So, I have some mixed feelings about this book.
Second in The Demon Cycle, I was so jazzed to read The Desert Spear after tearing through The Warded Man. I fell in love with Arlen and his intense, moving journey–not to mention the other characters we followed through this vivid, fantastic world tainted by corlings. So infatuated was I by Arlen that when the The Desert Spear started out with Jardir and his story, I just wanted to skip ahead and get to the characters I really cared about.
It didn’t help that it took roughly 100 pages for me to remember who Jardir was.
Boy, did that revelation hit like a thunderclap. It wasn’t because Brett did a poor job at reorienting the reader back into this world and Jardir’s role in it. I honestly think it’s because I read a couple books in-between this book and the first in the series and I just completely forgot his significance. These books are jammed packed with events and characters and interlacing plotlines, so I’m not surprised that I forgot a debatable “minor” character who suddenly became a very big deal. Personally, I didn’t see Jardir as a major player in the first book, so I didn’t make any effort to remember him (obviously). So the book started off a little slow to me and I think, had I realized his connection and importance earlier, like I should have, I would have enjoyed the first part of The Desert Spear a lot more than I did. Hence the disservice I feel I did to an otherwise really awesome book.
Yet once I did remember and we were reunited with some of our main players from The Warded Man, I was certainly hooked.
And that ending.
One of my favorite aspects of The Demon Cycle so far is the interlacing of narratives. I love how the books are formatted into parts, focusing on a certain character or time period, before moving on. And sometimes, particularly in this book, I wasn’t sure how everything was going to come together, or if it would. Yet the second half of the book was just a constant barrage of epiphanies as the connections between characters and events gained clarity and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I am sill blown away of how everything came together–and still pissed how the book ended right before the explosion I knew was coming actually went BOOM.
I also really enjoyed how different Jardir and his people’s culture was and how that difference was brought to light within the book, complicating the plot. It did get a bit confusing, trying to keep all of the titles straight, but I really enjoyed having my own comfort zone challenged in this way.
However, there did feel like there were a lot more instances of rape in this book that made me a bit squeamish. There was one scene I remember distinctly that caused me to stop reading entirely for a few days, I was so uncomfortable. And I don’t get uncomfortable easily. I’m not saying this was necessarily a bad aspect of the book, but it was one that made it difficult to read, at times.
If you read my reviews, you might have noticed that I don’t have a lot of mixed or negative reviews. I usually just fall in love with a book and rave about it until my fingers come off. But The Desert Spear definitely challenged me. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t fall in love like I did with The Warded Man. Yet I most certainly am very eager to read The Daylight Spear and see what happens next.