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The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett

The Warded Man

by Peter V. Brett

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1,6541164,330 (4.14)85
2009 (6) adventure (8) ARC (11) coming of age (12) dark fantasy (9) Demon Cycle (10) demon trilogy (7) demons (63) Early Reviewers (21) ebook (21) epic fantasy (13) fantasy (359) fiction (88) hardcover (7) horror (7) Kindle (16) magic (36) novel (11) read (21) read in 2009 (6) read in 2013 (6) science fiction (6) series (10) sf (8) sff (10) signed (10) to-read (80) unread (8) wards (10) wishlist (9)
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Showing 1-5 of 114 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I got this as an Early Reviewer copy, and I was excited to finally read it as I'd heard good things about it. I wasn't disappointed, either! I really enjoyed it, and I'm glad that I don't have to wait to get the next installment. The setting is original with enough complexity to feel alive, but not so much that you need an wiki to keep it all straight. The characters are distinct, interesting, and relatable, and the story is engaging. It takes a little while to get going in the beginning, as most fantasy novels do, because it has to set up the story and the world and, in this particular case, three separate characters in three separate parts of the world have to be introduced. But it's not a slog, and once it really got going I found I had trouble putting it down. And, even though it's dark fantasy, it's not incredibly dark, which I prefer. I love Game of Thrones, but I need a break after each book to read something a little more cheerful. This one isn't "cheerful", but there's an element of hope in this world that makes the darkness more palatable, for me anyway.

I highly recommended this to anyone who enjoys fantasy. It doesn't do anything really different, but what it does, it does well, and makes for an extremely enjoyable read. ( )
  iamjunko | Apr 18, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was an advanced copy I won here. I was instantly drawn in by the world and characters, which reminded me of Barbara Hambly's novel "The Time of the Dark" but done better. The descriptions of the different creatures and the warding were understandable but not too detailed to make you nod off, while the affects on the civilizations from limited mobility were well documented. Each character had deep motivations for risking their lives by moving beyond the safety of their warded homes. I highly recommend this book. ( )
  Gkarlives | Mar 3, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Summary: Every night, once darkness falls, the corelings rise. Humanity used to know the secrets of how to fight them, but they have been long since lost to time. Now the only things that hold the demons back are wards, carved or painted or drawn, and even the wards can fail. Only the bravest or most foolhardy would spend a night out of doors, so most folks are isolated in small villages, barely dreaming of the warded cities, and their population numbers are dropping. Arlen is a young boy when his mother is killed by a coreling, and he flees his village, disgusted by the cowardice of his father, and seeking some way to fight back. Leesha is a young woman in another village, bitten by small-town small-mindedness before apprenticing herself to the local herb woman. Rojer is little more than a baby when his parents are killed in a coreling attack, and he grows up in the care of a traveling magician and storyteller. These three young survivors must somehow find a way to resurrect the secrets of the past, if humanity is ever to defeat the demon plague.

Review: This book was a solidly enjoyable epic fantasy. I've seen a lot of work out there comparing it to The Wheel of Time or The Kingkiller Chronicles, etc., and I think that that is spot on. That doesn't necessarily mean that I liked it as much as I liked those other two books, but they are very definitely hewn from the same stone. Part of The Warded Man's charm is how immediately and comfortably familiar the world feels, how easy it was to sink into it. (Although more than once I rolled my eyes at the description of a "jongleur" and their itinerant juggling and singing and storytelling and multi-colored patched cloak and thought "Just come out and call them "gleemen" already.") The story isn't quite a standard quest story, but it's not quite not a standard quest story, either. (There's a prophecy but no sense of a predestined hero, and no Dark Lord (yet).) Brett builds his world, the rules of how the corelings work and how the wards work, very well, almost invisibly, with details interwoven with the action and no trace of an info-dump. The demons are effectively scary, and the isolated, regressive world feels organic to the story, although I don't know that I'd really classify it as fantasy horror.

There were a few things that bothered me about this book. First is the pacing feels a little bit off, mostly Brett's juggling three POV characters, and he tended to give each of them multiple chapters in a row, which works in some ways but also meant that sometimes hundreds of pages would go by between a character's chapters (mostly Rojer - we're introduced to him relatively late, then he's mostly forgotten about for a hundred pages at a time… more than once). Each individual segment of Leesha's or Arlen's was smooth, and totally absorbing, and the story really picks up once the three of them were together, but some of the shifts in the first half of the book were a little jarring. I also wasn't crazy about the writing style. It's straightforward, with no ornamentation, and something about it felt like it was geared towards a younger audience. It's mostly unobtrusive and focused on the action, but there were times when it felt a little dumbed down. And finally, some of the gender politics in this book squicked me out a little bit. This wasn't enough to put me off - probably because it felt like the misogyny was legitimately the characters', not the author's, and some of the icky-feeling gender roles did at least make sense as a part of the world Brett was building, and played a role in the story. But even when the misogynists are clearly the bad guys in the story, their presence still made me a little uncomfortable. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: The Warded Man isn't breaking any new ground in the epic fantasy realm, but it's a worthy debut that should make fans of the genre feel right at home. ( )
  fyrefly98 | Feb 26, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett tells a story of a land where every night, horrific demons rise from the earth and prey upon the people, cowering in their homes. Their only defense against these creatures of the night are wards, symbols that inhibit or weaken the demon's abilities. Every night, the people lie in terror in their homes, and every morning they bury their dead and rebuild their houses.

The narrative follows three young people: A young man who turns to being a Messenger, a person who braves the naked night between villages, to deliver messages and supplies; a young woman who turns away from the typicial life expected of her to become an herb gatherer; and a young man, injured and orphaned by demons, who is taken under the wing of a jongoleur.

Each of these protagonists excels in their respective field, as well as makes several key discoveries regarding the demons who constantly plague them. Needless to say, they start gears rolling which eventually empower humanity to fight back.

Brett's story is a slow start, establishing the past of these characters in hopes to better acquaint the reader with them. While this does help bind the reader to the characters, it can be a trudge for some. Several times, this novel strikes the reader as a "first novel," both in its aspirations, as well as its flaws.

If you like tower-defense fantasy, you may find yourself enjoying this book. As for myself, I found it to be weak tea against some more common fantasy mainstays (and I'm not counting the graphomaniacal blurber on this book's cover). It's worth a read, but by no means spectacular. ( )
  aethercowboy | Feb 17, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I am very happy I received this book through Early Reviewers. Somehow this fantasy series escaped my notice before. That is no longer the case, Peter V. Brett has officially received my notice. Well written and engaging. Well done world building (a particular favorite element of mine when it comes to judging fantasies). I will be reading more from Peter V. Brett in the future, that's for sure... at the very least more books of the demon cycle will be purchased soon. ( )
  madnessabides | Feb 16, 2014 |
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To Otzi,
the original Warded Man
First words
The great horn sounded.

Arlen paused in his work, looking up at the lavender wash of the dawn sky. Morning mist still clung to the air, bringing with its damp an 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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Variant Titles: The Painted Man (UK) = The Warded Man (US).
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.

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Book description
Sometimes there is very good reason to be afraid of the dark...

Eleven-year-old Arlen lives with his parents on their small farmstead, half a day's ride away from the isolated hamlet of Tibbet's Brook.

As dusk falls upon Arlan's world, a strange mist rises from the ground, a mist carrying nightmares to the surface. A mist that promises a violent death to any foolish enough to brave the coming darkness, for hungry corelings - demons that cannot be harmed by mortal weapons - materialize from the vapours to feed on the living. As the sun sets, people have no choice but to take shelter behind magical wards and pray that their protection holds until the creatures dissolve with the first signs of dawn.

When Arlen's life is shattered by the demon plague, he is forced to see that it is fear, rather than the demons, which truly cripples humanity. Believing that there is more to his world than to live in constant fear, he must risk leaving the safety of his wards to discover a different path.

In the small town of Cutter's Hollow, Leesha's perfect future is destroyed by betrayal and a simple lie. Publicly shamed, she is reduced to gathering herbs and tending an old woman more fearsome than the corelings. Yet in her disgrace, she becomes the guardian of dangerous ancient knowledge.

Orphaned and crippled in a demon attack, young Rojer takes solace in mastering the musical arts of a Jongleur, only to learn that his unique talent gives him unexpected power over the night.

Together, these three young people will offer humanity a last, fleeting chance of survival.
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As darkness falls each night, demons known as the corelings rise, and three young survivors of demon attacks risk everything to recover the secrets of the past to defeat the corelings and stop their relentless assault against humans.

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