Time for the second book of The Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett. I was eagerly looking forward to reading this book after finishing The Warded Man several days ago. To me this book had a lot to live up to as I enjoyed the first book thoroughly and thought that it set up many interesting premises that I thought would be interesting. This shouldn’t really need to be said, but this review will contain some spoilers for The Warded Man.
Second book in The Demon Cycle, sequel to The Warded Man
The same setting from the first book, obviously, although this book focuses much more on the Krasian people and their culture than the first book. The author also shows more of the world in a much different light because the characters are not as afraid of the corelings as they were in the first book.
This is where the book fell flat in my opinion. The book focuses on the same three characters who were primary to the first book while also introducing several new viewpoint characters. Of the new characters, Jardir, Abban, and Renna were briefly included in the first book, and all three are given much larger roles in this story. Most interesting of the new characters, although the rarest of the viewpoints, is the viewpoint of the mind demon, who we find shadowing Arlen as well as Jardir throughout the story. Although there were more viewpoints, for a while I wasn’t quite sure how they fit into the story and in many cases didn’t feel like they worked as well as they could’ve. The character’s arcs seemed forced at times and at other times simply made no sense. Having watched Leesha develop over the first book to where she was a strong and competent character and then watching her in this book go back to being walked over by her mother was irritating. Similarly with Arlen, the author proposed a wonderful new path to take him down, examining the effects of warding his body, but this isn’t really explored until the end. The overall direction of all of the character arcs seemed to be to regress and take a slightly different direction than I thought they were going after the first book.
The plot also suffers from the same regression that the characters followed. The book begins by going back to ten years before the first book started so that we can watch Jardir grow up and go through the arc that we saw Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer go through in the first book. While it was interesting to see some of the Krasian culture, to me it felt like it should have been in the first book or not included at all. We already know from the first book that Jardir is a powerful leader and that he takes the Spear of Kaji from Arlen, I didn’t need to know everything about how he grew up. It felt out of place in this book and started to irritate me after a while, especially because many aspects of it ultimately don’t matter to the rest of the story. We know quite a bit about the Krasian culture from Arlen’s viewpoints in the first book, and most of the extra information from the first 200 or so pages of this book wasn’t really needed for the rest of the story. Many events in the book seemed forced as the story seemed like it was mostly in place to bring other characters up to where Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer ended up after the first book.
Quite a few parts of this book were entertaining, unfortunately there were also quite a few irritating parts to the book. The ending shows good promise towards the future of the series, but getting to the ending is a chore at times.
This book had so much potential based upon the direction the first book went, unfortunately, much of that potential was lost in confused and pointless passages. I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did, and while I was disappointed with much of it, I’ll still read the sequel, but probably won’t be breaking down the doors to my local bookstore to buy it the day it comes out.