Happy Release Day (UK and AU) for The Core!! My review for this last installment of The Demon Cycle was originally posted back in late August, deliberately sans the spoiler laden additional insight section. In this repost you’ll find my thoughts and questions regarding The Core restored in the aforementioned section.
Overview (No Spoilers):
In January, The Demon Cycle series had so consumed my thoughts and attentions that I’d even begun to ward everything in my dreams. For months now, I’d been eagerly, if not impatiently, anticipating the release of the culminating novel, The Core. When Brett offered a diorama contest to win an ARC book I couldn’t resist throwing my hat into the ring! See the last section of my Birthday post for a general synopsis of how I made my submission for the contest, however I must say it was quite entertaining brainstorming and constructing the diorama, in many ways harkening back to projects of my youth. Needless to say, I was ecstatic when the winners were announced on my birthday and my design, inspired by an iconic scene from The Warded Man made the final cut. After a few days, my brand new ARC found its way into my mailbox and has hardly left my side since. To say that The Core is action packed would be a significant understatement, as I could hardly stand to put down this hefty novel. Each POV, spread throughout Thesa brought forth much edge of your seat, page turning anxiety as the readers endure a whirlwind of emotions regarding the fate of many key characters. My favorite aspect of The Core, was the exploration to novel’s namesake, emerging as a whole new world within this already well established literary realm. One regret I had, of which I’m completely at fault, was that I had yet to read the novellas for this series, e.g., Messenger Legacy, The Great Bazaar, and Brayan’s Gold, that would have served to build the backstory and depth for a few relatively new characters, such as Derek Gold, Stasy Talor, and Briar Damaj. As I had a large time gap between The Skull Throne and this final installment, in hindsight I should have fit in the novellas into my reading schedule, alas let’s chalk it up to inerva. Regardless, any fellow blogger that frequents my reviews knows that an easy way to my literary heart is by highly detail oriented, thorough world building, of which Brett has excelled at throughout The Demon Cycle series. While it tugs at the heartstrings to come to any journey’s conclusion, Brett has taken readers on quite the adventure, filled to be brim with action, while managing to span a whole spectrum of emotions, with the overall result of which The Core providing a most fitting ending to this delightful series.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- What will happen with Gared’s illegitimate daughter and ‘strong’ legitimate sons for the daughter to inherit his seat?
- Throughout this read I enjoyed reflecting back on the origins of our main characters who have significantly grown from their initial introductions in the series. They’ve matured, traveled, learned, and endured so much (pain and happiness).
- The twist of Leesha and Ahmann’s daughter being a hermaphrodite, due to twins were merged as a result of magic use was quite intriguing. What will happen eventually to Olive as she gets older? With the traditional nature Leesha’s people it seems likely that if the secret is somehow revealed the child or grown adult would be shunned or worse.
- I could not get enough of the journey to the Core! How did Ahmann’s ancestors build such amazing structures in such hostile environments such as our heroes experienced? Kaji’s war must have been so different than the one waged by Ahmann and Arlen. I realize the demons added many traps in the 5,000 years since, however it is still interesting to ponder as the modern adventure was comprised of such small group of people, whereas the ancient struggle encompassed vast armies. What caused Kaji to falter so close to the end goal? In some ways their trip reminded me of Dante’s because every hurdle passed brought forth some new unthinkable horror. Also, were there not some Wizard of Oz/Poppy Field vibes in the parasitic meadow traversed by Arlen and crew?
- What was the unexpected gift that Kaji left Ahmann based on Inerva’s prophesy? Was it the ruins of the Spear of Ala or his people that the demons had been using as a larder for thousands of years that helped distract the hive? What of the dogs that had gone wild? Was Renna correct in thinking that they might be able to redeem themselves somehow?
- How did Tibbet’s Brook fare during the waning despite the ominous warnings?
- What happened to Fort Krasia during the Waning in which our other protagonists were fighting for their lives? Did the Majah make it back in time? Will Ahmann forge a peace with them again or will the dice fortunes hold true that blood will be shed in order move them?
- The final battle scene with the Queen of the Demons absolutely lived up to the hype and build up! While I was well aware that not all of my favorite characters would survive this major battle, I wasn’t prepared for Arlen’s death. With that being said, his death was by no means generic, as he becomes one and traverses the Core and essentially a martyr to save everyone else.
- When Arlen dissipates in the end, he sees other continents and the sheer vastness the world. As such, how do people in other areas deal with the demons?
- What happened to the Alagai Ka mind demon that accompanied our heroes into the Core? Was he exterminated in Arlen’s wide sweeping foray or has he survived to plot another day? Or was he also absorbed into the Core like Arlen?
- How will the Ansome/Asakaji and Ashia reunion go?
- What was the part Abban had to play in Sharak Ka? Was it fighting the mind demon to keep secrets about Arlen and Ahmann from the Queen or was there organizing aftermath?
- Will humans continue manipulating magic with out demons? Will the healing skills learned using hora be sustainable without demon bones readily available?