Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Painted Man (Demon Cycle, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Painted Man (Demon Cycle, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Painted Man

(Demon Cycle #1)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  99,227 ratings  ·  4,953 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 September 2008)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Painted Man, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  99,227 ratings  ·  4,953 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Feb 18, 2009 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.
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Buddy read with my wonderful friend, Celise

I freaking loved this book!! Arlen, Leesha, Rojer, Bruna, Ragen, Cob, Leesha's father and Twilight Dancer were my favorite characters.

The book tells the story about 3 people, Arlen, Leesha, & Rojer. It starts when they are younger until they are adults and how they find each other.

They live in a world where you have to be inside a Warded home or Warded circle etc, before night fall. This is when the demons rise and if you're not safe, you're prett
Mark Lawrence
Aug 24, 2011 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
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Character-driven fantasy fans
4.5/5 Stars

The Warded Man is a superbly written debut that every fan of character-driven fantasy must read.

I started reading this book without knowing anything about it other than the premise. It’s been hundreds of years since the demons returned to ravage the world. The demons only come at night and this situation has left humans isolated in their respective cities and heavily reliant on wards to repel their demonic adversaries. The Warded Man is truly different from what I thought it would be
May 18, 2011 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.

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, allowing well integrated world-building as Arlen grows. Bre
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've seen this book in my feed for years now, so I finally decided to take the plunge and see what all the fuss was about. And I'm really glad I did because this was a pretty cool story.


Ok, in this world there are demons. Hiss!
Not the kind that possesses you and turns you into a minion of Satan, though!


The kind that come out at night and eat you! RAWR!


Alright. So basically these demons (called corelings b/c they come from the core of the earth) rise up at night and wander around looking fo

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 ru
Dec 17, 2012 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
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
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

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

Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
This review is going to be a hodgepodge – The Warded Man was such an unusual read that no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get my thoughts organized on it. Here goes:

The Warded Man was a mixed bag of emotions for me (and for most of my fellow Fantasy Buddy Reads group on Goodreads). The consensus was that it had a really slow start. Even though I found myself invested as early as Chapter 3, many were struggling even as far in as the halfway point to find their enthusiasm (if they even made it
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads-no-more
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
Dana Ilie
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dana by: Moglan Radu
Shelves: fantasy
I was really blown away by this book. I heard about it, especially from Radu my GR friend, but I never actually got around to reading it until now. I’m glad I did. The Warded Man (also called The Painted Man in the UK) did not disappoint. This is the first book in a series, but oh what a delicious book it was.

What stands out about this book is the interesting world portrayed, vicious action, and strong characterization. The world portrayed is a world without hope. Men are reduced to a food sourc
I'm easily super excited about this book and have no reservations about flying through the sequels.


Because we have an immersive epic fantasy world that focuses simply and easily on survival. The world is overrun with demons that pop out of the ground at night and are only held back by drawn or carved wards. Life is hard and harrowing, and if you make a single misstep, you die. The three main characters: Arlen, Leesha, and Rojen, are given delightful treatment in this world, from their chil
Jan 04, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fantasy
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
J.L.   Sutton
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What readers quickly recognize is that Peter Brett’s The Warded Man (Demon Cycle #1) has the feel of a traditional fantasy epic with something different. Part of that something different has to do with the world Brett has created (which is sort of medieval, but this is a world which has been blasted back to this state from a more modern era by the onslaught of corelings/demons). This is reflected in how each section is dated (AR-After the Return). Through this dating system, we learn that it has ...more
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
You can get this book FREE right now from the publisher at this link if you have a US address: freebie

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
Feb 08, 2010 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
Mayim de Vries
Mar 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before I knew what has happened, this book had sucked me in, chewed me, and spat me out. Broken.
I expect nothing less from an epic fantasy.

Also in the Demon Cycle:

2. The Desert Spear ★★★☆☆
3. The Daylight War ★★☆☆☆
4. The Skull Throne ★★☆☆☆
5. The Core ★☆☆☆☆ (Actual rating: ZERO stars)
Dan Schwent
Jun 03, 2010 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
Deborah Obida
There's nothing I love more in a book than when it exceeds my expectations, and this book did just that. This book has it all, a great plot, amazing characters, good writing, religion, sexism action,magic you name it. The author created a whole new world that is broken and on a brink of being destroyed by demons. As much as I love this book, I have a few issues with it, I feel like some things were unnecessary because it adds nothing to the plot whatsoever.(view spoiler) ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
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,
Jan 04, 2011 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
Aug 31, 2013 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

This book turned my attention after reading a great review of Gavin :) I’ll try and put my incoherent rambling to match at least 1% of his great review.

My journey started when the author led me into the world of monsters that rise in the night and attack humans who hide behind wards, fascinating old times with herb-gatherers, jongleurs and messengers, who are the only ones who dare to travel far despite danger to bring messages and goods for exchange. Interesting for sure! And the symbols in th
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
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,
Em Lost In Books
This book was sitting on my tbr from last three years gathering dust. I have decided to read at least ten books that are on my shelf for more than two years and this was on top of that pile. One of the other reason is that the author is wrapping up series with the release of final book. I know its foolish to wait for a series to be complete when I even don't know if I am going to like first book or not. But in this case I liked first book and I have decided to go ahead with this series.

A really
Jay Z
Mar 20, 2011 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.
Will M.
Apr 19, 2014 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
Maria V. Snyder
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really good epic fantasy without all that dense worldbuilding. Or it didn't read like it had a ton of worldbuilding and the focus was on the characters, which is the right way to do it - IMO :)

There are three main characters in this story and it does take a little bit to get into it as the POV shifts from one to the other - so just as you're really getting into Arlen's story, it switches to Leesha. But once you get to know all three, then the story just flies along at a nice pace.

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Please update book info & add book cover 6 17 Sep 26, 2019 06:15AM  
Fantasy Buddy Reads: The Painted Man [July 15, 2019] 197 59 Aug 26, 2019 01:39AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please correct this book 2 22 Dec 07, 2018 04:44PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer, #2)
  • Heir of Novron (The Riyria Revelations, #5-6)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • The Red Wolf Conspiracy (The Chathrand Voyage, #1)
  • Among Thieves (Tales of the Kin, #1)
  • A Betrayal in Winter (Long Price Quartet, #2)
  • Century of the Soldier (The Monarchies of God #3-5)
  • Heroes Die (The Acts of Caine, #1)
  • Last Argument of Kings (The First Law, #3)
  • Watcher of the Dead (Sword of Shadows, #4)
  • The Stormcaller (Twilight Reign, #1)
  • The Red Knight (The Traitor Son Cycle, #1)
  • Emperor of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #3)
  • The Briar King (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, #1)
  • The Last Stormlord (Watergivers, #1)
See similar books…
Peter V. Brett is the internationally bestselling author of the Demon Cycle series, which has sold over two million copies in 25 languages worldwide. Novels include The Warded Man, The Desert Spear, The Daylight War, The Skull Throne, and The Core. Other works include the Red Sonja: Unchained graphic novel and the Demon Cycle novellas The Great Bazaar, Brayan's Gold, Messenger's Legacy, and Barren ...more

Other books in the series

Demon Cycle (5 books)
  • The Desert Spear (Demon Cycle, #2)
  • The Daylight War (Demon Cycle, #3)
  • The Skull Throne (Demon Cycle, #4)
  • The Core (The Demon Cycle, #5)
“Let others determine your worth and you're already lost, because no one wants people worth more than themselves.” 575 likes
“Welcome to adulthood." Cob said. "Every child finds a day when they realize that adults can be weak and wrong just like everyone else. After that day, you are an adult. Like it or not.” 135 likes
More quotes…