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REVIEW: 'The Desert Spear' by Peter V. Brett


  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...



   He 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.

REVIEW:
 
This book starts off in the desert lands to the south that were touched upon in The Warded Man and the first hundred pages spends time on backstory of a character; Jardir, that was briefly in a few scenes of the first book.  Much of the rest of The Desert Spear focuses on Jardir even when he comes north and starts interacting with the characters we know from The Warded man.

I found this a bit disappointing myself.  Perhaps I had fallen so much in love with the three main characters and didn't find myself caring much for Jardir, but anticipating the return of a cast of characters you love then then not getting to them for a hundred pages of the book was a bit unsatisfying.  It was not a deal breaker though.  As you can see I'm essentially explaining why I rated this book a four instead of a four and a half or five.  It didn't ruin the experience for me.

The good news is that the character and those around him grew on me a bit as the story went on.  I can't say I liked him as much as the other three from the first, but it definitely added to the richness of the story as he was integrated into it.  There may also be readers that not only like this character more than me, but also enjoy the unexpected direction the book starts with.

As the Desert Spear unfolds, our warded man is seen as many as this story's "chosen one", a title he doesn't want.  Jardir however, has lead his people out of the desert to begin a war against the demons and rally the rest of the world whether they want to join him or not.  Having one character shy away from the mantle and the other embrace it and chase after it makes the story more interesting as they are pitted against each other in different ways while still being on the same side against the demons.
I also enjoyed some of the B-characters that have become common in the story, though the main character of Leesha has begun to gnaw at me a bit.

I felt a little like I was reading a middle book.  Which I was-- this being the second volume in a trilogy.  I don't think a book has to feel that way though.  It seemed a little bit like Brett didn't know what to do with the three main characters once they grew up until the finale and throws new stuff at us and focuses on that instead.  Very little was shown of the warden man's point of view in the book and little happens with what we knew of the plot from the first book until closer to the end of this one.

BOTTOM LINE:

I can't imagine a reader that enjoyed the Warded Man not liking the chance to return to Brett's world here.  Even if the story takes different directions than I anticipated, wanted or even liked, it is still a good book.  My hope is the final volume brings it all together and doesn't muddle it further.  Which is what good writers always end up doing and Brett is definitely a talented writer.

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