Saturday, 30 November 2013

Demon Cycle review

This is a quick (no spoilers) review of Peter V Brett's books in the Demon Cycle. It started off as a trilogy but seems to have become so popular that are rolling it out as a series.

So will you be tempted to give it a try? Let's find out!

The concept that drives this series that Demons have been rising up from the core of the earth at night and hunt humans. This has left the human populations isolated and fractured as if you aren't safely behind a ward net (the wards fend off the demons) then you are dead as the demons are really tough. Your guide through the first instalment is Arlan Bales, a young teenage boy who longs to get out of his crappy life (to be fair life is generally pretty crappy for everyone!).

The three books so far are:
The Warded Man (originally the Painted Man in the UK)
The Desert Spear
The Daylight War

Rather than do one of those 'let's review it by telling you the story' reviews I'm just going to break it down into the two categories.

Things you might like:
- The demons have a great variety and the mysteries behind where they actually come from and their motivations (are they just wild animals or is their true evil in their actions?) builds well with little pay offs as you go along.
- The world fleshes out well as you get opportunities to see the different ways the human populations deal with the Demons.
- The main characters really develop over the first two books as you see an interesting story about finding your place in the world from multiple characters view points.

Things that might make you go hmmm:
- If you are not a fan of the George RR Martin style sex scenes you may find some of the chapters a little awkward. Full credit to Brett as it must be difficult to portray the importance that sexual plays in the development of a relationship but some of the scenes seem to go on a bit longer than needed given that I had already understood the characters motivations.
- There are large sections of the second and third books that jump back in time to help build understanding and sympathy for the newer characters, which some people may find frustrating as you just want a continuation of the plot you were just reading.
- Whilst what comes next may seem odd bear with me. If you don't like stories where characters develop in power to extreme levels from a more gritty realistic beginnings (I know I'm talking about Demons and Wards but it makes sense to me) then this may start to run away from you a bit. The use of these plot devices really helps to open up interesting parts of the world and get you speculating but after a while you could start to get the superhero problem of nigh invincibility.

Over all I think this series is one of the most interesting and engaging series I've read and I'd recommend listening to the stories in audiobook format as the narrator does a stellar job.

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