Wednesday 5 June 2013

Book Review: The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett

The Painted Man (also known as The Warded Man)
Peter V. Brett
5 Stars


As darkness falls, demon corelings rise — multitudes and giants, strong from fire, wood, and rock, hungry for human flesh. Centuries ago, humans knew magic wards to protect and attack, now human numbers dwindle. Only the men of a single desert tribe, worshipers of the Deliverer, fight back.

Three young survivors of vicious demon attacks dare the impossible. Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer step beyond the crumbling safety of the few remembered wards in remote rural villages, and risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.


This has got to be one of my favourite fantasy books ever and if you saw how many fantasy books there are on my shelves, that is no mean feat. It is rare that you can find a fantasy series that is so original as this one. It's like nothing I've ever read before and after I finish this review, I'm off to read the second part in the series to see what happens next.

The book starts with the differing childhoods of our three heroes, Rojer, just a toddler when he sees his parents killed by the demon corelings, Leesha apprentice to the Herb Gatherer, Bruna, the local wise woman and Arlen, eleven years old when he discovers his father is a coward and hides behinds the wards rather than try to save his wife when she was attacked. Arlen vows then that he will never become a coward and he wants to fight, not stand safely behind the wards as the demons wreak havoc every night.

We follow their differing journeys as they grow and become teenagers and adults, Rojer becomes a musician and jongleur, despite two of his fingers bitten off in the attack that killed his parents, Leesha soon becomes a Herb Gatherer in her own right and Arlen, after finding some of the old wards in a ruin in the desert, becomes the Painted Man, tattooing his body with wards of protection and destruction.

The world-building of this novel is great, there is no lengthy exposition, everything just seems to flow organically with the story. I was enthralled from the beginning and I did not want to put this book down. The characters are wonderful and the writing is fantastic, not a word wasted. I loved it.

Reviewed by Annette Gisby

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