The Warded Man (or The Painted Man) review

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Warded Man The Painted Man review Peter V. Brett
The Warded Man The Painted Man review Peter V. Brett
Peter V. Brett is a new author with a good internet hype. The Warded Man, or The Painted Man in the UK (I think the first title is better suited but the Painted Man is cooler) is Brett first novel and also the first of the Demon Cycle series. I liked this book but I have some reserves. Still, I really look forward to read The Desert Spear.

The Warded Man is the story of three youngsters in a deadly world where evil demonic creatures (corelings) roam every night, rising from the mist. People stay home at night behind drawn wards protecting them form the monsters. Arlen is a boy who wants to take the fight to the immortal corelings. He will grow up as a warder/messenger and set himself on a quest for the lost attack wards. Leesha is a gorgeous girl who wants to be an herb gatherer to cure people in need. Finally, Rojer is a young musician/juggler who discovers strange power while playing his fiddle. The trio will be needed to protect a village in a dire situation.

After reading about the first third of the book, I thought I was reading good old tales of farmers wives (in a fantasy setting). There's a lot of sex, incest and people who want to have sex. But through this and the individual struggles of the trio, we learn a lot about the world and the introspection of the characters. I think the author really wanted us to know the reasons behind their future personality. In this, he did well and I was captivated.

The writing is fine but just a little bit clumsy or uneven in some places. The whole story is not written with an even pace and in this I think Brett has room for improvement. The first years of the protagonists are told with details as we learn to know them. But then, many crucial events happen with only a few tidbits told. In my opinion, The Warded Man would have benefited largely of having 200 more pages, there was material for more.

The book is really character driven and the story is told through the eyes of three PoV. A little detail, at the beginning of each chapters, there's an avatar showing which PoV we will follow. Arlen and Leesha are captivating PoV. I really wanted to know how their stories unfolded as they grew up. These characters could be developed in a fascinating way in the future books (if we still follow them as main PoV). The last one, Rojer is not really as significant (just slightly boring at some points).

I found the concept of the corelings (monsters who appear at night and disappear when the sun comes back) to be interesting although it could (and probably will) have been more developed. However, the warding is cool. I found it original but then again, not exploited enough. Maybe because I wanted to have more but then what we have in the book is sufficient to support the storytelling.

Technically, the Del Rey cover is Ok but the cover from the other releases are looking great. There is no map and I think it could have profited from putting one.

The Warded Man (Painted Man) review score :

Characterization............. 7.5 /10
World building............... 7 / 10
Magic system................. 8 / 10
Story.............................. 7.5 / 10
Writing........................... 7.5 / 10

Overall (not an average) 7.5 / 10


Peter V. Brett page


The Fantasizer said...

The story seems somewhat like C.S.Friedman's cold fire trilogy to me. Is it?

Phil said...

I can't really say for sure, I haven't read Friedman's Cold fire trilogy. From what I gather by the synopsis I don't think the resemblance stretch far but I be wrong.

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