The first book is great, but this one is even better. There is more action between humans, marshal arts, political intrigue and suspense. Beyond that the demons become more varied and interesting. The characters are very believable and so are their societies' responses to the problem of deadly night monsters. This story is bigger than a trilogy and has the potential to go on for many books.
For me the series improved with the second book. A new main character was introduced and the first part of the book was all his. I found his story more compelling then the original protagonist. The second hate off the book was quite satisfying once all characters were back in play. Looking forward to the third.
With each book in the demon cycle I find myself more and more drawn into the world of Thesa. I hope that after book 5 Peter V. Brett decides to write a pre-qual series.
As the book's title implies, book two of the Demon Cycle series focuses much more on the people that live in the southern desert city of Fort Krasia, also known as The Desert Spear. These battle hardened warriors have fought against the demons for thousands of years and have created a society, and a religion, completely around that endeavor. Ahmann Jardir, the Krasian who we know well from his interactions with Arlen in the first book, is now elevated into a POV character and his back story is explained in great detail. Context is given to his rapid rise to power among his people as well as the extreme actions that he took in book one where Arlen was concerned.
Initially this switch in focus is off-putting as all of the main characters from The Warded Man are absent from the first third of the book. Eventually the story merges Ahmann's tale into the lives of Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer and then things really start to build up. Jardir's betrayal of Arlen has shaped the course of both of their lives and the consequences of that act are extremely far reaching. As the trajectory of their lives start to converge again it is easy to see how an epic confrontation is in their future. Both men are hailed as the new Deliverer by their respective peoples and despite their many differences they both seek the same goal - total eradication of the demon hordes. Each pursues this objective in their own way.
Speaking of the demons, they too have taken notice of the rise in the demon-killing prowess of both of these men and a new class of demon is introduced and dispatched to kill them both. These mind demons are partnered with a mimic demon that can switch forms as needed and neither of these supposed Deliverers is aware of the threat that now stalks them. This hunt goes on silently in the background while both men elevate their own demon-fighting prowess and the abilities of those around them.
The overall story remains compelling and seeing two unique cultures approach the demon threat in different but similar ways makes for a great story. Mankind is on the brink of extinction and still the cultural difference between two cultures is as much of a threat to human survival as the demons themselves. Peter V. Brett lets the reader experience all of this from the point of view of multiple interesting characters, each of which must re-evaluate their own beliefs and desires to find a way to be successful in an ever more complex world. Both Ahmann Jardir and Renna Tanner from the first book are elevated in stature with interesting, and often heart wrenching, story lines.
Pete Bradbury delivers another excellent performance and this series is certainly enhanced by his reading.
This book contains the story of Jardir, Arlen's nemesis from Krasia and that's part of why it got such low reviews from me. The summary does mention this but I had hoped that it would be interspersed with the current story and it wasn't. The whole first third was Jardir's story and I ended up skipping any chapter that didn't contain the stuff he was doing in Rizen. I'm guessing it was done to help the readers understand the character, but it was like reading the story of a abusive husband. You know he's abusive because his father was but it didn't leave me liking him any more.
Finally after about the 8 hour mark we got back to the original story and it was fantastic! Completely fantastic! I was grateful that I didn't put the book down like I had wanted to a dozen or more times getting to this point. The Warded Man is my favorite character in all these books and he has stayed mostly true to form. I thought he took on too much guilt in some things people said when he went back to revisit his home(s), but I think that's mostly because I personally thought he was so awesome. The only thing that really bothered me was that the narrator started reading him with a different voice at the end of the book.
Unfortunately the greatness didn't last... The Warded Man split off from the group to deliver news of the invasion and Lecia and the gang went back to Cutter's Hollow. Lecia's actions in her parts of the story were so implausible that I thought maybe she had been replaced by her evil twin. Jardir came to Cutter's Hollow looking for the Warded Man and instead of doing something leader-like (I can't think of what and apparently the author couldn't either) she went and fell into a romantic entanglement with him. I won't go into detail but I couldn't understand how she could be so naive or blind or stupid to do such a thing. Considering how she yelled at Arden when he said that war was their only option I can only assume that she took her mother's path and followed her loins to Rizen to visit with Jardir when he asked them to come despite all the evidence that he and his people abused, raped killed and worse when they conquered the city. I could go on, but trust me it only gets more unrealistic from there.
In summary: I loved it, I hated it. I wanted more, and I almost put it down almost a dozen times. Horrible I know. Even now after all this I can't decide whether or not to use a credit on the next book and then just skip chapters to the story lines I want to see continue. This book is the perfect example of why mult-character stories are so hard to do well. But for god's sake at least keep the characters true to form!
The first book was great then Peter Brett suddenly decide that he needed his main character to speak hillbilly and fade to nothing while become weak and introducing even more characters. I definitely skimmed this book. Not buying the next one and it makes me sad I read the first one. cliffhanger (and not a very clever one at that) just kind of stopped the book dead if it wasn't there already. it's like the author forgot to submit half the book to the publisher. Needlessly long back story, useless filler then a dead stop. extremely disappointed. moving on. - Shaun
loved it, a fantastic follow up to the warded man! couldnt stop listening! so glad i added it to the library.
It's hard to follow at the beginning seeming most like a story of a parallel post apocalypse ISIS with the thinly disguised Islamic jihad sand dwelling enemies of the northern peoples peril from them. But the author quickly involved parallel stories of the previous heroes and brought a complexity of characters crossing each others paths. The "Desert Spear" Chosen one was made sympathetic to the Northern people in his occupation unlike the real jihadists of our world. You still hope for their loss to the Northerners and that all the forts will join forces to beat the evil of both the core and desert dwellers.
Arlen develops powers and victories in his own story line that are beyond your figuring it out early and you must read to the end to enjoy this development in the story!
After a break from fantasy for a bit this was a pleasant return. That is to say it didn't seem overly simplified or predictable. Overall it was an enjoyable listen