The Desert Spear – Demon Cycle #2
Peter V. Brett
Bought a copy from Exclusive Books – Greenstone
Tedious 3 out of 5
The sun is setting on humanity. The night now belongs to voracious demons that prey upon a dwindling population forced to cower behind half-forgotten symbols of power.
Legends tell of a Deliverer: a general who once bound all mankind into a single force that defeated the demons. But is the return of the Deliverer just another myth? Perhaps not.
Out of the desert rides Ahmann Jardir, who has forged the desert tribes into a demon-killing army. He has proclaimed himself Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer, and he carries ancient weapons–a spear and a crown–that give credence to his claim.
But the Northerners claim their own Deliverer: the Warded Man, a dark, forbidding figure.
Once, the Shar’Dama Ka and the Warded Man were friends. Now they are fierce adversaries. Yet as old allegiances are tested and fresh alliances forged, all are unaware of the appearance of a new breed of demon, more intelligent—and deadly—than any that have come before.
I had high expectation for this second book in the Demon Cycle series. Especially since the fifth book “The Core” was announced this year. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. The first book was absolutely brilliant in my opinion. I looked forward to seeing Arlen embrace his destiny.
The story is broken up into two parts, with the third becoming a clash of the first two. We are introduced to Ahmann Jardir as both a young boy torn from his family, and as the Shar’Dama Ka (The Deliverer) who looks to conquer the world to fight the demons. We see how he becomes the Shar’Dama Ka, and understand why he raids the lands conquering.
The second half of the story brings back Arlen as the Warded Man, and to the people in North, the Deliverer. He himself hates this name. Nonetheless he does what he has to, to arm the people so they may fend of the demons by themselves. We also meet the previous cast as they have grown into their roles. Leesha has taken over for Bruna and runs Deliverer’s Hollow as their Herb Gatherer. Gared Cutter has become a formidable demon hunter. Rojer continues his role as Jongeleur and remains at Leesha’s side while Arlen travels. And many others come together.
The story also revolves around this idea of the Deliverer, the chosen one who will unite mankind in their battle against the demons, yet as you may have gathered, there can only be one Deliverer. Is it Jadir or is it Arlen?
Then we have the Demon Princes who have risen from the core, and take in the proceedings from the outskirts. Waiting. Watching. Learning.
The writing is slow and tedious in most parts, where we focus on the individual lives of the main cast, mainly Jadir, Leesha and Arlen (also views at others – like Abban – who will play a role later in their lives including a cast from Tibbets Brooke and various duchy). Not that this is a bad thing, but compared to the first book it feels like reading side arcs that have some relevance to the bigger story but not the most important.
The writing also tends to be repetitive, where we watch a scene twice but from different people’s perspectives but with nothing new but the new character’s thoughts during the scene.
The fighting was epic, even though some fights seemed to be taken for granted because, well, you can’t go into in-depth action with every fight scene.
The characters were well written and remain consistent throughout this new book. Demon magic and its use has been expanded to show how the people have started to move from helpless demon-fearing fodder to a formidable force. Character growth.
It wasn’t my favourite book, and I am unsure whether or not I will complete the series. The whole book felt drawn out and I was reading just to finish rather than to enjoy. It wasn’t bad either so I can’t say I hated it, even though there were times I was sure I did. If I do read the next book (which I own) I hope it will be better.
The Desert Spear was published April 13th, 2010. (How long have I had these books o_o)
Did you know: Peter V. Brett also wrote the Red Sonja: Unchained graphic novel for Dynamite Comics.
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This was an honest, fair review from all appearances.