The Desert Spear (2010) – Peter V. Brett

The second book in Peter Brett’s Demon Cycle series finds its way to the Book Shelf this week, and it is as captivating as the first while continue to world build, pick up story threads, and throw now beloved characters into new scenarios and choices.

A fast-paced read, Brett crafts Desert Spear with an eye to the action and the politics of the realm that are developing. As such, the first section of the book gives us a look at some events from the first book from a different perspective.

We join the desert culture of Krasia and get to know Ahmann Jadir, their leader as we follow him through his youth, training, marriages and being positioned as the Deliverer, the one who will lead humanity in the fight against the demons who rise from the Core nightly.

He betrayed Arlen Bales, the Warded Man, in the first book, and even as we get to know him better in this story I can’t help but still see him as a villain, or at least a foe for our heroes. But as the story unfurls, our heroes, Arlen, Rojer and Leesha deal with Jadir in different ways, with Arlen not really interacting with him at all, but warning the North that Jadir and his Krasian army are marching on their towns for the Daylight War, the battle that will allow the Deliverer to unify man before they fight the Corelings.

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Leesha and Rojer, however, make some interesting choices, and while they are true to their characters, I was very upset with them in my mind. Especially Leesha. But Brett’s writing allowed me to understand her thoughts, her impulses, and why she does what she does, even if I didn’t agree with her choices.

The human characters aren’t the only things that get expanded on this time around, though it was a real treat to check in with now familiar characters and see threads picked up and come to fruition in ways I didn’t expect. This time around, we are introduced to a couple of beings within the Corelings, including a mimic demon, which can do exactly what it’s name suggests, and a powerful princeling of the core, mind demons.

Those guys are going to be trouble.

Through it all, Arlen aka The Warded Man’s powers become stronger and stronger, making it very obvious that there is an imminent confrontation between Jadir and Arlen coming, though not in this book.

It’s a rip-roaring read that takes us in all manner of directions, takes us across the realms Brett has created, epic, sweeping moments are contrasted by smaller, but no less important, human moments, as he balances horrifying action beats against the machinations of the Krasian forces and the struggles of Leesha, Rojer, and Arlen’s own humanity.

Top-notch storytelling makes this world completely engaging, and while you may not want to live there, visiting it is a lot of fun through these novels.

I’ll be digging into Book 3 sooner rather than later I think!

Check this series out!!

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