Friday, April 9, 2010 | |

The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett (review by Darren)

Today, we're going to be talking about The Warded Man, by Peter V. Brett. (Caveat: This book contains adult language and adult situations, and does it oh so well.) To give you a preface, it came out a couple years back, and caught everyone's attention because it was written in a very unorthodox fashion: on his Blackberry, while taking public transit to work. Odd, yes. But apparently effective, because his book is quite simply one of the best pieces of fantasy I have read in quite a while. My brother gave it to me to read, and lo and behold, as is always the case, Bryce was right again. It's a fine piece of literature, and I'll tell you why: because it seems real. Does it seem strange to you that I say a fantasy book seems real? Well, then you misunderstand me: magic isn't real, neither are demons, or many other fantasy tropes. But this book makes them seem alive, and if life isn't real, then what are we?

    The characters, mainly Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer, all start this book out very young: we meet Arlen when he's 11, Leesha when she's 13, and Rojer when he's 3. By the end of the book, Rojer is 17, which makes Leesha 27 and Arlen 25. Now that we've done our math, we begin to see a bit of interesting thought: how does he cram 14 years into one book and not make it seem like a history book? It's only barely more than 500 pages, and yet... I don't think there was ever a slow moment. I began reading this last night: I read for about 10 hours total, and am now done, and it's almost one in the morning. I couldn't put it down, and as soon as I finish writing this review, I will begin counting the seconds until I can read the second book, The Desert Spear, which Amazon says will be out on the 13th of April.
    The plot, a mixture of twisted fantasy tropes and ingenious new ideas, is basically this: every night, demons come out of the ground, and if you aren't behind some kind of warded shelter, you are dead, because the wards for fighting demons have been lost for... well, for a long time (it doesn't give you exact time frames, which makes sense with the amount of knowledge lost when the demons started destroying things). Seems basic, right? Well, only if you look at it from that perspective. The world is immersive, and the characters are literally alive, making you feel their emotions and see from their eyes, almost like you were playing a virtual reality game, rather than reading a book. I've spent 10 hours with them, and I'm pretty sure I could make full 3d models of them (and I'm no good with 3d modeling).

    It speaks as a testament to the writing prowess of Mr. Brett, that I can say things like that with a straight face, and completely mean them. I am looking forward to, well, anything that he writes from here on out. Please, if you read this, I'd love to be an ARC reader of yours in the future, and best wishes on your career. I give this book a 9.5 out of 10, only docking half a point for a slight plot hangup that I had (why didn't Arlen immediately go back to Cob with the new wards? I think he would have done that, but that's my opinion.) If you can ignore that plot point (and please don't kill me if that spoiled anything for you, I don't think it will) then it gets a 10/10. READ THIS BOOK IMMEDIATELY. I command it. That is all.


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