The Daylight War – slight rant. Contains spoilers.
Also by this author: The Skull Throne
Published by Del Rey, Random House Publishing Group on 2013
Genres: Epic, Fantasy
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER With The Warded Man and The Desert Spear, Peter V. Brett surged to the front rank of contemporary fantasy, standing alongside giants in the field such as George R. R. Martin, Robert Jordan, and Terry Brooks. The Daylight War, the eagerly anticipated third volume in Brett’s internationally bestselling Demon Cycle, continues the epic tale of humanity’s last stand against an army of demons that rise each night to prey on mankind. On the night of the new moon, the demons rise in force, seeking the deaths of two men, both of whom have the potential to become the fabled Deliverer, the man prophesied to reunite the scattered remnants of humanity in a final push to destroy the demon corelings once and for all. Arlen Bales was once an ordinary man, but now he has become something more—the Warded Man, tattooed with eldritch wards so powerful they make him a match for any demon. Arlen denies he is the Deliverer at every turn, but the more he tries to be one with the common folk, the more fervently they believe. Many would follow him, but Arlen’s path threatens to lead to a dark place he alone can travel to, and from which there may be no returning. The only one with hope of keeping Arlen in the world of men, or joining him in his descent into the world of demons, is Renna Tanner, a fierce young woman in danger of losing herself to the power of demon magic. Ahmann Jardir has forged the warlike desert tribes of Krasia into a demon-killing army and proclaimed himself Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer. He carries ancient weapons—a spear and a crown—that give credence to his claim, and already vast swaths of the green lands bow to his control. But Jardir did not come to power on his own. His rise was engineered by his First Wife, Inevera, a cunning and powerful priestess whose formidable demon bone magic gives her the ability to glimpse the future. Inevera’s motives and past are shrouded in mystery, and even Jardir does not entirely trust her. Once Arlen and Jardir were as close as brothers. Now they are the bitterest of rivals. As humanity’s enemies rise, the only two men capable of defeating them are divided against each other by the most deadly demons of all—those lurking in the human heart. Praise for The Daylight War “[Peter V. Brett is] at the top of his game. I give this my highest recommendation.”—Tor.com “[Brett] confirms his place among epic fantasy’s pantheon of greats amid the likes of George R. R. Martin, Steven Erikson, and Robert Jordan.”—Fantasy Book Critic “Brett’s prose and flow remain virtually flawless, providing for a smooth read during which you don’t feel guilty for skipping two meals so you can lie on the couch and keep reading.”—Fixed on Fantasy “The best book yet in The Demon Cycle. If you are looking for a great series, look no further.”—Roqoo Depot “After the phenomenal success of both The Warded Man and The Desert Spear, I was tentative about The Daylight War; surely it couldn’t get much better? Well, I was wrong. . . . This will be a strong contender for one of the best books of the year, even this early on.”—Jet Black Ink “Brett has his hooks in me and I want more of The Demon Cycle.”—BestFantasyBooks.com
Earlier this year, I read The Daylight War immediately after it was released. It was a book that I was looking forward to and unfortunately, I was really disappointed. I was over half way through the book before I even felt interested in most of it.
The first two books, while maybe not ground breaking works of fantasy, were fun to read, books that kept me turning pages until I realized I was suddenly at the end. So, I was a bit surprised and frustrated at my lack of engagement with this one. After giving it some thought, I decided to list out some of the things that didn’t work for me:
- Krasia. I hate this place. For what I would think to be obvious reasons, the society is not meant to be appealing. However, I have heard some people mention how much they love Krasia. In previous books, it didn’t feature as prominently or if it did, it was from the POV of men rather than women … Getting Inevera’s POV, I hate this place even more. Since much of the book was located here, I think this sort of drug me down a bit.
- Renna. I don’t like her. I didn’t care for her in the other books either, but she was much more prominent/prevalent in this. Every time I came to one of her chapters, I cringed. And to top it off, Arlen’s manner of speech from being with her became grating. I really hope he goes back to talking normal in future books.
- Timeline. Inevera’s point of view was set back prior or during time frames we already read about. I know this is not uncommon in books, I’ve never had an issue with it before, but for some reason, knowing what path she would go down, knowing for sure she would marry Jadir, she would be Damajah, knowing she would be powerful, etc. etc. seemed to take some of the suspense away. We had not been presented her POV before, and I did like getting it, but combination of knowing much of what would happen and not liking Krasia, I just couldn’t get into it.
- The women. I am not one that is quick to complain about women in books. But at some point, in this one, I noticed that not a single woman was able to advance or gain power without using sexual manipulation. Perhaps an argument could be made that Renna does not fall into this category. But if she doesn’t then she falls into the category of only gaining power in an effort to keep up with her man. Her motivation centers around Arlen. Now, sexual manipulation can be an effective tool for some characters. The Krasian culture, that seems to be the only tool allotted women. And to deny all female characters of it, quite frankly is just not very realistic. But when every single female with any semblance of power gains it in some way as a result of sexual manipulation or only as an effort to please “her man”, I guess I hit my limit of what I am fine with, or at least hit my limit of what I care to read.
I think it all just boiled down to many things I didn’t care for and not enough that I did. I could overlook any one of the things I listed above, if there had been more about the book I enjoyed. I had a hard time putting the first two books down, so I had really high expectations for this one. Maybe my expectations were just too high. I’m not sure. I just know instead of feeling like I couldn’t put it down, I felt like I was forcing myself to pick it back up so I could finish and move on.
And the ending … I felt like it should have had some dramatic impact. Maybe I am just a good guesser. But I was not the least surprised by it.
That said, I will still likely read the 4th book, because I am hoping it might get better than this one? I dunno. Read and find out I guess.