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Book Review: The Painted Man


Mankind has ceded the night to the corelings, demons that rise up out of the ground each day at dusk, killing and destroying at will until dawn, when the sun banishes them back to the Core. As darkness falls, the world’s few surviving humans hide behind magical wards, praying the magic can see them through another night. As years pass, the distances between each tiny village seem longer and longer. It seems nothing can harm the corelings, or bring humanity back together.

I’m personally not one to invest in book series. I enjoy reading a single book from beginning to end and know that when I read that last word of that last sentence at the end of a book, that I am done – no “To be continued”. When it comes to a series, it means it is the end of the first part of more to come. And that is, for me, annoying. It is just a personal thing for me even with movies but, maybe I’m just impatient. It could also be due to the fact that I read Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series (7 voluminous volumes) and if you have read that…you should totally understand my apprehension to book series.

Anyway, when I randomly picked up The Painted Man, I was not aware it was a series so I started reading with this whole story already unfolding in my head about the events in the book and how it would progress. Oh how wrong I was.

I personally don’t think it’s the most eloquent of books in terms of vocabulary, but then again I may be comparing it to the previous book I read, The Night Circus by Erin Morgensten who wrote that amazing book in… well I guess higher English? Not that The Painted Man was written in simplified English nor was it sub-par English so it is to no offence to Peter V Brett, he did a fantastic job but the two styles were significantly different. I did also consider the context that each of the stories occur in and I guess that also affects language and other nuances in vocabulary.  One thing I must applaud is the imaginative curses the author gets the characters to use which ties in to the world they live in.

The story moves along fairly well. It paints the people, characters, lifestyle and other facets of the fictional world so well that it is believable. The characters are consistent and real and they are not invincible. Most movies, books etc have a tendency of making the main characters narrowly escape a situation unscathed or with a flesh wound. Not in this case; they are as vulnerable as the sub-characters around them and I love that about the book.

Character development was fantastic. Most of the time we see characters established already with occasional flashbacks or comments eluding to their past. In this case I grew up with the characters, saw their struggles, their thoughts, their goals and values and by the end of the book I felt like I personally knew them which made all their experiences that much more real.

I have already ordered the second book The Desert Spear and look forward to devouring it as I did The Painted Man. Is it a series worth investing in? I can’t say yet but so far so good.


Next Book Review: The Night Circus



About Nthato Morakabi

Nthato Morakabi is a South African published author. He has short stories appearing in both international and local anthologies, and has published his first book, Beneath the Wax, which opens his three-part novella series "Wax". He is an avid reader, blogger and writer.

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