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Title: The Warded Man: Book One of the Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett
Published by: HarperCollins in 2009
Book’s Blurb: As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.
My Take: This book blew me away. The premise of the book, the world that the characters live in and how they have adapted to it, was incredible. The idea of nights being filled with demons who roam freely, killing humans and sometimes each other, was well-done. The people have wards that they can draw to keep the demons at bay, so long as the wards remain unblocked and undamaged. The fact that there were multiple types of demons, each with their own fierce traits and limitations, was one of the worldbuilding things I enjoyed the most in this book. As a whole the world was imaginative and a place I found myself getting sucked into.
The story itself got dark at times. You’d expect as much in a world where demons ruled the night. The balance between life and death could hinge upon a stray leaf blowing onto a rune, creating a temporary weak point in the ward that would allow a demon or two to come inside and create havoc. There are stories, early on in the book, of how the people who first made the runes had ones that could actually harm the demons and tales about how they would fight the demons. But the world we are transported into is nothing like that, where people cower and hide inside their homes as soon as the sun begins to fade from the sky and where people accept the idea that some of their family, neighbors, and friends might one day be killed by those demons and life must simply go on.
There are three main characters who get some POV time in the book, and by the end you enjoy all three. It was tough, at first, to leave behind the most interesting of the characters, but it allows you to see the experiences that all three have over the years that this book spans across. The characters throughout the entire book were well-written and very believable in their choices and actions.
While there is a lot of praise to heap on this book, it was a bit darker at times than some people might enjoy. There is one scene, in particular, towards the end that many other reviews already discuss in length and I came to the same conclusions. For the sake of saving spoilers I shall refrain from the details of it, but many other reviews on Amazon discuss what happens, as well as the things that occur only a few days later that leave the reader incredulous about how quickly such a traumatic event is forgotten.
Overall this was one of the best books I have read so far this year, and I will definitely be continuing to read the rest of the series. The worldbuilding and characters have enthralled me to the point where stopping after the first book simply would not be an option. I enjoyed this book so much that I want others to have the chance to experience this book as well, so I will also be giving away a paperback copy of this book to one lucky winner in the U.S. – the contest will be open from today until May 19th. For those of your finding this from the Amazing Books blog hop, welcome and enjoy!
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