Peter Brett’s The Desert Spear continues the post-apocalyptic adventure he began in his highly acclaimed debut, The Warded Man.
The world remains under siege by demonkind stalking the land when the sun goes down. But a new hero has risen from the desert. Claiming to be the mythical Deliverer, Ahmann Jardir now rides alongside the allied desert tribes of Krasia. Jardir and his fellows are on an epic quest to vanquish the demons plaguing the world and bring humanity back from the brink of extinction.
Listen to the first book, The Warded Man.
©2010 Peter V. Brett (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
If you are like me, you're going to be a little disoriented when you start this book. It does not continue where The Warded Man left off. Instead Brett takes us back in time to learn of Jardir and the Krasia, but don't worry because he will get back to Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer. So, is this detour into the past worth it? Absolutely, Brett expands his setting quite a bit in this novel, adding new corelings, explaining the Krasia culture, and introducing new ways in which the corelings fueled magic of the setting can be used.
In short, like The Warded Man, there are all the aspects that build an interesting fantasy novel. There is not only the battle with the corelings and Jardir's desire to unite/conquer humanity, but discoveries about the world, and the relationships between the characters to keep the reader hooked.
Pete Bradbury continues to be an excellent narrator for this series.
My only disappointment was when I heard, "The End. You've been listening to. . ."
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
I found the second book in Brett's series to be almost as entertaining as the first, though the flaws in his writing seemed more evident this time around. As before, the story is pretty character-driven, and this book fills in the backstory of the Krasian warrior Jardir, revealing him to be a more sympathetic figure than he seemed in the first book. The reader learns a lot about the desert culture of Krasia, which resembles a mix of the Middle East and ancient Sparta. While this digression away from the events and characters of The Warded Man takes up about a third of the book, I much enjoyed the detailed exploration of a world quite different from the "western"-style lands of the north.
Eventually, the novel gets back to Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer. At this point, the story flounders a bit as the characters get sucked into endless personal drama and repetitive demon-fighting. While Brett is by no means lacking insight into human behavior, some of his plot choices feel cheesy and contrived. "How can I make this story more interesting?", the author seems to be thinking, "I know -- I'll make Leesha and Jardir fall for each other." Also, my second Peter Brett reading experience made me painfully conscious of his tendency to use the same verbs and phrases over and over. Not a page goes by without someone shrugging or scowling, and "he embraced the pain and let it pass through him" becomes a familiar mantra.
All in all, though, I was in mood for escapist fantasy, and this book was a satisfying if not altogether stunning continuation of its predecessor. The invasion of the north by Krasia and the differences between the two "Deliverers", not to mention Arlen's steady shift towards the dark side, should offer the forthcoming third book plenty of plot fodder. Not quite up to the standards of George RR Martin, IMO, but solid.
Love epic fantasy, war stories, monsters, and zombies.
Boy am I glad I decided to use my credit for The Desert Spear in spite of the bad reviews!
I loved The Warded Man, and was not disappointed by TDS. Not as good as TWM? Maybe, but certainly better than any audio book I've listened to in a month (and I go through them fast).
I find that I'm more critical of audio books than regular books, because of the added element of the narration. A poor narrator can ruin a good book, and that stinks. But TDS has the same narrator as TWM, and his voice and intonation is perfect for the story.
Really, I don't understand the poor reviews. If you liked TWM, you'll like TDS. I just hope Peter Brett writes more; I love his style, and I love the world he's created. To the core with the poor reviews! :)
After listening to The Warded Man, I couldn't wait for the release of The Desert Spear. I was not disappointed. This book was every bit as good as the first, and I enjoyed every minute of it. The Warded Man is a must read before this book since this is the second book in a series.
Can't wait for book 3.
I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!
This is book two of the series, but if this is on sale and The Warded Man is not, go ahead and get it. Even though this is the second book, you will not be lost if you start here and then go back to The Warded Man as a prequel. If both are on sale or you are going to spend a credit, then get The Warded Man, just because it is a little better.
This starts out with a coming of age story of Jardir, who becomes a mighty warrior. Jardir was a minor character in book one. These warriors make the fremen of Dune seem like wussies. This story takes up about a third of the book. Then we go back to The Warded Man's life and his friends. Here is where it gets a little slow. For a while we have a Peyton Place atmosphere and then a Clint Eastwood western. If Peter would have cut this Peyton Place part a lot shorter this might have been as good as the first book.
In this book we get introduced to Bank Demons and the really cool Mind Demons. The Mind Demons will probably play a big part in the next book. Maybe we will get a coming of age story on the leader of the Mind Demons.
Toward the end there is a really cool cat fight between two stunningly beautiful and tough women that is worth the price of the credit.
At the end of this book you are left wondering who is the bad guy and who is the good guy. I love books with grey areas.
Pete was a great narrator. Peter and Pete make a good team.
Wow, gotta take a minute to give props to the narrator, who does an amazing job with this book. His characterizations are excellent, and I love his voice. The first book in the series (The Warded Man) was better from a sympathetic character perspective. We were introduced in The Waded Man to the central characters of The Desert Spear, and they were not the good guys in the first book. In this book, Brett has done an excellent job with world-building, clearly this author's strength. You may not like the main character in The Desert Spear, but by gosh, you'll understand why he is the way he is, and why he does the things he does. Look forward to more books by Brett.
Peter Brett hits his stride in this book (unfortunately it's a long one at times), and the other reviewers are mostly accurate.
1) I disagree that the sex scenes were too graphic, they were slightly uncomfortable, but that was their nature. There was really nothing described in such detail that it was ridiculous and graphic just for the sake of disgust.
2) As to the love story, it's hard times in that world, and I for one would have probably stopped listening if there had been any MORE romance. The characters are just complex enough to not seem 2-dimensional, but many parts of the character development could have been cut down. There were a number of times I just wanted to fast forward, rather than re-live what I am sure to the author was a very important building block.
There are some pretty big plot holes, and it is frustrating at times. Such as why would people not ALREADY have warding cloaks? You would think that the ward to turn fire spit to "a cool breeze" would have been on a few headbands by now??
In all, the book is enjoyable fantasy if you can suspend your irritation at ANY lack of ingenuity on the part of the warders, then you'll enjoy the book.
I'll look forward to the 3rd installment, but I would really like it if he tightened up his prose a bit for the next book.
I strongly suggest reading the Warded Man first before picking this sequel up. Also, be aware that the first half of the book is from Jardir's point of view (as indicated in the synopsis). That being said, if you enjoyed the first book, then you will enjoy this one as well. The characters are definitely maturing, but also have not changed radically from who they were before. We are also given a slight glimpse into the inner workings of the Core and the demons that live there, along with being introduced to some new elite demons that aren't the simple, mindless brutes that sprout up from the ground every night. I was very happy that they kept Pete Bradbury as the narrator as he does an excellent job. I look forward to grabbing the third book as soon as it is released.
Although the first book took some time to get there, I thought the final destination was pretty good. Like the first, this second installment took time to arrive, but it just didn't deliver in the way the first one did.
The system of magic is fleshed out a bit more, and that was good to see since the first book was a bit one-dimensional in that area. I thought the writing was good, and the narrator was good, but sadly the plot was lacking.
I found myself frustrated at a few of the characters actions which were so vastly inconsistent with their stated principles/morals/philosophies/what-have-you. For example Leesha fawning over a tyrant who's come to kill and dominate when she's *so* clearly anti-violence. How does that work? That's like the president of PETA falling for an animal torturing psycho.
Yeah, there was a fair amount of sex in the book - more than I'm used to reading. Sex I don't mind, but the rape related stuff was too much for me.
Residential architect in Texas. Avid fan of Tolkien and Sanderson (are there 2 more opposite fantasy writers?) Very varied tastes in writing
This book follows much of the formula of the 1st book in the series (The Warded Man) but, seems to intensify both the good aspects of that story, and the not so good ones.
My main issue with the story is that probably the 1st third of the book is the back story to Ja-Hadir (the man who steals the spear from Arlen in the previous book). It's not a bad backstory- it does flesh out a lot more of the character and give more insight into his culture and the reasonings behind why he does some of the things he does. But it's not the story we are left with at the end of the 1st book, and I found myself impatiently waiting for the backstory to stop and the timeline of the 1st book to pick up where it left off. Bad news, you've got several hours before that happens, and I found myself relatively disinterested and impatient with Ja-Hadir.
Secondly, it's obvious that the author has drawn a LOT of inspiration for the Crasian (not sure how to spell these things- it was an audio book) culture in the story from Middle Eastern, "Arabic" societies- and the more strict ones at that (Taliban comes to mind). While there are aspects of that culture that are very honor bound, it is within the framework of their society's references, and as such it's pretty offensive to my western ways of thinking. Misogynistic, caste based, zealots, uncompromising, elitist, and a "weak serves the strong" instead of a "strong protects the weak" viewpoint make it difficult to view them in a positive light, or even to want to know more about the culture in general, much less read about it for several hours.
Also, the author uses a lot of culture-specific words (and I mean LOTS of them). Which is fine, except it forces you to go "now what the heck is a 'Kafite' again?" every time you hear the word until it's meaning syncs in your brain. Might want to keep a notepad handy for the 1st third of the book so you can keep it all straight- he explains the meaning once, and then throws the word around whether you caught it's meaning or not. A LOT.
My final gripe: Harl Tanner. I've don't think I've ever loathed a character with as much vehemence as this one- and we get a lot more of him in this book. He's a bastard, and reading about his exploits are just plain difficult. Guess it's not bad to have a person you hate in a story, but it's a hard and dark read to go through- that's all I'll say.
Good parts: The story all comes together masterfully at the end, though maybe not with every ending as you'd want it. Still, at the end, I looked back and it and was pleased with the story as a whole. It probably could have been shorter and not lost much, but I did really like the character arcs, particularly with the main characters from the 1st book. It felt like it really delivered in that regard, even better than it did in "The Warded Man". And of course, the narration is top notch- great job by Pete Bradbury.
Despite my review griping a fair amount about the story's flaws, I gave it high marks and felt it was well worth the credit, if you don't mind a fair bit of dark tragedy mixed in with your hero story.
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