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Publisher's Summary

Peter V. Brett has won accolades from critics, fans and fellow authors alike for this riveting debut novel. The Warded Man features a world where demons stalk the night, hunting humans who have long forgotten the magic of their ancestors. But all is not lost, as some hold out hope that a savior will release humanity from the demons' terrifying reign.
©2009 Peter V. Brett (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Brilliant, with action and suspense all the way." (Best-selling author, Terry Brooks)

What listeners say about The Warded Man

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Amazing World - Shockingly Bad Everything Else

Quick version: Definitely read or listen to this book - but only the Arlen chapters, and stop reading after the chapter titled "Rebirth". You will be positively weeping that you had the privilege to read such an engrossing, engaging, and enjoyable hero journey. But step beyond those bounds, and you might be severely disappointed.

Long Version: I hate this book. Which is a shame, because up until a specific point in the story, I loved this book.

Most of the praise this book receives is very well-deserved. The setting is very interesting, the world-building is masterful and subtly oppressive. In a world where demons come out of the ground every night, there are no knights, there are no kingdoms, there is hardly even any communication between isolated villages more than a day's travel apart, and life is difficult and often short. The story does an excellent job of conveying this and putting you into that world and feeling the constant struggle that is day-to-day life.

The plot itself is well-written - again, up until a specific point. The story jumps between three characters telling their stories until they inevitably intersect in the book's final events.

The reader is introduced to the first character, Arlen, at the age of 11 and follows him into his late 20's, and through Arlen's eyes, we see the hardships of daily life in this world, and how his perceptions change as he grows older and more experienced. Arlen is a character that is engaging, sympathetic, and refreshingly deep. The struggles he faces (internally and externally), and the choices he makes in the face of those struggles, are very relatable - really the story of Arlen is just a joy to follow, not much more can be said to quantify that. He should definitely have been the sole protagonist of this book.

At this point, the review will talk about the extremely poor character development present in the other two characters and will include spoilers for the story.

The second character, Rojir, is shockingly uninteresting. His story is very simplistic and has little meaningful impact on anyone or anything. His personality is minimal, so there is little enjoyment to be had reading his sections. In fact, there really isn't any aspect about his story that isn't done better in Arlen's or Leisha's sections. He generally just feels like a character added to be there to do things it wouldn't make sense for the other characters to do. Towards the end of the book, Rojir is given a magical ability in a frantic attempt to keep him relevant. There was one moment where the hope of Rojir becoming an interesting character appeared, when Rojir learns that the man who had raised him since his parents died in a demon attack was, in fact, responsible for his parents dying during said attack. However, the promise of meaningful character development disappears when that man dies moments later, and the subject is never brought up again. It's my humble opinion that Rojir could have been safely removed entirely from this story with some moderate editing.

The third character, Leisha, is a woman, which was a serious mistake because the author fundamentally does not understand how to write female characters. You see, while Arlen and Rojir (but especially Arlen) face some interesting, relatable, and VARIED conflicts in their stories, every single conflict Leisha faces is tied to her sexuality - specifically that she is a virgin. I am not exaggerating in saying that the single most important aspect of Leisha's character is the fact that she has not had sex yet.

When I started an Arlen chapter, I would think "What places has Arlen traveled to since last time? Does he still regret the people he left behind? Does he still feel the urge to settle down and start a family? Will he try to find and reconcile with his father?"

When I started a Rojir chapter, I would think "Will Rojir ever make it as a minstrel? Is this the chapter where he discovers the truth about his parents? Is he going to start being interesting this chapter?"

When I started a Leisha chapter, I would think "Is Leisha finally going to have sex"

I cannot overstress what a garbage character Leisha is. Every single conflict she comes across, every single obstacle in her life is the same thing:

- deal with a rumor a village boy spread about sleeping with her
- not get raped by the guide she hired to take her to the city
- deal with catcalls from patients she treats at the hospital
- be sad about not having children
- decide whether or not to have sex with that same guide in exchange for another passage
- get raped
- be sad when the stranger that saved her after the rape won't impregnate her

and this is BOOOOORING! Leisha is never challenged in her profession as a healer, there's never a situation where she has to face a disease she has never seen before, or use her wits to quickly brew a potion under stress - her skills are never tested because the only meaningful quality she has is her virginity. It's not even necessary to bring up any feminist theory when talking about Leisha, because the ultimate result of her characterization is that she is a dull, tedious character that illicits no emotions except the cheap shock from her inevitable rape that any self-aware reader can see coming from a mile away.

Once the titular Warded Man appears, the story takes a sharp nosedive in quality. The Warded Man is written like a middle school boy's idea of a cool character: he punches demons to death and fights in his underwear, heals wounds at superhuman speeds and can run miles without tiring. He rides a black horse with super-cool armor with horns that carries like 20 spears, and it fights demons too and can follow commands and isn't afraid of anything. A perfect character is dull so flaws are manufactured, awkwardly inserted, and never brought up again to give the illusion of depth. It's clear that the author struggled to end the book, so the final quarter of the story is a frankenstein's monster of overused fantasy tropes: the Warded Man preparess a town of simple villagers against an army of demons, training them to fight and laying traps around the battlefield ahead of time, giving Braveheart-like speeches before the battle, and all the protagonists are hailed as heroes the following morning before setting off into the sunset together. The climax of the story is a long and tedious account of the Warded Man killing demons like a video game character as they assault a town of villagers the reader has no reason to care about. The final slap in the face is a last paragraph of sequel-bait copied right out of a straight-to-dvd film.

I'm having difficulty articulating how disappointed I was to see all the amazing bits of the first 75% of this book soured and ruined by the last 25%, as if someone had taken the first half of an amazing novel and replaced the ending with amateur fan fiction. As a whole, I would strongly recommend against this book, but I stand by the statements I made above: Arlen's story is a beautiful tale of defiance in a world gripped by fear, of difficult choices and pain in pursuit of dreams.

Arlen's story is worth experiencing. And to keep from souring that story, I strongly suggest you do not read the rest of The Warded Man.

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good overall, but with some flaws

For the most part, I felt like this book was worth the credit and I enjoyed the story. But there are some disclaimers I'll make, so you can judge if this is right for you or not, because I was fairly undecided myself on whether to purchase this one or not based on some of the reviews I read.

Story wise, I didn't find many plot holes or aspects that were not well thought out, and (once it gets going) the overall story here is really very good in most respects. But, there is a very slow start to the story going on- This is a "coming of age" story, and probably 2/3rds of the book is backstory. Unlike "The Name of the Wind", there is no present-day narrator to frame the story for you. There are pros and cons to this approach, as you don't know who will make it and and who won't, but you also don't have as good a grasp on exactly what tale is being told, or from whose perspective.

Indeed, the storyline switches between 3 different individuals at various points, and their plots don't weave together until fairly late in the book. So you have to get up to speed with 3 separate plot lines and their unique circumstances.

The narration here is very well done and adds to the story- kudos to Pete Bradbury.

Then there is the immorality factor. The author seems to do a fair bit of exploring a LOT of the failings of human beings- cowardice, greed, lust, adultery, incest, cruelty, pride, betrayal, pettiness (just to name a few) and using the depravity of people to juxtapose the stark and raw evil of the demons. As the book says, even the worst of people are better than the demons (though sometimes they give them a run for their money!). Even still, It didn't feel quite as depraved a world as George Martin's "A Game of Throne's" did (at least to me anyways).

Of course, the sexual aspects the story explores tend to stand out pretty strongly for most reviewers, and it is discussed a fair amount in the book. But while it was a re-occurring aspect of the tale, I didn't feel like it overtook the story. I can see that people who are sensitive to these aspects would be offended (particularly if you've (or know someone you know has) been victimized at some point in your life). But much like Rothfuss' "The Wise Man Fears", I generally felt that these aspects added to the world the author was creating and gave another level of realism and depth to the characters, for the MOST part.

Having said that though, I do concede that the actions of the main female character of the story do not seem at all consistent physiologically with someone who would have suffered through the violation she did by the end of the book. I will also conceded that listening to that aspect of the story (while relatively non-graphic) was fairly uncomfortable- this is not a children's tale (nor was "The Wise Man's Fears"). Sex is certainly not shied away from in this tale, but neither is it welded without care to the overall story being told and the world being created. Still, it's not for everyone.

Overall though, I don't regret the purchase and will continue with the series.

49 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

The novel is amazing granted a few things, first the character set up is at least 35-40% of this story. The writer does a great job showing their development vs telling it via reflection, you can see the characters growing. Secondly, this book is intended to be one of several, because of that there seems to be a lot of minor loose ends. All of that aside, I think the novel was amazing. Very well thought out, structured and executed. Amazing character development and over all interesting. It kept my attention from the very beginning. Now for the narration, originally I thought Pete Bradbury was going to be too dry to endure. Surprisingly this novel suits him allowing him to show case his control over his voice. However, there are few times where knowing who is speaking can become problem. Overall, the novel is very pleasing and highly suggested.

156 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Come on man!

I really tried to like this book. Really I did. The story was good enough. The author is where I have my problem. Sexist, misogynistic, and at times just plain stupid. If I hear someone talk about loosing their flower one more time I might just lose it. All the men are obsessed with sex, and all the women just want to have babies. That's about 1/3 of the book. Oh and the women are constantly being verbally, physically and sexually abused. Yeah. Big winner winner chicken diner.

10 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Contrived derivative drivel

This novel has an incredible amount of stupid characters doing stupid things and nonsensical sexual violence including incest and both female and male rape. I hear the rest of series gets dumber and rapier. I’m done. I think something is wrong with the authors brain. Dude has a serious rape fetish. No character is safe. Also, if the character isn’t being raped, he or she is a Mary Sue.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Should Have Read It Long Time Ago

I had this book for months, but kept on postponing it.. Its really good.. Not as jaw dropping as other big epic books like the wheel of time... but it is a good series...

I think that this series could have been one of those long series with several books to build the characters and the story plot... i'm not saying it was fast in this book, but it could have been longer with more characters and plots..... There were so many chapters were the author jumped for few years...

The Warded Man is based in a world were demons exist and attack humans every single night. People defend themselves by using wards and hide.... A boy grows up hating how everyone hides and no one attack those demons...

In general, I have enjoyed reading this book, and the character build up was good... its ending was very well and made me jump and purchase the 2nd book and read it already.

enjoy!

28 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

entertaining escapism

If you're looking for entertaining, competently-written escapist fantasy, you could do worse than the Warded Man. As might be expected in a book where bestial demons rise out of the ground every night to terrorize human beings protected by fragile magic wards, there's not a whole lot of subtlety to either the characters or the writing, but I found the story engrossing nonetheless. Brett confidently draws the reader into the fine details of his three protagonists' lives, gradually adding twists and internal conflicts as they grow from childhood, and I found myself staying awake "just one more chapter". The world reminded me a bit of Stephen King's The Wizard and the Glass, with its part medieval, part Wild West, and part post-apocalypse setting, though the mix here leans more towards the former.

Yeah, the book has its flaws. The prose can be adverb-heavy, the side characters are a little exaggerated, and the demons themselves have all the personality of monsters from the computer game DOOM. (On a side note, some readers have also complained about the rape scenes, but I didn't find the author's choice to include them objectionable -- I thought they fit in with the harshness of the novel's world.)

But, overall, I found The Warded Man an enjoyable read and got sucked into the book's world. I liked the conflicted central characters and the portrayal of human society in uneasy coexistence with an ever-present (if mindless) supernatural threat. Usually, I don't mention the audiobook experience, but, in this case, the narrator, whose voice was perfect for this kind of tale, probably added something. Give it a shot. I immediately downloaded the sequel upon finishing.

57 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

SOMETIMES HIDING KILLS SOMETHING INSIDE YOU

BOYS WILL BE BOYS, EVEN WHEN THEY ARE MEN
I have been accused of disliking books, simply for their length. This soon to be classic, is an example of how to write an 18 hour book and keep my interest. It is full of characters who we grow with. The characters include both genders and even different age groups. The demons are scary and almost invincible. Zombie lovers should like these bad guys. This is my second read and I enjoyed it as much as the first time. It is entertaining from start to finish.

WHAT YOU PUT IN YOUR MOUTH BECOMES A PART OF YOU
This starts out like a western, but ends up more like Dune. It is an apocalyptic story. that some might compare to Revelations in the Bible. Preppers should like the message about taking charge and not cowering and accepting. I have a reputation for liking the sophomoric, but this does not fit that category, this is an intellectual adventure. When enough time has past this will be considered a classic.

Bradbury does a great job narrating.

141 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Where did this great story come from?

Why does a great story like this have to be found on accident? How come this book is not being advertised? This is as great as any fiction I have read! The next one is soon to be out as well! If You mix the best of King with the best of Gaiman and combine the best of Koontz as well then it will be something like this!!!!

65 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

It is hard to keep this much disbelief suspended

Brett builds characters extremely well. He spends the entirety of "The Warded Man" developing fascinating personal histories for the three who will, presumably, be the prime movers in the action of the rest of the story. Their journeys are tortuous, often surprising and quite satisfying. By the end we know them intimately so that their every action is rooted in convincing personal history.

Unfortunately I did not find myself nearly so convinced of the reality of the world in which the author places his wonderful players. We are asked to believe that no one in this civilization has ever conceived of the most obvious responses to the plague of demons which terrorizes them. As a result, the whole structure of the story is weakened as we ask ourselves "why don't they just...." Of course they DO eventually "just...." But by asking us to assume a complete lack of imagination and initiative on the part of the entire population of the book, Brett immeasurably weakens his story and renders his marvelously drawn central characters slightly ridiculous.

The most important central conflict Brett paints in this book is between the people and their own immobilizing fear. At some moments that comes through clearly and powerfully, but fear and simple stupidity are two entirely different things.

58 people found this helpful