Overview (No Spoilers):
One of the first books I’d read in 2017 was The Warded Man, whereupon I binged on the Demon Cycle series until I’d in short order caught up and was left waiting for the final installment of The Core. After thoroughly enjoying the series, especially the action packed roller coaster finale, Brett and I collaborated on a post, filled with spoilers that addressed some of my lingering remaining questions following The Core. During our conversation, when questioning Brett regarding fate of Arlen’s hometown he had alluded to his upcoming novella, Barren holding the answers to many of my remaining queries. Needless to say, I was itching to pick up Barren, as I’d suspected, based on the title of the novella, that the main POV was going to likely be one of the most intriguing characters from Tibbet’s Brook, Selia. Throughout Barren we experience the novel perspective of a small town resisting the corelings with minimal magic or powerful weapons, while simultaneously caught up battling their own inner politics and fraught history. The high stress dynamic of the upcoming Waning parried well with the increasingly intense flashbacks of Selia, Jeorje, and Raddock when they were young. Moreover, this novella served to add significant depth to key characters in Tibbet’s Brook, ultimately providing rhyme or reason behind many of their decisions and actions. Barren as a whole felt as though fit right in as a continuation to The Core. Overall, Barren sheds the light on mystery surrounding the fate of isolated Tibbet’s Brook while simultaneously adding depth to characters who have been present from the very onset of The Demon Cycle.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- Jeorje Watch is so very dislikable as a person and having grown up in a tiny, rural town myself I couldn’t help but draw some associations to real life Jeorjes I know and actively avoid.
- It was quite satisfying to have Jeph Bales reveal that mysterious Messenger was actually his son Arlen, especially as the community was ballooning with rumors and myths regarding this legendary character.
- What would have happened if Selia had tried to make peace with adult Raddock, instead of allowing Jeorje to ally with him? I doubt his stubborn nature would have allowed him to truly make peace with her, regardless of any lengths she would have employed to sate him due to their unfortunate history.
- Poor, poor Anjy. I experienced growing dread throughout this read it appeared as though the story was leading up to a stake in the night as a mirror to Renna. Regardless, her fate was truly heartbreaking.
- What happened to Raddock’s sister, Deardra? I can’t recall her in standing out in the Warded Man, however perhaps a reread of the original series should be in my future.
- Did little kid, Harl Tanner actually obscure the wards on the school house on purpose? What other hateful things has he done throughout his life before we met him in the Warded Man?
- Hog seems like such a meticulous person, especially with numbers. I was surprised he would have purposely stated the voting results incorrectly and would risk being known as a cheater. In a small town, such things would not be forgiven or forgotten easily. Will there be repercussions for his credibility after the events of the last battle have settled down?