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The Painted Man (The Demon Cycle #1)

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  68,375 Ratings  ·  3,505 Reviews
As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always th ...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published January 8th 2009 by Harper Voyager (first published 2008)
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Jonathan Abelson I have read both of these series and while they are about as completely different as two fantasy series can be they are both very good.
The Demon Cycle…more
I have read both of these series and while they are about as completely different as two fantasy series can be they are both very good.
The Demon Cycle gets better the further you get into it; not that the beginning was bad by any means but Brett really surprised me with where he took this series.
I think it is always a mistake to compare one series to another; WoT, GoT, and this series are all very, very different but are all very good in their own right.(less)
The Way of Shadows by Brent WeeksGraceling by Kristin CashoreThe Hero of Ages by Brandon SandersonThe Painted Man by Peter V. BrettLast Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie
2008 DGLA Fantasy Book Nominees
4th out of 97 books — 226 voters
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. WredeCrown Duel by Sherwood SmithThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienA Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinThe False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Best Fantasies of All Time
12th out of 88 books — 13 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dec 04, 2013 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I learned a lot from this book, because I wrote it myself. My rating may be somewhat biased as a result.
Feb 22, 2015 Carol. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: epic fantasy fans
Recommended to Carol. by: FA, of course
Shelves: fantasy, male-lead

The Warded Man had a tremendously strong start and was well on the way to a five star read. Then three quarters of the way through, I became extremely disenchanted with characterization and plot jumping. I'll average it out and call it three and a half stars.

Brett's world is fascinating: a feudal system at the mercy of demons arising from the earth each night, and the only way to defend against them is through the work of drawn/carved wards. The story begins by following a young boy, Arlen, all

The world of The Painted Warded Man (*) is governed by fear. Countless corelings/demons rule the night. Magical wards that keep the demons out also keep the people in. The promise of safety has become their prison.

* Sidenote: By the way, what's up with the name change? Is this book a part of Book Witness Protection Program? Why?
Being caught out in the open at night equals gruesome death. People in this world hide trembling behind their wards at night terrified of what's out there. Fear rule
mark monday
The Warded Man is an effective, efficiently-written fantasy thriller, one with an ingenious premise: at nightfall, various sorts of grisly 'corelings' rise from the earth to slaughter all living beings. folks live and travel behind various 'wards'. draw an imprecise ward: you are fucked, and probably dead. the novel documents a society which may or may not be in transition to ways that more proactively and aggressively engage with this continual threat. the set-up is particularly effective in it ...more
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

4.5 stars

One of my favorite things about reading fantasy is the brand new worlds.

Writing a good book is an accomplishment by itself, but in fantasy . . . the writer not only has to come up with a good story and good characters, they have to create a new place with new rules, new creatures, new cultures, new everything.

For an escapist reader, like myself, shoddy world-building can ruin an otherwise perfectly good book, but above and beyond fantastical, yet believable new
Aug 07, 2016 Kyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

One of the most unique and engrossing novels I have ever read!

The Warded Man tells the story of Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer and how their lives end up intersecting. We meet Arlen and Leesha when they are only eleven and Rojer when he is only four. They live in a world ravished by demons every night. Humans are forced to live behind protective wards or die terrible deaths at the hands of these demons.

I have to admit it was hard to believe the book was over 900 pages long. The pages seemed to fly

Mark Lawrence
Jul 26, 2016 Mark Lawrence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A rather brief review since I read the book very nearly 5 years ago.

I came to this book with no expectations, finding it on the shelves in my house. Both sons recommended it, but that's not always a recommendation!

There are fantasy books that are all about the plot, fantasy books that are all about the characters, and fantasy books that are all about the world-building. This one manages to be all about all of that.

The 'big idea' is the demons and it's a good one. I'd not seen demons done this wa
Dan Schwent
Mar 10, 2011 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2010, favorites
Three survivors of demon attacks spend their younger years learning to fight the corelings in their own ways. Rojer becomes a Jongleur, a wandering minstrel whose fiddle playing can ward off the demon's attack. Leesha becomes a healer and herb gatherer. And Arlen walks the path of a Messenger. At least at first...

Wow. I have to admit I wasn't expecting a whole lot with this book. Fantasy in a pseudo-European setting? Yawn city. Imagine my delight when the book proved to be a breath of fresh air
Mar 08, 2012 seak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not only did it rise above the hype, but the hype looks like an ant from up here. This is traditional fantasy done extremely well and with its own unique elements. The Warded Man (The Painted Man in the UK) is exactly the type of fantasy I love.

Goodreads summary:
As darkness falls each night, the corelings rise - demons who well up from the ground like hellish steam, taking on fearsome form and substance. Sand demons. Wood demons. Wind demons. Flame demons. And gigantic rock demons, the deadliest
Jan 11, 2012 Zach rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, horror
A fantasy (secondary-world or post-apocalyptic Earth isn’t clear, or at least not in the part of the book I read) in which humankind is subject to attack every night by demons that materialize from the ground. At the opening of the book, the only defense people have is to huddle behind magical wards which the demons cannot breach (unless the chalk or whatever is scuffed or something, I don’t know.) Humans cower in their cities or individual farmhouses, and it would be really great if someone lea ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
At times, I believe that humanity is doomed to destroy itself. Actually, I feel that way a lot, although it saddens me. Which is why I prefer reading fiction that is hopeful, or with humans triumphing over the destructive forces within them or around them. Tales in which the monster of the story is a fantastical beast of the inhuman variety, defeatable, even if it requires cost and sacrifice on the part of people.

I couldn’t even imagine living in a world in which every night, demons take over,
Jun 04, 2014 Enginesummer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, where to start with this book.

Perhaps I should begin by pointing out that, according to the back of the book, this *is* the author's first novel (don't quote me Wikipedia, this is his first published novel, I guess).

Unfortunately, it shows.

So, it's a fairly generic set-up with a Medieval-style community, humans vs. demons, good vs. evil. Blah-de-blah. As is obvious from the title, the primary protagonist eventually carves runes onto his skin to combat the demons and take a stand. As a concep
Will M.
Nov 30, 2014 Will M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy readers!
Recommended to Will by: mark monday

First things first, thank you Mark Monday for recommending this piece of treasure to me. I've read another amazing fantasy novel! Your recommendations are always spot on!

I finished this novel in just a day. Need I inform you that this is a Fantasy novel , and I finished it in one day. It was that good my good people. It's near impossible to finish a fantasy novel in a day, as the length of any tend to make you finish one in 2-5 days. I'm aware that this had fewer pages compared to most fantasy
Oct 02, 2014 Bookwraiths rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, library
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

The Warded Man was a novel I’d heard a lot about from my reading friends. Peter V. Brett’s name was constantly whispered in my ear as a writer whose work I must try at once. And after finishing this story, I have to admit that was very wise advice — at least where this book is concerned.

For those who haven’t read Mr. Brett’s Demon Cycle series, it is set in a post-apocalyptic world where demons rule the night. In fact, the cause of the apocalypse was th
Kevin Xu
Mar 17, 2016 Kevin Xu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, but it took a while/couple of tries that I actually finished the book.

The thing that I wished there was more of is Arlen training.
And I wish there was not as much jump in the timeline, where we don't see Arlen, and that Arlen was the only character that we saw, him coming of age, and training. That would be more traditional. So that the other two main point of view characters of Leesha and Rojer were unneeded in my opinion.
Jan 24, 2011 Ace rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmmm... well I get the feeling I'm on my own here given the reviews, but here goes:

The warded man/painted man is set in a kind of alternate future where after the age of science, the world has been thrown back into a dark age, where ancient elemental demons known as "Corelings" have once more risen from the earth to feed upon mankind. Man's only salvation rests in the magical properties of "wards", magical symbols that can be written on homes, and earth to keep the creatures at bay. The story
Dec 26, 2015 Terence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars
Welcome to a world where every person knows what time the sun sets. Sure it's partially because when the sun sets is quitting time, but it's mainly because people are trying to avoid being torn to shreds. When the sun goes down evil literally comes out. Some call them corelings others call them alagai, but their name doesn't matter when they come out. All that matters is being behind the wards, well that and making sure the wards are fresh and clearly drawn. In this insane world three survivors ...more
Kevin Hearne
Mar 31, 2010 Kevin Hearne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a strong character-driven book with a fascinating magic system. Loved it, loved it, loved it! The wards on Peter Brett's website are fun to look at and I have no doubt that someone is going to get themselves tatted up with one or more of them. But, to echo sentiments a friend of mine noticed about the wards: These Messengers are just hanging out in the open air, protected by nothing but wards that repel the corelings, right? That's a problem.

The corelings—especially the rock and wood one
colleen the fabulous fabulaphile
I don't have much to say for this book. I thought the premise was interesting, but there was something about the execution that just didn't grab me. Like Sandi, I found it pretty preditcable and straightforward. Unlike Sandi, I didn't connect with the characters enough for me not to care.

The characters I did like the most were secondary - Bruna, Ragan and Elissa, Master Cox - but after they fill their roll to the main characters, we don't see them anymore. This is has it 'should be', as it were,
Megan Baxter
May 19, 2014 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading the books on my friend's kindle has meant that there have been a bunch of books that I have tried that I probably would have taken a long time to get to otherwise, if ever. Some of them have been not to my taste. But this one was more than a pleasant surprise. It was really delightful.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review
Gamma Mouse
May 12, 2011 Gamma Mouse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes it’s easier to be a coward. Easier to not fight back. To not stare in the eye of the bully harassing you. To slink around the corner, avoiding confrontation. Maybe the odds aren’t in you favor. Maybe fighting back could mean serious injury. Maybe it could mean your life.

But what if your family was in danger. Would you stand and watch, paralyzed by fear, unable to help. Or would you fight. Even if fighting meant sacrificing yourself for your loved ones. What choice would you make?

Feb 24, 2013 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 Stars

I original gave the Warded Man/the Painted Man 4 stars the first time I read it. But after some time had passed, I read and loved the second book, now more than a year later in anticipation of reading the third book that it is out now, I could not wait to reread this book. By definition, regardless of any flaws or shortcomings, if a novel interests me so much that I want to spend time reading it again for a second time, that I cannot help but give it full marks. That being said, regardles
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
A fantastic debut novel by Peter V Brett that feels fresh and original, even a few years after I first read it.

This book is one of the best first efforts by any writer I have ever read, a real page-turner. The story is extremely gripping, the characters are easy to like and care for and the worldbuilding is excellent. I never found myself bored or dragging my feet and the ending came far too soon. Luckily, I have the other books too so I will jump right into the next one.

Highly recommended.
5.0 stars. WOW there are some really good fantasy series being written lately. Of my top ten favorite series, I wouild say that more than half of them have been written in the last 10 years. This one has the potential to be another great series. Great characters, an original magic system, great villians and excellent world-building. This book is a very good read. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
Jay Z
Mar 22, 2011 Jay Z rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
misogyny is common in mediocre fantasy. misogyny AND orientalism takes skill, which this dude's got. i am appalled at how many authors are heralding this as one of the greatest new arrivals in fantasy. i can't remember the last time a fantasy author offended me this much. oh wait. i can. terry goodkind.
Althea Ann
The beginning of a series that's already up to 4 giant novels and 4 shorter entries. I kept hearing good things about it, so decided to check it out.

Well... it's a start. A slow start, however.
The largest part of the book really moved too slowly for me, as it shows us three young people who are bored of life in their small, backward, restrictive towns.

Admittedly, I guess the point is that their lives are restricted and boring... but it got to the point where reading about them was boring, too. A
Sep 22, 2013 Jon added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: Fantasy Book Club April 2010 Selection
Vagner Stefanello
Apr 30, 2016 Vagner Stefanello rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical
Review in Portuguese from Desbravando Livros:

Lançamento de março da editora DarkSide, O Protegido é uma das grandes apostas para 2015 no Brasil em termos de fantasia. O autor Peter V. Brett é aclamado lá fora como um dos grandes nomes da literatura fantástica e esperamos que aqui no Brasil também seja!

Desde o início dos tempos, na Era da Ignorância, os demônios sobem à superfície quando a noite chega e tem um único objetivo: destruir os humanos que estão em seu caminho. Os terraítas, como são ch
David Sven
Mar 10, 2013 David Sven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This did not feel like a debut novel. It doesn’t have that raw, first book feel where the plot grows its own legs and takes you places that have you scratching your head. Not that I mind that at all, but what Peter V Brett has produced here is a polished story, obviously written to an outline with good consistent pacing and a lot of editing. It was very easy to read and the pages just flew by and my attention was held from start to finish.

What you won’t find, at least not at this stage in the s
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
This has been out for a while and has been popular enough to spawn three subsequent books so I think people realise that this is a good book/series/author. I had not paid the series or author much attention until Peter appeared at the Grim Gathering alongside Mark Lawrence and Joe Abercrombie, who are two are my favourite storytellers. I was then fortunate enough, just when enough time had passed that he might have slipped from my mind, to have the lovely Mia send me a copy of The Warded Man.

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Dragons & Jetpacks: Overall Discussion / The Painted/Warded Man **SPOILERS** 15 92 Oct 05, 2016 06:13AM  
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Goodreads Librari...: Combine book with the same book in 2 parts? 3 20 Sep 21, 2015 05:10AM  
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Peter V. Brett is the New York Times and international bestselling author of the Demon Cycle series, which has sold millions of copies in 25 languages worldwide. Novels include The Warded Man, The Desert Spear, The Daylight War, and most recently, The Skull Throne. The final novel in the series, The Core, will be published in 2017.

In addition to his novels, Peter has written a series of novellas s
More about Peter V. Brett...

Other Books in the Series

The Demon Cycle (5 books)
  • The Desert Spear (Demon Cycle, #2)
  • The Daylight War (Demon Cycle, #3)
  • The Skull Throne (Demon Cycle, #4)
  • The Core (Demon Cycle, #5)

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