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
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.
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. . ."
I like action, gore, zombies, and non-fiction.
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! :)
This was well worth the credit. If you enjoyed the first book in the series you will like this one to.
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.
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.
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.
Avid Zombie fan who's starting to listen to more and more Fantasy and Sci-Fi stories. So, my description is apt to change. Dog lover who's known to have cats. LOL C# coder, part-time prepper, B movie fan, AMC watcher, recovering but successful day trader, perpetual student, overjoyed uncle, former adrenaline junkie with a flare for cooking, and lots more. LOL
after listening the warded man, i was psyched to listen to the desert spear. i wanted arlen's, leesha's, and rojer's stories to continue, but i was shocked that the whole first part was about jardir! i was soo pissed at jardir for betraying arlen that i had a hard time getting into jardir's story. eventually, i settled down and got into it.
the world of the krasians kind of reminded me a lot of the fremen of dune. male children are taken from their families at an early age and trained in fighting techniques. those male children that don't pass as warriors either die in training or become kafeet (spelling?) the lowest rung in society.
whereas most of the world fears the corelings and hide behind wards at night, the krasians test their manhood and skills by fighting corelings in their maze.
the krasians are composed of different tribes/families and there's a lot of infighting b/ween them. i thought this was well done. the political jockeying was interesting w/o losing you in who's who and who's doing what and why. make sense?
women for the most part are abused and used. however, there is a fierce fighting force of women magicians who are feared. they add an interesting twist to a male-dominated society. they remind me of the bene gesserit in dune.
the whole first part outlines jardir's story- how he became the krasian leader. it tells jardir's side of the story as to why he betrayed arlen. jardir's story ends with the krasians blazing out of the desert to conquer the rest of the world. the krasians are harsh to those they conquer. they kill the men, rape the women, and force the children to conform to krasian customs. it's like a krasian jihad- submit and convert or die.
when we finally get back to arlen, leesha, and rojer, we find them teaching and preparing their community to fight corelings and the krasians.
arlen travels between kingdoms, trying to disguise himself, while trying to pass on his knowledge of the fighting wards. his reunions are touching, and i'm glad peter brett didn't put them off.
while traveling through the towns, arlen runs into his first love interest, renna, who becomes his apprentice. arlen is darker in the desert spear, fearing he's becoming more coreling than man, but he makes some surprising discoveries.
when arlen is away, the krasians witness leesha, rojer, and her town fighting corelngs at night. jardir and his men help kill the corelings and a tense peace is found. jardir invites leesha and rojer to come spend time with him. there is an interesting culture clash to listen to.
ok...i've rambled on too much, giving away some of the story. overall, a great follow-up. i was pissed at first listening to jardir's story, but i definitely got into it. by the end, i was longing for the 3rd book, the daylight war. i can't wait for it!
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.
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