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The Warded Man: Book One of The Demon Cycle…

The Warded Man: Book One of The Demon Cycle (edition 2010)

by Peter V. Brett

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1,9901343,388 (4.11)96
Title:The Warded Man: Book One of The Demon Cycle
Authors:Peter V. Brett
Info:Del Rey (2010), Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Already Read, Your library, Audio Book
Tags:demons, fantasy, magic, epic fantasy, the Demon Cycle

Work details

The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett

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English (131)  French (2)  German (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (136)
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"The story is set on a probable post apocalyptic world where people hide in the night, afraid of its perils. It starts with a clear show of blood, fire, destruction and fear. Human race, once strong and prosperous, now hide in the night, fearing its creatures: evil elemental monsters known as “corelings”, which, fortunately, hide from the sun with the same gut-gripping fear as their prey run from them.

After getting to know a little about the world's history itself, we get to know three strong children that thrive from all these calamities: Arlen, Leesha and Roger. Their story lines are developed at more or less the same time, carefully written as to show character development bit by bit.

Arlen is a courageous and self-driven boy. He was brought up in one of the many small villages, helping his family with common farm tasks. Is through his point of view that we first see the only apparent weapon disposed by humans as a mechanism of defense against the corelings: wards. These are kind of archaic runes, which provide magic shelters that corelings are not able to break through. Arlen displays a natural talent for drawing wards, which might be one of the reasons why he is not so passive and scared of the corelings as other people seem to be. As he grows up, he becomes more and more rebellious until he cannot abide the hiding in the corners anymore.

On the other hand, Leesha is the classical farm girl, also brought up in a small village, who’s wishes are simple: get married, have a family, be happy and grow old. Although you might think she has a perfect life, this notion is rapidly unmasked. She faces loads of struggles, being the major one the fact that she has a somewhat disturbed, egocentric, vain and selfish mother, with which she cannot be in the same room without having an argument. Leesha, although a little stubborn, has a really sharp mind, which guides her to her path as a herb gatherer apprentice (after some embarrassing events, of course). The cool thing is that she is not that nerdy girl which some authors like to place as a commoner living in a farm. On the contrary, she is highly principled and has a strong personality.

We don’t get to see a lot of Roger at the beginning, mostly because he is the youngest of the trio. At first he was just a happy boy living in another village with his parents, until certain events change his life forever. After this, his story jumps some years and we see him as a pre-adolescent, living as a jongleur apprentice in one the kingdom’s capitals. Later on he develops his musical talents and grows up to be a really good musician – which turns out to be much more important than anyone would have expected. Again, Brett’s innovative mind caught me off-guard.

The author uses the plot-jumping tool with such competence that you feel like you are watching those children grow up, passing through childhood doubts, youth fears and tough decisions. At some point you begin to feel as though you really know them, you start fearing for them and swearing when they choose unwisely. It is crazy, really.

The major plot is much more complex. It is full of politics, greed-driven conflicts, interest confrontations and, more importantly, criticism directed to human morals and our fear of changing and taking control of our lives and responsibility for our actions. There are new languages made specially for the story, new geographic features, different cultures and much more. All in all, it’s a marvelous book, totally worth your time.

Interesting quotes that I didn't include in the review:
""Welcome to adulthood."" Cob said. ""Every child finds a day when the realize that adults can be weak and wrong just like everyone else. After that day, you are an adult. Like it or not.""
“We are what we choose to be, girl,"" she said. ""Let others determine your worth, and you've already lost, because no one wants people worth more than themselves.""
""Fear and pain are only wind. Let it blow past you.""

The Last Passage
The two slender corelings stood atop the rise for several minutes, silent vibrations passing between them. Then, as one, the coreling princes turned their eyes to the north, where the other human mind was said to be.
One of the mind demons turned to its mimic, kneeling back in the form of a gigantic wind demon, and walked up its extended wing. As it vanished into the night, the remaining mind demon turned back to regard the smoldering enemy camp.
" ( )
  AdemilsonM | Sep 2, 2015 |

Somehow I acquired two free copies of this book with different titles. It's not bad first-book-of-a-fantasy-series; the world where humans are besieged nightly by deadly demons, and must ward them off with hastily-drawn magical sigils, is well realised, and the brutality of the human society conveyed effectively. Didn;t grab me sufficiently to make me want to look for the next in the series; my bar for big fantasy series is quite high. ( )
  nwhyte | Jun 21, 2015 |
Good first book of a series interesting magic system. The main character wasn't very likable. ( )
  GSB68 | May 19, 2015 |
This book ended up being much better than anticipated, and much darker than it appeared to be at first glance. The story starts with young characters, which usually means the story is going to be geared toward young adults, and thus lighter fare. It is not light fare. There isn't much gore or graphic language, but the setting and events are dark and serious, the characters are flawed, and bad things happen to good people.

The main character(s) are fully fleshed, and you will actually care about what happens to them. It is not a very nice world, and, as you can imagine, not very nice things happen in it. There is, fortunately, a very satisfying sense of "justice is served", even though this takes a long time to come to fruition. You will spend the better part of the book being frustrated with the unfortunate circumstances of the main character(s), and, perhaps, wondering how the different characters will tie together since each main character starts off in his or her own thread. Don't worry, they do come together in the end, and in a mostly believable way.

The setting, including the demons, are believably staged, and the people in the story behave in normal ways.

I bought the next book in the series as soon as I finished this one. ( )
  crazybatcow | May 4, 2015 |
Despite its flaws, any book that keeps you reading to 3am definitely has something.

I was very resistant to reading this book despite the good reviews and the regularity it popped up in my recommendations as one of my major dislikes are stories with children as main characters.
Twenty years removed from my teen angst, I find it difficult to relate to stories about teenage struggles of finding your way in the world, finding identity and dealing with adult oppression. The nervous fumbles of first love are just over worn and tiresome. These may be universal concepts, but as I age I find the perspective vastly different. My hopes, dreams, desires and fears are different 20 years on. But enough about me :->

This book covers the lives of three main characters - Arlen, Leesha and Rojer. At first this book was a major struggle. Peter V. Brett immerses us into the day to day life of Arlen,and I mean immerses. Fully the first quarter of the book is dedicated to Arlen's background. When it appears the real meat of the story is about to begin, we switch to Leesha, and with a groan I prepared myself for another extended play of Leesha's life. Thankfully, Leesha's introduction is shorter (though still around another 10%) and once again, just as the story seems set to take off, Rojer is introduced. Ugh. Rojer's introduction is mercifully brief. I felt as if I had started this book twice the opening half was so hard work. IMHO, I would have preferred two separate books as an introduction to the series, or a severe curtailing of a lot of unnecessary words. After all, you know that these characters will cross paths eventually. Ever heard the quote "Sorry this letter is so long but I didn't have time to write a short one"?. That is the book.

When the book finally gets going, I found it a very compelling read. Brett has created a really interesting concept in the corelings and he does a great job in describing small village life. I really felt like I was reading about the Dark Ages.

For me, this story is of the same ilk as Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I think Name of the Wind is a much meatier read with a stronger style of writing (I thought the first half of Name of the Wind was the best Fantasy I'd read since Tolkien), but I much preferred The Warded Man as a story. Why? Hmm..I'll need to compare the two.

Name of the Wind does a much better job of getting the story going with it's brooding atmosphere and mysterious characters. There's also a real deft touch to the prose that flows nicely, as opposed to the jolting staccato of overwrought ham-fisted adjectives in The Black Company stories. The Warded Man would really have benefited from this. Show, don't tell. I don't need, or expect a characters entire back story before the plot gets moving.

That said, the way The Warded Man tracks the struggles and experiences of the main characters created a much more natural progression of character development for me. In Name of the Wind, Kvothe's "struggles" hardly seem like that at all and are more a vehicle for demonstrating just how wonderful he is at everything so are hardly struggles at all. The characters in The Warded Man are likewise prodigy's of their own particular fields, but in a more down to earth way. For me, this made the characters far more interesting.

I found the 2nd half of The Name of the Wind become a poorly written young adult story that floundered poorly when the Romance was introduced. Unfortunately, this also affects The Warded Man, but far far later in the story - still the sudden development of a romantic element so soon after horrific events misfired very very badly and rang so unlikely. Why do fantasy and sci-fi writers handle romance so poorly? If it kills the story, get rid of it.

Given the amount of time spent detailing the back story of Arlen, the rapid shift to his young adult life was disappointing. He develops into a really cool character, but we miss so much of that development. That was the meat and potatoes of the story for me, and it was completely missing - will this be in further novels in the series? I'm with the author if he wants to shroud that period is mystery, but we could have seen more. Particularly as we'd suffered through so much of the dull unnecessary aspects of his young life. The jump betwen the boy and the man it a leap a little too far. It makes me further wish Arlen's story had been captured in isolation in a single volume.

I don't normally write so much, and though my review may sound negative, I really did enjoy this book. I guess I'm just frustrated at the potential it had to be a real corker. I haven't give much away of the actual story itself on purpose, suffice to say, I found the world events and hints of the lost advanced culture freatly to my liking. This book comes as close as anything in recent years to telling the story I want to read.
( )
  StaticBlaq | Apr 26, 2015 |
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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 your language.
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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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