The Desert Spear by Peter V Brett

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Rating 7.5/10
A clever and fantastical storyline involving demons and killing and warded weapons.

“There isn’t anything quite as lovely as a fresh idea,” I said when I reviewed Peter V. Brett’s first book, The Painted Man, and I was spot on, which is always nice. Reading a lot of fantasy it is hard to always find a book that comes along with a new idea, something that, even if it’s been done before, is done in a new way.

So I was really looking forward to the second in Brett’s Demon War trilogy, entitled The Desert Spear. I included it in “My Most Anticipated Books of 2010” article that I did at the beginning of the year, and was pleasantly surprised when it rocked up on my doorstep.

I really enjoyed this book, minus a few missteps along the way. Peter V. Brett continues his “fresh idea” into The Desert Spear nicely, despite the first quarter of the book seeming to be a hurried summary of a forgotten plotline from the first book. The perspective jump after that section left me hard pressed to continue, but I finally picked the book back up and really enjoyed everything that came after (that being said, I also enjoyed what came before, but it just seems odd and unwieldy).

Brett has a knack for making me really care about his characters. Rojer is especially enjoyable to read, his realization of unrequited love, his maturation and his awkward bathing scene towards the end of the book are specifically enjoyable. Renna Tanner is a nice return, maybe a little contrived but both moving and heartbreaking, though a little hard to read if you’re the least bit squeamish about incest.

Leesha and Arlen continue their “leader” type rolls which, for the middle quarters of the book, are predictable and tried. Not to say they aren’t interesting, but not as interesting as they get by the end of the book.

There are a few little things that I could pick up on; inconsistencies and style issues that an editor should really pick up on, and the perspective jumping that occurs with no rhyme nor reason – or adherence to linear time – is a little unwieldy.

But the reason you read this book is because of the ideas and the story behind the style and grammar. The world that Brett has created is impressive, with hints at a greater story beneath the earth than what is known to the characters on the surface. Arlen’s journey is moving, and you are really pulling for him by the end. Leesha is witty and strong and determined: the epitome of a Joss Whedon-esque female lead.

Why should you pick this book up? Because of those reasons. Because you will enjoy it, be moved to laughter and tears, and caring for the characters on both sides of the argument. Their lives inspire and captivate, and that is worth any amount of money, especially when it is surrounded by a clever and fantastical storyline involving demons and killing and warded weapons.

This The Desert Spear book review was written by

All reviews for: The Demon Cycle

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The Desert Spear reader reviews

from US


The first book (the warded man) was good enough for me to get the second in the series. This one though was perfect. I could tell that Brett had grown as a writer between the first and second novel. He paints a great mental picture and I would easily add him to the ranks of best current fantasy writers such as RA Salvatore and George RR Martin.

from America


First book was good. This one not so much. I despise Jadir for what he did to the Arlen. The Krasians are worse then the corlings. I hate the fact that the main characters are acting out of character just to stir things up. I mean *spoiler* Leesha and Jadir?!? That whole story arc was forced. She's more like her mother then she realizes.

from Peru


I actually prefered this book to The Warded Man, which I liked alot. Maybe because it explores the fascinating Krasian warrior culture in more depth, and also expands on the Demon`s lives as well with the introduction of the "minds". The lengthy flashback didn`t bother me, far from being padding, I think this the most interesting part of the universe he has created, much more intersting than the simple country folk of Hollow County and beyond and the sub medieval societies of Miln and the other cities. For me this is the best book in the series!

from Beemster


The Warded Wan was great. That makes it hard for Desert Spear. In my opinion there were was a choice for the author, make it as fast paced and straight simple as the first one, or explain some stuff by adding more story line. One of the best things of its prequel was the quality to give an almost compulsive need to read on. This story seems to have its minor problems with that pace. Where the first story didnt seem to care for nor explain dull details, all of the knowledge that was necessary came as the story evolved in a natural way. The Desert Spear was written to hastily. Best way had been to tear it apart and re-edit the story in multiple other books. It is still a great read, because of the concept is brilliant. The world Brett has shaped is propably an envy to a lot writers. I am using this world as a practice for writing anyway, because there is so much to explore in it. So, I am not as thrilled about this book as the first one, but still I am glad I bought it and I will certainly re-read it in the future. Furthermore, I await his third book and will buy it as soon as possible.

from Scotland


The first book was a great read but most of this novel reprises the same story arc from a different perspective. Why? It has the horrible feel of the publisher padding out the story to make money. I would imagine that a future reader could go straight from book 1 to 3 without missing out too much.

from Berlin


I was really surprised in the way of the second book if his trilogy. I read the first one and was really amazed of the Painted Man but in the second the first half of the book was only about Jardir, this ass who betrayed him. But as the story went on Jardir seemed to be changing in a very nice person or at least there is the possibility and the suspense of how it will go on who of the 2 delivers will win or if they fight together again at least is so great I cannot wait for the last book .____o

from UK


I loved this book. I think the way both possible deliverers are shown to be both great but flawed leads to a fascinating book. The characters hold my attention and I really care what happens to them and want to know what will happen next. Can't wait for the next installment.

from Philadelphia


I must respectfully but whole-heartedly disagree with your assessment of this book. While I enjoyed “The Warded Man” due to its fast pace, it’s fully developed characters, and its inventive look at magic, “The Desert Spear” absolutely failed. The character traits and tendencies of the various “strong” characters, such as Leesha and Arlen, dramatically changed over the course of this book in what only can be seen as a desperate attempt of an amateur writer to keep his readers interested due to his inability to write a cohesive story. I was really looking forward to this book, but found myself wanting to throw it against the wall in frustration.

6.9/10 from 9 reviews

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