."
I smiled. It was a fair point.
"But your book was about people I could relate to," my mom said. "There really wasn't much magic at all, and I didn't have any trouble following the story."
"I worked very hard to make the book accessible to anyone," I said. "No prerequisites."
My dad had a similar reaction. "I was proud of you for writing a book at all, but when I see the kinds of people your characters are and what they stand for, I really feel like I raised you right."
Ever since, they've been recommending the book to all their friends and family, many of whom are readers, but few fantasy fans. A lot of these people have taken the time to get in touch, admitting to me they bought the book just to be supportive, only to discover that they actually LIKE fantasy.
I am really proud to be an ambassador in that regard, but it surprises me sometimes that one is needed. After all, fantasy has always been a part of our storytelling culture, dating all the way back to those first humans huddled around the campfire, afraid of the encroaching dark. To ward off this fear, storytellers made up tales of demons lurking out beyond the firelight, helping them explore their fears and come to a better understanding of themselves and the world around them. These stories became myths, and form the moral center of human culture to this day.
Over the years, we've gotten better at pushing back the darkness, but its still out there, lurking past the porch light, looming beyond the street lamps. And let's face it. It still scares us. That fear is hard-wired into our genetic code, and every generation needs to come to terms with it, or become night's prisoner.
At their core, my fantasy stories are about people facing those sorts of fears. The only difference is, the demons in my world are real.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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 in. 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.
I received this new novel by Peter V. Brett a couple days ago from Del-Rey for review and so I decided to sit down from my few months being a mom to read it. I was so glad I did. The Warded Man is an intense ride that begins with the lives of three young children that through different diversities survive to fight on in a world where just the corelings or demons aren't the only things that should be feared. In this well written novel, you will meet Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer, each set on their own path by tragedy or by the evil of others. Their journeys are all thwart with different types of danger from One Armed demons to the evil of greedy men. Each one will have you wrapped around their stories as they pull you from the world you know into one that nights are feared and demons roam only to take you into that darkness never to return. The Warded Man is a well put together novel. With intense actions scenes that do not rob from the brilliant dialogue, the beautiful, yet, horrifying imagery literally engulfs you in a world that is filled with mountains, deserts, wall cities, and small villages. Each chapter brings you deeper into the shadows filling your mind with visions of small fire demons to the large stone ones. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves good fantasy and great action. It is a bit on the dark side with some violence to kids as well as to grown ups so please use discression when looking at it for kids younger than sixteen or so. Other than that, I implore you to give Mr. Brett a chance. I know I will be reading the next in his series for sure.....
Starts out slow but picks up into a pretty good book.
This is my first review of this book on B&N even though I have just finished reading the book for the third time in preparation for the 4th book Skull Throne to be released in March. I thought I might get bored in the 3rd reading but a good story never gets old. If you love the tried and true "old school" fantasies, you will love this story. This first book is all about Arlen, Leesha and Rojer and the circumstances which put them together, becoming friends and allies fighting against the demons who ruled the night.
Such an amazing story with well thought out characters and their pasts. I have just finished the second book and had to stop to write a review. You wont be dissapointed with this series! Its been a long while sincive been so engrossed in a novel and the world created. I couldnt wait to figure out what happened at the end and at the same time sad it was over! Thankfully there are supposed to be 5 books in the series so i can keep enjoying the amazing world of the warded man.
This has become one of my favorite books. Great idea that is beautifully imagined, well paced, and artfully written.
The Warded Man is good fun, kind of like George R R Martin without the self-loathing. While the central premise of the book (pictograms trump demons) is sketchy and while it is also hard to get the measure of the demon nemesis, the writing is good, the characters and dialogue convincing, and the series storyline shows definite promise.
I got a third of the way into it, but I'm done. I feel a little bad giving up on this one, because it was a SantaThing book, but I have to be honest, I just didn't like it. I'm not a big fan of this sort of epic fantasy to begin with (you know, chapter 1: introduction to Main Character 1, chapter 2, intro to Main Character 2, etc) and then not only is the world Brett has created terribly misogynistic, but everything is about sex. Arlen runs away because of sex, Leesha runs away because of sex, even Rojer (or at least, his family) gets in trouble because of sex. It seems like all most of the characters ever talk or think about. There are demons on their doorsteps and instead of trying to learn how to better defend against them or fight them, it's sex, sex, sex.(And lest anyone thing I simply have a problem with any sex in a fantasy story, I quite enjoy the Parasol Protectorate series.)Then when we get to a "Free City", and learn that there any woman who has children is called "Mother" and respected and powerful, and any woman who doesn't have children is called "Daughter" and pitied. Seriously?The only good thing I can say is that most of the sex is consensual and rape isn't glorified. At least that puts it above A Game of Thrones.
A LONG time ago, in a state faraway, I read the first book of the Belgariad from David Eddings. I remember getting about 80% of the way in and thinking to myself, "This entire book is just the setup for the REAL adventure." It was true. I was really pissed off. I'm not a fast reader and I wasn't planning on reading the next book for a couple months so I wanted the first book to have a plot and an ending. Instead it was just like, "Okay the fellowship has gathered now it's time to get to work destroying this ring - oh sorry that's in the next book."I got that feeling with this book. I did like it. The world is cool. The writing is good. There's enough action to keep it going. Unfortunately for the first half it did feel like "Little House on the Prairie with Demons". I kept worrying that the different characters would never meet up and that each would be it's own separate short story and those stories seemed like normal tv sitcom kinda stuff minus the demons.I guess maybe the problem is that a lot of the newer fantasy fiction I've been reading lately has big crazy plots, where characters are toppling empires (Mistborn), killing gods (Deepgate Cycle), travelling to hell (Deepgate Cycle again), travelling to exotic lands, interacting with many different humanoid races and fighting against powerful secret societies ([book:The Kingdom Beyond the Waves|2971026]). So that made this book seem really tame and a bit banal. Maybe that was the author's goal - to stick out in a genre that is huge and filled with ideas that push the envelope. Maybe he just wanted to write a good fantasy book with deep characters. I do think he succeeded in that.Now that "the fellowship has gathered" I'm hoping the next book will be more exciting. I already got it from the library and burned into itunes.One more point. SPOILER***************************************************When the main female character gets gang-raped and left to die and then doesn't want to kill the rapists the day after it was a real buzz kill for me. I LOVE revenge in books because it doesn't happen enough in real life. When the warded man showed up after I was getting really excited about how much he was going to hurt them before he actually killed them or fed them (still living) to demons. Then the girl had to get all goody-two-shoes about it and my revenge-on went limp. At least they died anyway.Also I thought her having sex with the warded man 2 days after being a virgin for 27 years and then being gang-raped was very unrealistic. I would assume that she would be traumatized and that the touch of any man in any capacity would make her flinch for quite some time.
The Warded Man was exactly what I was looking for -- a character driven novel that grabbed me right away, and certainly the story was interesting, action-packed and straightforward enough to keep that momentum going. The first handful of chapters that introduced the three main characters were my favorite; right away, I was able to connect with Arlen, Leesha and Rojer, and understand how the events in their youth were going to shape the rest of the their lives. It was all very believable in the way it was written.I felt that this believability started crumbling a little in the last third of the book, however. At some point in the novel, the plot and character motivations began to feel somewhat forced, the story fell into a predictable rhythm which culminated in an archetypal Hollywood-ish ending that was just a tad too convenient. That's the only reason why I would hesitate giving it 5 stars, but otherwise, I enjoyed The Warded Man immensely.
[THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.]"The Painted Man" was a disappointment on some levels. I couldn't believe that people didn't think of warding weapons or themselves before Arlen did.Leesha's chapters were almost unbearable. She's a Mary Sue. Beautiful, perfect, big boobs, does everything better than anyone else. I felt no sympathy for her whatsoever. There was no actual chemistry between her and Arlen, and yet there was this random romance element thrown in that added nothing to the narrative.I only read on because I wanted to know what happened to Arlen, despite his poor judgment in getting involved with Leesha.
I didn't expect to like this book all that much, it seems to be too easy to read for its own good. I usually like to struggle a little bit to come to terms with a book so that I feel like a solid relationship has been formed. Books which are easy to read from page one where no effort is needed to understand the settings or the characters tend to be quickly forgettable. Fortunately not the case with this book. The protagonist (Arlen) becomes more complex and interesting as the books goes on. The "magic system" is not wildly original but quite interestingly employed. What is perhaps missing is an intimidating main nemesis (Boss Monster in games term) though not having a Dark Lord is a nice change. The book is not free of fantasy tropes and cliches though. A scene near the end even reminds me of the movie Braveheart. Still, at the end of the day this is a very entertaining and often gripping fantasy novel. I have already bought book #2 "The Desert Spear".
Jun10:Plot: Very solid. Wasn't really a traditional 'plot', it was more: Dump people into hell. See how they live.Characters: Arlen was the most bad-ass character since Caine from Heroes Die. That alone says a lot. And the other characters rounded it out nicely. Even the support staff was well done.Style: Unique. He would let time slip forward wantonly, and yet never wrote 'Years passed...' or anything like that. The action scenes were great. The violence surprising gruesome. Really, I liked his style.
In the small town of Tibbet¿s Brook, as in all of the towns and cities where humans live, everyone must be inside before darkness falls, for with darkness come the demons. Known as ¿corelings¿ because of their believed residence in the planet¿s core, the demons have hunted humanity for hundreds of years. Only the magic of the wards allows humans some slight respite from the creatures. Certain symbols painted or drawn or incised around dwellings or even simple campsites form protective nets that keep the corelings out. Badly drawn wards will spell doom for those sheltering behind them; well-drawn wards can be very powerful. For generations, the humans have lived in fear, doing nothing but hiding behind their wards each night and never fighting back. But for young Arlen of Tibbet¿s Brook, hiding isn¿t enough. He wants to bring the fight to the corelings, but to do that, he will have to rediscover the lost ¿fighting wards,¿ the symbols which injure the corelings rather than simply blocking them. He leaves his village and seeks his fortune in the naked night. Meanwhile, in another village, young Leesha finds her hopes for marriage dashed by her intended¿s boorishness but discovers that her true calling is herbcraft and medicine. And in the great city of Angiers, young Rojer, apprenticed to a Jongleur after losing his parents to a coreling attack, discovers hidden talents and strengths of his own. When these three come together at last, they may well change the world.Well-written, inventive, and gripping, ¿The Warded Man¿ is a must for fans of epic fantasy.
One of the best fantasy books I've ever read. While there are flaws in the authors writing, it reminded me of the early books in the wheel of time saga - where the written words don't matter and the story jumps to life in your mind. I was a bit unsure of starting the book, as the description didn't jump out at me as something I would enjoy, but wanted to give librarything a chance with it's suggestion. And I wasn't dissapointed. The story builds a bit slowly, going through a large amount of backstory on the main characters, but the author manages to keep it interesting and engaging the entire way through. I also quite enjoyed the underlying message in the books - that there is no one hero, and it is up to each person to be their own hero. Granted, in the telling we do see heroes emerge, which is what makes the story, but we also see many regular people in the story take their fates into their own hands, not relying on a hero, and become heroes.4.5 stars - would be 5 except I haven't finished the series and don't like to give the highest recommendation to a a single book. That being said if the series were to end here without completing, I would still give it a 4.5.Anyways I'm starting the next book right now :).
You meet Arlen, at eleven years old, while he and his parents are coming to town to assist and clean up with the few people remaining after the corelings, or demons, attacked the previous night - as they always do attack but the wards on the houses this night didn't hold. Then we meet the lovely Leesha who, at thirteen, thinks her life is perfect and on the proper path, but suddenly changes. Finally, we meet Rojer who as a three year old losses his parents to the corelings in an attack infront of him, due to neglected wards (not of their whole fault). These three people meet many others along their way and come across many rough patches to be the ones needed in the end.This book sets the stage of the fear, beliefs, and mentality of the people in this world. Along with creating some wonderful characters by what has happened, or not happened, to them. Arlen is the main character of the book, but you follow three the characters through part of their lives, at least the major parts. These characters grow dramaticly through the book, and I enjoyed watching them do so. Arlen is one of the few characters I have read who grows up to be what he wants, not because of an amazing mentor but because of the weaker influences in his life. He uses the weaknesses of others to be an influence to himself to be stronger and not as fearful as others. He didn't want to be like the others and watch or just be.The writing style in this book struck a cord in me, as for me it reminded me of a cross between Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Trilogy and Patrick Rothfuss's Name of the Wind. I have to say if you enjoy Fantasy, this is a must read for you. I don't know what it is but there is an attraction in their story telling that drew me in and kept me there, and Peter Brett now is in that category with them.The story is written as every word counts and means something. I found the descriptions of details wonderful, as I could see the corelings, happenings, and the scenery clearly in my minds eye. I knew and understood what the characters felt. I learned a lot of the corelings and characters at a gradual pace as to not overwhelm me but to keep me wanting more as well. The story does have a quest in it, but it is more of an adventure to travel.The ending seemed a little rushed for me and for that reason a little less exciting for me compared to the rest of the book. But, this was a small thing compared to the books over all greatness.
Entertaining book.Main characters were all tolerable (at minimum), though I did prefer Arlen's POV. Because the characters are in different places, there were times when the actions (or consequences of those actions) of one character could be felt/heard by the others. It would've been nice to see a touch more of this.Lots of build-up of the characters as they're in separate places, so when the POVs merge it felt somewhat underwhelming. That is - lots of build up as separate POVS, but then very little is written on details of merging POV (made it feel a tad rushed). Definitely will pick up sequel when it comes out.
I completely fell in love with The Warded Man. It¿s so brilliantly crafted; all three perspectives were written wonderfully and believably, and the story was fast-paced yet developed fully. I loved each of the perspectives the same¿ I couldn¿t pick a favorite!I did notice the underlying, ahem, religious critique in there, and it made me love the book even more. If you be satirizin¿, I be likin¿ it. Let thy opinion by heard (through the subtext of your epic fantasy novel!)!The Warded Man is definitely up there on my favorites list, especially for the epic fantasy genre. Peter V. Brett, you killed it! (in the most positive sense of the word!)
The "prologue" of the three main characters weighs in at roughly a quarter of the novel's length, and is brutal to get through. A trend of modern adult fantasy is to skip the traditional genesis in favor of relating it to us through character interaction and flashbacks, or skipping it entirely. I prefer this style, since I read so much "young adult" fantasy, whose hallmark is certainly the origin story.Once the story gets going, however, I thought that Brett had a lot to offer. Of the viewpoints, Arlen's is the most interesting, and I was happy to see that his chapter lengths were both the most frequent, and the longest. The fight scenes were fun, as was the idea of wards in this demon filled world, and I enjoyed the idea of a society that let their past fade into myth and legend, and is now clinging to a desperate existence while trying to recover knowledge that the ancients took for granted. There are also mature themes going on in the background - power struggles between men, rape, incest, brigandry, exploiting faith in the frightened - that lend an adult twist to a book that seems to lack complexity.
Entertaining story about three main characters with archetypal skills. Interesting world and take on fantasy.
Entertaining, shows a demon world with humans relearning to fight back their world.
One of the best dark fantasies I have read in a long while. It has an engaging story with characters that you really feel for. I would recommend this to any lover of the darker side of fantasy.
Enter The Warded Man. Known as The Painted Man in the UK, this stunning new novel takes epic fantasy and adds new twists to a standardized subgenre. Debut author Peter V. Brett has written a tale about three young people and their quest to return humanity to its rightful place on top of nature¿s pyramid. In the world of The Warded Man, demons prowl the night. Rising from the ground at dusk, they do not disappear until the dawn. Humanity can only protect itself and its possessions by hiding behind painted wards, symbols carved or written on their homes. These ¿corelings¿ are part of the natural world and take the form of flame, stone, wood, water and wind. But they are extremely deadly, and any encounter with them is almost certain death. But mankind is slowly dwindling, as each night more and more corelings get through the wards and kill off more people. But humanity does nothing but cower, hoping that one day a Deliverer out of legend will come.Arlen is young boy, raised on a farm, who loses his family to the corelings. Forced onto the road, he manages to make his way to one of the few cities that remain. The circumstances of his leave him with a profound hatred of the corelings, and a desire to wreak vengeance on them and see humanity freed from the shackles the demons have put on them. Leesha is a young girl, near to womanhood, who is being abused by her mother and mistreated by the boy to whom she is betrothed. Rojer was disfigured at a very young age by corelings, but he wants nothing more from life than to become a Jongleur, an entertainer who travels from village to village, braving the dangers of the night.The primary story is Arlen¿s. We are not even introduced to Leesha and Rojer till much later in the book, and although they play a large role in the final battle of the novel, theirs is not the driving force of the story. It is Arlen¿s desire for revenge, for some way to get back at the corelings, which provides the motivation of the story.Brett is a spectacular writer. He writes unhurriedly, building his story and characters piece by piece, but he never lacks for action or human interest. Arlen is a character every young boy wants to be, strong and brave and willing to fight for what he believes. As the reader watches him grow and change into a man out of legend, the reader will become thoroughly invested. The dangers of the night keep the level of suspense high for the entire book. As each night falls the reader is left to wonder if the protagonists will survive. It is an edge-of-your seat sort of excitement, and Brett maintains that suspense level, without feeling the need to top previous encounters with an even more exciting one.If the novel has anything against it, it comes from the fact that most of the story is character development. Like many large series or planned trilogies, The Warded Man takes its time in building a consistent world populated by interesting characters. This means that there are no grand scale epic battles (even the final one only concerns a small village) where armies march against each other. The world is not changed, nor are the problems of the world solved in this story. That is left for later books. No, The Warded Man is about its three heroes, and their personal struggles to become something more than society would make of them. And too, the story is filled with the standard tropes of fantasy. The uniqueness of the story is in the concept of the wards, and the value of the tale is in the deft writing, but there are no surprises or new frontiers crossed in The Warded Man. The story even has the standard rape of the female protagonist, something that is rapidly becoming part and parcel with any epic fantasy with female heroines. Not that Brett doesn¿t write it well, or use it effectively, but there are other ways of creating life changing events for women, which was something Brett had done quite well earlier in the novel. The story is also not
I thought this was a good book. It was an easy read and I finished it in two days. The story jumps ahead years at a time in places and for that reason it is hard to follow sometimes. I would have liked the author to go into depth more about the main characters and thier journey to where they got at the end of book one. It seems at times when you are reading that you missed a couple of hundred of pages. When the warded man becomes who he is it is pretty awsome, but I would have really enjoyed reading about how he became who he is and reading about the journey that he did to get there. even with all that it still is a great read and such a fresh approach on the fantasy scene with new ideas. In my mind this would be a great book for teens getting into the fantasy arena.
I was initially drawn to "The Warded Man" by Peter V. Brett as I tend to prefer non-traditional fantasy (e.g. not high sword-and-sorcery); the premise of Brett's story was appealing: nightly demon attacks that make the people slaves to their fear, ward (symbol, rune) magic that holds them at bay.Brett did not disappoint. This is well-thought out and well-written story with flawed heroes that come to life and leap off of the page. Usually I read a book a bit at a time over several days, but this one drew me in as no other has in a long time. It was thoroughly engrossing and a pleasure to read. I could not put it down and finished it in less than a day."The Warded Man" is a stunning debut for Brett, and I cannot wait to see what comes next. This is one of the best fantasy books I have ever read. If you are at all a fan of the genre, I wholeheartedly recommend that you read this book. I would even go so far as to say that it is worth buying in hardcover and not waiting until the paperback is released. If you are not normally a fan of fantasy, try it anyway! I do not think you will be disappointed!