Initial Notes: The Demon Cycle was going to be the next series in my Baby Bookmoon, following A Song of Ice and Fire and Red Rising, however Miss Quinn made her arrival before I finished A Dance with Dragons. Adding to this incentive was the recent book release of Brett’s The Desert Prince in early August. Having enjoyed this literary realm the first time, I was looking forward to the refresher before the new series commences. Needless to say, I loved my reread arguably more than my first time through this material as familiar characters who at first seem inconsequential, we know in hindsight play much larger roles in the series as a whole. Having first read The Warded Man back in January 2017, almost four and a half years ago, it was wonderful to revisit and be reminded of where this series started, with the knowledge now of where Brett will steer the story. I decided to keep my review from 2017, as you can see below, with the change in increasing the score by half a point.
Overview (No Spoilers):
My friend Cory has been encouraging me for months to pick up the Demon Cycle series. We even made a deal, he reads Queen of the Tearling and I pick up The Warded Man, however I kept delaying holding up my end of the bargain. With the holiday season in full swing and an open day ahead of me I finally picked up The Warded Man and finished it on one sitting! Brett created a fascinating world that immediately draws the reader in and immerses them into a realm where a variety of demons terrorize the night. The humans are overwhelmingly helpless to their lot in life as they have no weapons to fight back against the demons, only holding them at bay with a series of Wards. Much of this book is set up to explain the basics of the Wards, history of this world, and the layout/cultures of the various large cities. The novel follows three point of views, Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer, through their various experiences. These characters are absolutely delightful, especially Arlen as they encounter many adventures, each broadening our knowledge of the realm in which they inhabit. Overall, The Warded Man is well worth the read and I can’t wait to see where the series is headed! There is so much mystery, intrigue and history within the debut of this literary world that the additional books will only build upon the solid foundation that The Warded Man has established, setting the stage for a truly in-depth, detailed series.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- I loved how much Arlen’s character grew in the series. He started out a meek little farmer’s son, grew into an adventurous Messenger before finding the ancient spear covered in forgotten attack Wards. The betrayal of his friend in Krasia to steal the spear was incredibly hurtful on many levels. Especially for Arlen, I feel as though it was an awakening moment for him to realize that all men did not have the same overwhelming goals as he did to unite and kill the demons. Why did Jadir betray him?
- After the betrayal, Arlen learns that he could tattoo the attack Wards on himself, hence becoming the Warded Man to battle the demons himself. Why does he not seek to teach other his ways? Why is he a loner? He appeared to have lost the bigger purpose of his goal until meeting Leesha.
- I hated that Arlen did not go home to the Messenger and his wife that had taken him in after he left to become a messenger. How could he just abandon the people that supported him and had treated him as a son?
- Leesha was such a strong female character, however after her assault on the road her romance with Arlen seemed forced. How had they interacted enough for them both to go again every instinct they had exhibited within the book against forming a romantic relationship?
- I loved the battle scene at the end of the book with the villagers finally holding their ground!
- I never felt a deep connection to Rojer, however I found his musical effect on the demons fascinating. What does it mean they can be influenced by music so? Arlen hints that he thinks there is more to the demons, what till this mean for a bigger picture? Also, will Arlen travel to the Core?