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Nightfall Saga #1

The Desert Prince

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A brand-new epic fantasy adventure set in the beloved world of the Demon Cycle, following a new generation of heroes, from New York Times bestselling author Peter V. Brett

Fifteen years have passed since the end of the war with demons, creatures of darkness who have hunted the night and plagued humanity since time out of mind. The heroes of humanity’s hour of need have become legend, and those who remain struggle to escape their shadows.

Olive Paper and Darin Bales have grown up in this new peaceful world. Demons have been all but destroyed, but dangers still lurk for the children of heroes.

Olive, Princess of Hollow, has her entire life planned out by her mother, Duchess Leesha Paper: a steady march on a checklist to prepare her for succession. The more her mother writes the script, the more Olive rails against playing the parts she is assigned.

Darin faces challenges of a different kind. Though free to choose his own path, the weight of legacy hangs heavy around his shoulders. It isn’t easy being the son of the man people say saved the world. Everyone expects greatness from Darin, but the only thing he’s ever been great at is hiding.

But when Olive and Darin step across the wards one night, they learn the demons are not all gone, and those that remain hunger for revenge. Events are set in motion that only prophecy can foresee as Olive and Darin seek to find their own places in the world in time to save it again.

656 pages, Hardcover

First published August 3, 2021

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About the author

Peter V. Brett

92 books11.7k followers
Peter V. Brett is the internationally bestselling author of the Demon Cycle series, which has sold over four million copies in 27 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. The Desert Prince, the first installment of his Nightfall Saga, published in August 2021. The sequel, The Hidden Queen, is due early 2024. He lives in Brooklyn.

Twitter: www.twitter.com/PVBrett
Instagram: https://instagram.com/pvbrett/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PVBrett/
TikTok: @PVBrett

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Profile Image for Robin Hobb.
Author 348 books97.7k followers
January 30, 2022
Well, the usual caveats. I got this book for free, in the form of an Advance Reading Copy. Peter V Brett has been a friend of mine for years. But I don't think either of those things will affect my review of this book.

Things to know. This is book one of a yet to be finished trilogy. So if you wolf this down in one go, you will have plenty of time to wonder (as I am) what's going to happen next. However, it does tie up enough story threads at the end of this volume that you will not be left dangling over a cliff. At 600 some pages, it's a nice chunk of story.

This book returns to Peter's world of his Demon Cycle, with warding magic and a stunning array of different demons and dangers. The protagonists are descendants of characters you may have met in the Demon Cycle books, and the history and politics of those previous books are touched upon.

But if you are worrying that you will be lost if you have not read the previous Demon Cycle books, set that aside. The author has done a great job of reintroducing his world and the magic system. I think this volume is a great entry point for new readers as well as a wonderful continuation for those who have traveled here before.

The story is told from the tight first person points of view of two very different characters. Both are teenagers, but I would not characterize this book as young adult, even though in many aspects these characters and their friends are all coming of age. Both characters are intriguing and their development bodes well for the next book.

Peter V Brett does love a fight scene, and there are many in this tale. The trick of a good fight scene, I believe, is that it not only advances the plot, but embroiders the characterization of the fighters at the same time.

Recommended for readers new to the Demon Cycle world, and for those who want to continue their adventures there.

Beautiful cover art by Tommy Arnold.
Profile Image for Petrik.
669 reviews43.1k followers
January 24, 2023
ARC provided by the publishers—Del Rey & Harper Voyager—in exchange for an honest review.

1.5/5 stars

I won’t lie; I’m disappointed with The Desert Prince, but I have to acknowledge that this is a case of “not for me” due to having read The Demon Cycle.

The Desert Prince has been heavily advertised as a new beginning, or a spin-off, to The Demon Cycle by the author and publishers for at least months now. This is more like a continuation to The Demon Cycle than a spin-off; reading the previous series would make every encounter with the past characters more nostalgic. And believe me, there’s a LOT of characters from the previous series making a return here. I honestly always feel cautious whenever I approach a sequel series to a completed series. Don’t get me wrong; sometimes they work incredibly well, but statistically—from my experience—they often failed to deliver, and The Desert Prince just didn’t work as much as I hoped.

“You are what you want to be… And no matter what, I love you and will always be there for you.”

The Desert Prince takes place fifteen years after the end of The Core, and it revolves around two new main characters: Olive Paper and Darlin Bales. Both Olive and Darlin are descendants of the heroes of The Demon Cycle, and both of them are teenagers with their own struggles. Olive is an intersex who has her entire life planned out by her mother. Even though it was done to protect her life, Olive wants freedom and the life of a normal teenager. Darlin, on the other hand, faces a different kind of challenge. The weight of legacy is heavy around his shoulder because everyone expects greatness from him, but he’s only great at hiding. One night, when both Olive and Darlin step across the wards, it turns out that not all the demons are gone. Now, I’m going to start with the parts that I liked about the book.

Picture: Olive Paper by Dominik Broniek

Brett made a bold decision to use a first-person present-tense narration for both of the main characters in The Desert Prince. This was never done before in The Demon Cycle, and I think Brett truly nailed the voices of the two main characters. I’ve read a few series that used multiple first-person narrations, and the characters ended up sounding too similar. That’s not the case here; both Olive and Darin have a distinctive voice to them, and I never felt like they sounded the same. Personally, having read The Demon Cycle ended up being a double-edged blade for me. The positives that came from it to me would be seeing the returning characters again. It felt great and nostalgic to meet these characters again after many years went by. Honestly, the returning characters and their role in this novel were the strongest factors of the book for me.

“Mother says we cannot blame a whole people for the decisions of their leaders.”
“Perhaps… But leaders who do not reflect the will of their people do not remain in power. Take my word in this.”

Unfortunately, the other side of the blade resulted in disappointment. Olive and Darin totally felt like the main characters in a not good YA fantasy; not because of their age, but because of their internal thoughts. So many pages were spent on them being angsty thinking about who gets to kiss who, about the act of kissing, love triangle, enemies to lover, complaining, and more. Both Olive and Darin were a far cry from the characters of The Demon Cycle; they’re just not intriguing enough to follow for more than 600 pages long. Also, I had issues with the pacing. I found that the narrative spent too long in one character’s POV chapters consecutively before shifting back to the other main character. It felt jarring, and the pacing made the book felt even longer than it already is. The Desert Prince is undoubtedly a sequel series; almost everything is related to what happened at The Demon Cycle, plus the references and background explanations were constant. However, the entire novel itself doesn’t add anything much or new to the main story told in The Demon Cycle already. Lastly, The Desert Prince has one of the most anti-climactic closing chapters to a book I’ve ever read. Reading the final chapters actually made me lose interest completely to continue to the sequel.

Picture: Darin Bales by Dominik Broniek

All of these bring me to the conclusion that it might just be better for you to read The Desert Prince if you haven’t read The Demon Cycle. Seriously, it’s weird for me to recommend that method because this means you will lose a lot of background and character development. But I think having read The Demon Cycle made this novel much weaker than it should be. It’s sad to admit, but I won’t be continuing with The Nightfall Saga. Believe me, no one is more down about this rating than I am, but I have to always be honest about my opinion. Take my opinion with a grain of salt, though; this is definitely a “not for me” case. The previous series was great despite its issues; the first and the fifth book were incredible. After the darkness and intense story told in The Demon Cycle, it was frankly difficult for me to be reading a YA fantasy version of it. If you’re reading this review and you are indeed interested in reading this book, I sincerely hope you will love it more than I did.

“Let others determine your worth, and you’ve already lost, because no one wants people worth more than themselves.”

You can order the book from: Blackwells (Free International shipping) | The Broken Binding (Use my code: NOVELNOTIONS121 for discount!)

The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions | I also have a Booktube channel

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Profile Image for John Gwynne.
Author 33 books10.2k followers
July 25, 2021
I was lucky enough to receive a copy of The Desert Prince prior to release via Harper Collins. This has not altered my review or thoughts on the story.

The Desert Prince is a class act. Wonderful storytelling, flawed and believable characters and a ratcheting of tension that has you reading well into the dark hours. This is a must read.
Profile Image for LIsa Noell "Rocking the Chutzpah!.
579 reviews163 followers
July 23, 2022
My thanks to Peter V. Brett, Random House/Ballantine and Netgalley. Now with the formalities out of the way... I needed this! I've been missing this world since the day I left it. It's just one of those series that I often think about and wonder "What's happening now?" The Desert Prince is worthy of all that came before. The love and heartbreak? The main characters are everything. It's strange, because I can't really say anything about this book without revealing stuff. Grr, argh! I loved this as much as I did the first Desert Spear book! I can't wait, and am too excited to read the rest of this story!
Profile Image for Megan.
425 reviews20 followers
May 13, 2021
Thank you so much to Netgalley and the HarperCollins for providing me of an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review

The Desert Prince is a welcome return to a world I thought I had left many a year ago. While this is not technically part of The Demon Cycle series, I would absolutely recommend reading that series first. Not only is this book set in the same world but events and characters from The Demon Cycle series are integral parts of the plot. Even though I had read the previous series it was many years ago and I found myself getting confused as I couldn't quite remember what happened and who each character was.

Here we see the next generation of our favourite heroes from The Demon Cycle series. The sons and daughters of Arlen Bales, Ahmann Jardir and even Rojer Halfgrip. All these young characters are struggling being in the shadow of their famous and heroic parents. There are high expectations for them and they have big shoes to fill, whether they want to fill them or not.
Now the familial relationship between all the characters quickly becomes pretty confusing. We have sisters who are the age of aunts and aunts who are the age of sisters, many many half siblings and let's not even mention the cousins! In my ARC copy of the book has a little title saying "family tree" so I am assuming that in the finished article there will be a family tree for readers to to refer to while reading. This will be extremely useful and no doubt most readers will need to take a little look at it every once in a while. Similarly, there is a glossary in the back of the book and I encourage readers to take a little look at it and not be afraid to look up all the new words and phrases that pop up in the story.

The writing itself goes at a steady pace and is split up into the point of view of two characters - Olive Paper and Darin Bales. I enjoyed both characters but have a special place in my heart for little Darin. The secondary characters are equally enjoyable and varied. They are all brave and clever and strong in their own ways, there will be someone for everyone to relate to. With the characters of this book being a little younger (teenagers) than those in The Demon Cycle series, this book feels a little more in the Young Adult genre with themes of "coming of age" and "finding oneself".

Speaking of themes, a major theme of the book is that of gender. We have a wonderful portrayal of an intersex character struggling with their gender identity and ultimately accepting that they don't fit into the neat boxes of "male" or "female" and are just their natural authentic self. This is a fantastic thing to see in mainstream fantasy and I feel this aspect of the story was delivered in a mature, respectful and thoughtful way.

There is certainly not a neat wrapped up ending to this book and the reader is left wanting more, I'm already eager to read the next book even while this one isn't even published yet! I can't wait to see how these young characters mature further and tackle their next challenges.
Profile Image for Jim C.
1,511 reviews27 followers
September 21, 2021
This is the starting point of a new series set in this universe. One could use this as a starting point but I strongly recommend reading The Warded Man (it is the best book set in this universe) first to understand this world. In this one, we follow the exploits of the children of our heroes in the first series.

I am a fan of the first series even with its ups and downs. The ending left me satisfied and I thought I was done with this world. When I saw this book I was hesitant because of the previously stated reasons. Immediately my hesitancy was cast aside and once again I was happy to be in this world. If you have read the previous novels you know what you are going to get. A world displaying different cultures and huge cast of characters. With this is plenty of battles with demons. The aspect that impressed me with this book over the previous series is the writing was so much more on point. I did think in the previous series the author tended to fall in love with his created world and would ramble on about superfluous characters or plots. Not in this book. Everything was on point while delivering a message of teenagers discovering themselves and escaping from their parent's shadow. I love it when fantasy novels copy the real world. We get to see new characters as well as established characters. I loved Darrin and Selen. Micha was a force of nature and I cannot decide who was my favorite.

If you are weary about continuing the series you have nothing to be weary about. This takes place fifteen years after the first series and it was like a breath of fresh air. After reading this book the only question I have is how long do I have to wait for the next one.
Profile Image for Terence.
1,114 reviews345 followers
February 11, 2022
Fifteen years have passed since humanity won the war with demonkind. Many believe demons are extinct and that many of the exploits of the saviors of humanity are purely fiction. Things are peaceful and that's the world Olive Paper and Darin Bales have grown up in. The hardest part for them is being the children of legends. Both struggle with the expectations placed on them and do their best to meet them. However one night when both Olive and Darin step off the greatwards, they learn the demons aren't all gone and the world isn't nearly as safe as they thought.

I'm honestly full of mixed emotions about The Desert Prince. Stepping back into the world of the Demon Cycle so soon after the events of The Core seemed to present challenges for Peter V. Brett and I didn't love the way he handled them all.

The book undoubtedly had some good parts. The theme of the characters learning who they are is a prominent one. Olive was born as an intersex individual and assigned the sex of female because the alagai hora believed it provided her a better chance of survival. Olive has fully visible, and by Leesha's belief, working male and female parts. This presents a challenge as the world has been told Olive is woman. She has to hide her male parts and often must stay away from the eyes of others. It leaves her feeling isolated and unsure of herself. Darin has limited control of his powers and every morning is like fire on his skin as the sun rises. People expect to see the Deliverer Arlen Bales in Darin, but he is quiet and withdrawn. He doesn't like to fight. Both Olive and Darin fear they are disappointments.

Some other strong parts are every prominent Demon Cycle character is mentioned outside of Ragen and Briar. Most are seen if only for a short while. Doing that helped Brett balance making the book accessible to a new reader as well as involving those who read the Demon Cycle. The fighting is intense and crisp. Much more sharusak, hand to hand fighting, is seen than magical attacks.

Unfortunately there were quite a few negatives for me, most prominently being this story is young adult through and through. This was hard for me as I loved the Demon Cycle, so seeing things be handed over to the children was challenging. Still after finishing the book, it's hard to imagine the heroes of the prior series even needing the help of the children to succeed. While the characters learning who they are is a good thing, it's also a significant aspect of young adult stories.

As a reader who read all the Demon Cycle books and novellas multiple times, having the point of view shift to the first person point of view of Olive and Darin was frustrating. It's like seeing the Demon Cycle from the kids table. We are getting a new perspective, but from the young teenage protagonists as they learn about their world. The kids, especially Olive, learned new things that were large aspects of the earlier books. I get it's helpful for the new reader, but I just wanted to skip those parts.

I didn't like the strange mix of passivity and privilege displayed by Darin and Olive. Due to the world being so safe, Darin seems more content to hide in a shady spot than to learn anything about Demon fighting. Olive is being pushed into being a duchess and focused entirely on female things, despite the fact she has a world changing secret hiding in her bido. Olive is largely unprepared for the real world while Darin is running and hiding from it. I don't love either of them as protagonists, but I find Darin slightly more intriguing.

The Desert Prince isn't what I expected, but out of my love for the world I'm sure I'll continue in the series.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,979 followers
December 20, 2021
This spin-off of the Demon Cycle should come with a fairly strong warning: Read the original Cycle first. My opinion, of course.

While it might very well be possible to read and enjoy this on its own, the depth and revelations of the first serve us in excellent stead.

That being said, I honestly loved everything about this book. I was a little worried about how an intersex MC might play in these books, considering some of the relatively atrocious crap that had happened to whole armies in the original Cycle, but not only was it handled deftly, with care and empathy. This needs a little explaining: Olive is rightfully worried, is brought up both as a Princess, and then, later, as a Prince. There is no handwavium here. All the expected problems exist, including the ones that anyone might expect for Main Characters who are only fifteen years old. There is no coddling, either. There is no sympathy for being different or praise. There is only survival and respect for what he/she accomplishes. It was a tightrope in the story and I think Peter V. Brett pulled it off wonderfully.

It is all about merit, and in this world, where so many people can die so damn easily in the wake of demon hoards, we have to respect that.

How did I like the story? I loved it. Caught between two worlds, Olive found and took strength in all the ways that matter. Darin finally stopped hiding and came into his own, too. The children of the greatest heroes didn't have an easy time of it, but the story is so rich and they grew so much that I have nothing bad to say about it.

And let's face it, the magic in this book, as in the others, is to die for. As are the fight scenes. And the baddies are truly fascinating.

The series, including this one, still remains one of my favorite epic fantasies. This is a strong continuation.
Profile Image for Mike Shackle.
Author 3 books316 followers
May 18, 2021
Wow. I blazed through this in a couple of days. It was impossible to put down. It's got everything you love in a Peter V. Brett book and so much more. The new cast of would-be heroes instantly draw you in and then, when some of the old favourites appear, it's like meeting old friends.

But what I loved most about this book was that this is the work of a master at the top of his game, artfully (and perhaps quite cruelly) turning up the tension page by page to almost unbearable levels so you have to keep reading to find out what happens next.

The best Peter V Brett book so far? I'd say yes.

Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,034 reviews2,605 followers
August 23, 2021
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2021/08/17/...

It’s great to be back in the Hollow! Mind you, fifteen years have passed since the end of The Demon Cycle which saw the humans beat back the creatures of the darkness, but to be honest, much here still feels comfy and familiar. Now in The Desert Prince, which kicks off a new series called the Nightfall Saga, the next generation will have their chance to prove themselves.

The story is told mainly from two perspective characters. Olive is the daughter of Leesha Paper, now the Duchess of Hollow, and Darin Bales is the son of the hero known as the Deliverer. Both of them have grown up in this peaceful world, the feats of their parents having become the stuff of legends. However, Olive wants more. As a princess and the heir of the Hollow, she has her whole life planned out by her mother, who wants to keep her only child sheltered and safe. But Leesha has also kept a big secret from her daughter. Olive has always known she is different, being intersex, but the fact has never bothered her, until her mother reveals how she had been assigned the gender of female at birth because the alagai hora—prophetic dice made of demon bone—willed it so. Olive can’t help but wonder what her life would have been like, had the fates decided differently.

Her friend Darin on the other hand faces a different kind of problem. As the son of the legendary Arlen Bales, the world expects greatness from him, but it’s a different world now without any corelings to fight. All Darin really wants is to be left alone to find his own path, and that way, maybe he won’t be a disappointment to everyone around him. But then one night, Olive and Darin cross the protective wards around the village to find out that the demons are not all gone. The threat is serious enough that the Hollow elders decide to investigate, hoping it is not a sign of a new corbeling resurgence. But soon afterwards, Olive’s heritage catches up with her as the Krasian enemies of her father come calling, capturing her for their own designs. But somewhere in this strange turn of events may be an opportunity for Olive to discover more about herself, and for Darin, who will stop at nothing to rescue his friend, this could be his chance to save the world from the demons.

As many others have noted, while The Desert Prince is a start of a new series, the novel really feels more like a continuation of The Demon Cycle. Sure, it can be read on its own without any knowledge of the prior books since the author does a pretty good job at catching you up, but the truth is, there’s really no substitute for the massive body of lore and character development you’ll be missing out on. As such, the Nightfall Saga feels very much like it was written for existing fans, though that’s not to say newcomers won’t find plenty to enjoy as well. In fact, if you love the epic fantasy genre, this will make you feel right at home, featuring heroic characters, stunning magic, and world-building on a massive scale.

Speaking as someone with the benefit of having the original series under my best, I actually thought The Desert Prince was quite good, the quality of the storytelling and writing even surpassing the previous books in a few cases. Peter V. Brett has certainly learned from his successes and mistakes, and as a result, here we have a tightly told plot which also highlights the importance of having well-developed characters. Of course, in this case having a memorable cast is important—they are the children of some larger-than-life heroes, after all. There’s a good balance between the POVs, with Olive’s probably being slightly more prominent (which makes sense, since her arc feels more consequential to the overall story, at least at this early point in the series) though both threads take on major coming-of-age themes like self-discovery or living up to parental expectations, etc., making these characters and their struggles feel more genuine and relatable.

Arguably though, the real stars are the corelings. A renewed war against the demons was undoubtedly what I’d hoped for when I picked up The Desert Prince, and one of the main reasons I signed up for the ride. And I know I can’t be the only one. The harrowing night fights against the demons in this book are some of the best Brett has ever written, which is enough to make me overlook some of the more annoying aspects which have been carried over from the original series, like the excessive melodrama and relationship shenanigans or the prejudice and merciless attitudes of Krasia. Those new to the magic system based around demon bones and warding are sure to be in for a nice surprise, while returning readers will also be treated to additions and an overall expansion to the lore. In other words, the experience was fresh yet comfortable, and coming from The Demon Cycle, I was impressed with the seamless shift from old to new.

All in all, I was happy to be back in the world of The Demon Cycle, upgraded and looking sleek in a new fresh coat of paint. Peter V. Brett slips right back into the rhythm of things without compromising the characteristic elements of the original series while putting a new generation in the spotlight and allowing them a chance to endear themselves into the hearts of readers new and old. On the whole, long-time fans will probably gain the most appreciation out of The Desert Prince but I would recommend it for anyone who enjoys epic fantasy.
498 reviews1 follower
January 1, 2022
Random House / Ballantine Books
Published: 8/03/2021 656 pages, Hardcover

An epic fantasy that returns to the beloved universe of the Demon Cycle saga. Although it is the first in a trilogy, it stands alone with more than a satisfying conclusion …. but, yet, it leaves the reader begging for more. The adventure starts fifteen years after the end of the Demon War, and supposedly the night creatures have been vanquished. The narrative unfolds in the eyes of two descendants of the cherished heroes from the original saga. Both Olive Paper and Darin Bales are coming of age in this so-called peaceful time with trepidation of looming danger suspected. Olive, the Princess of Hollow, is the so-called “normal” daughter of
Duchess Leesha Paper, and is resentful of her papered and protected life. While Darin, the son of the man “who saved mankind” is forever in the shadow of his father, with everyone anticipating his ultimate greatness. Both Olive and Darin seek to find their own places and fortunes in a peace that will soon be shattered.
Peter Brett masterfully weaves this new tale, while effortlessly providing the necessary back story , enabling this adventure to not only standalone, but also represent a great jump off point for new readers. Yet again, the reader is introduced to magnificent world building and a uniquely developed magic system. There will be no shortage of warding magic or a plethora of demons, danger, and adventure. Brett successfully ratchets up the tension and intrigue, exploding into a worthy denouement that leaves the reader begging for more.
Thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for providing an Uncorrected Proof in exchange for an honest review. I kind of envy new readers, who can now go enjoy the original saga, and not just await the continuing adventures of our new heroes.
….. at readersremains.com …….
Profile Image for Suzanne.
1,612 reviews
August 27, 2021
It has been quite awhile since I read The Demon Cycle series, and was pretty great getting to read this book set in the same world, but seventeen years later. Our main characters are the children of the heroes from the first book, which is a big burden to carry. I think I would have enjoyed this book without reading the earlier series, but seeing some of those original characters, even briefly, was pretty great.

Desert Prince follows two points of view - Olive, whose mother was Leesha, and Darin, who Darin Bales. I liked how the author gave each of them plenty of time in the story and didn't switch between them too often. I was invested in both stories, and I LOVED how they merged.

Trying to be spoiler free in this review is difficult, but it was so fun discovering things through reading and I don't want to ruin that for anyone. Olive has such complexity, and I think the character was handled extremely well (is that cryptic enough?). Darin's abilities and personality were so interesting. And the side characters were also well developed!

The ending was crazy - so much happened - some things that I absolutely didn't want to happen - and I had to stop reading several times from about 75% on. So many emotions.....I'm excited for the next book!
Profile Image for Jackson.
184 reviews57 followers
February 1, 2023
The Desert Prince is the first book in a sequel series to Peter V Brett's The Demon Cycle books.
I suppose this could be read without having read the first series beforehand, but I would strongly advise against it personally.

This book is set to release on the 3rd of August. Thank you to Harper Collins/Voyager for the early proof copy and the chance to give an honest review.

*This will be a spoiler-free review. Quotes found herein may be subject to change.*

A brief synopsis:
The children of the main characters from The Demon Cycle series have grown up having never seen a demon, they have known nothing but the safety of their warded communities and the teachings of their elders to keep them protected.
It has been many years since the demon war, and the demons themselves are starting to become mythological and underestimated in the minds of those that never knew them.
That is until they reappear, and it looks as though they are hunting a few people specifically; Olive Paper - the child of Leesha Paper and Ahmann Jardir, and Darin Bales - the son of Arlen and Renna Bales.

"We are in the wilds, far from home, sister. We will have a reckoning, you and I, but for now, you will obey."

There are a few things about The Desert Prince that potential readers of this series should know ahead of time because this book isn't really like Brett's previous series at all, despite being set in the same place and featuring some of the same characters.
First of all - perspective; it's first person. Which was jarring to me to begin with, and because it has been quite a few years since I read The Core and I honestly couldn't remember if the last series was first person as well or not. I checked... It wasn't.
I am not 100% sure why Brett decided to make this change, maybe it's because there are fewer POV's? Or because the characters are younger and first person lends itself more toward the YA demographic? Again, I don't know, but I felt it lead to a significant change in feeling and tone of the story. This wouldn't have been so bad if the story itself didn't borrow quite so much from the previous series - this brings me onto my next point.

Everything is connected. This was frustrating to me. Time has passed, the world has changed (or so we are told) but nothing really felt different to me and there are so so so so many references to the previous series, it doesn't stop - hence why I really don't see this as a good jumping in spot.

Now, in The Desert Prince, Greathollow is bigger and better - the greatwards protecting it are stronger and more intricate... but we only ever see this through the eyes of a kid who doesn't appreciate it and wants to leave.
Fort Krasia still fights demons in the maze regularly, despite the events at the end of the previous series. I feel like it would have been more interesting to have seen the maze without a purpose, a people having lost part of their identity. But no, I guess demons still attack here because it was far enough away from the core of the planet? I don't know, maybe I'm missing the answer somewhere. It just felt a bit contrived.
That's the two big locations; samey and underutilized.
Now, let's talk characters!

Almost every character is connected to the previous series in some way.
The main characters I can understand, it makes sense, but most of the secondary characters were as well!
Leesha, Renna, Ahmann, Gared... Key cast of the first series - Brett did a pretty good job of phasing them out as the book went on, relying on them less and less, but there really wasn't enough new BIG characters introduced to replace them. Again, this may be because the cast is going to be deliberately smaller with fewer POV's in this series, but it felt like something was missing - maybe that's the point, we shall see.
My physical proof didn't come with a family tree, but I know there are plans to have it in the final release - this will both be very helpful (because it is certainly confusing at times) and it will no doubt highlight how much has been carried over from the previous works.
Everyone is related to a hero of the war somehow, and the extended families as well? It made the world feel smaller than it is.
All of this isn't to say the characters are bad. I quite liked some of them.

Olive Paper is a really interesting character. What starts off as a very tropey personal conflict of wanting to leave her safety bubble and get away from her responsibilities and her over protective and demanding mother, the Dutchess of the Hollow, quickly evolves into something I had not seen before that I really enjoyed and appreciated - no spoilers.

"The first day, fight. Every day, fight. When you lose, fight. When you win, fight."

Darin Bales; son of the Deliverer - the Painted Man himself, the savior of the land.
Darin has a tough time trying to live up to others expectations of him, having the father he had.*
He never knew his Da - him having died ending the war, but his legacy lives on and Darin cannot do all that his Da could.
I really liked this idea and it lent itself really well to Darin's growth throughout the book.

(*It wasn't lost on me that this may be a comment aimed towards people, such as myself, that expected the style and tone of this book to better reflect the previous series. But I respect it - wanting to do something different, going in a different direction, I just wish it had gone further, gone to new places with more new people and new conflicts. But I digress.)

Darin is a great character.

"Saving the world is the kind of reputation that can stick to a family. Folks I've never met give me gifts and let me get away with just about anything. But sometimes I catch them staring, like they're expecting me to do something amazing.
And when I don't, I can smell their disappointment."

Other characters; Selen, Micha, Chadan and Arick specifically, I really enjoyed and thought were handled very well.
On the flip side, there is a relatively large group of characters in the Krasian portion of the book that I felt I should really have cared more about but didn't. This was frustrating to me because the POV character cared, the one who's head we were in - they cared very much, but I just didn't connect with them at all.

So yes, overall this book was a big mixed bag for me.
Some elements I enjoyed, others I didn't. In some ways I wish it was more like the previous series, but because it wasn't I wish it had gone further and not been shackled so tightly to what came before.

3 stars

Despite my luke-warm reaction, I will definitely be reading the next book when it releases, I'm invested in this world and series enough to be intrigued about it's future.

Again, The Desert Prince will release on the 3rd of August, and another thank you to Harper Collins and Voyager for the early proof copy.

I hope you are all enjoying your current reads!
Do let me know if you plan to read this and feel free share with me your opinions when you do! It'd be great to discuss!
Profile Image for Marta Cox.
2,575 reviews191 followers
July 30, 2021
Ok I have to start by saying that I have not read the preceding trilogy the Demon Cycle but now I really want to ! This book is set fifteen years after the parents of Olive and her friend Darin succeeded in taking down the Demons that had plagued the world. Yes a few stragglers escaped but the legends of what these people achieved elevates them in everyone's eyes and indeed hearts. So you can imagine how difficult it is for their children to live within their shadows.
Our story begins with Olive desperately wanting to be treated like everyone else but she's cosseted, protected and frankly stifled. Darin might have a more relaxed and normal life than Olive but he is full of self doubt and occasionally even self loathing. Yet Darin has amazing abilities that to be blunt took this reader a while to fully understand but when I did wow now thats someone who should proud. When Olive is kidnapped the story truly becomes something that is mind blowing with jealousy, greed and vile machinations in play. Forced to face her innermost fears Olive rises to become more than a pampered Princess but the deceit and lies that lie behind her are nothing compared to what she will now face !
Oo this was so good with a pace that just kept building. The author gives us a story of adversity and courage but also one of manipulation and pain. I loved Olive and the progression of this characters sexuality felt relevant. Perhaps not precisely hermaphrodite but certainly Olive is finding a way to not only live in the circumstances forced their way but to thrive.
There is without a doubt way more here about Olive but fear not Darin steps up to follow his friend along with Selen and this was a wee bit confusing. Selen is a similar age to Olive but is her aunt. Plus we get Micha who is Olives Nanny and also her sister ! Yes I know this has an Arabian sort of feel with desert and palaces but learning Olives very absent father has seventy children was a tad disconcerting. I do feel that perhaps these tangled family dynamics might have been easier to understand more quickly if I had already read the Demon Cycle series . However I can honestly say that apart from initially metaphorically scratching my head it didn't ruin my enjoyment one iota. I had fun reading this and honestly didn't want to put it down. Yes I recommend it and yes I'm definitely off to buy more books from this new to me author .
This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair
Profile Image for Blaise.
307 reviews70 followers
June 16, 2021
After four long years of waiting, we have finally returned to the desert plain of Thesa. Fifteen years have pasted since the concluding volume in the Demon Cycle series and we are thrown right back into the fray as if we never left. What we get in the Desert Prince is an ever expanding world with several new characters, some returning favorites, and themes of questioning moral and societal norms in organic and inciteful ways. I got the same excitement reading this as when I first read The Warded Man many years ago.

Let me start by staying I do not recommend starting with The Desert Prince if you have not read the entire Demon Cycle series. You will experience many spoilers and miss several of the shocking and wonderful moments of the series. This is probably one of the most difficult reviews I have had to write just based on the spoilers and important themes that need to be experience first hand. This review will also contain spoilers for the Demon Cycle so turn away now if you are new to Peter V. Brett’s work.

Fifteen years after the Warded Man sacrificed himself to destroy the Demon Queen and cleanse Thesa of the Demon horde. We follow two POV characters in this new entry and fans of the original series can guess they are the children of our heroes. Olive Paper is a Princess of the Hollow and is living every second of her life under the watchful eyes of her mother Leesha. Learning how to be a herbiest and a honing her skills as a warrior, all Olive wants is the freedom to make her own choices. Olive may be biting off more than she can chew as the world is a much more dangerous place than she knows. Darin Bales, son of the Warden Man has different challenges of his own. Due to the exposure his mother had to demon magic, Darin can not be exposed to the sun but can sense magic both in site and smell. Darin also has skills playing his musical pipes much like Rojer Halfhand. Darin will need all of those skills and more when his home is attacked and all of Thesa is thrown into chaos.

Now for the difficult part of the review. There is a major element introduced right from the first chapter which will set the themes, events, and conflicts in motion for the rest of the novel. Readers of the original trilogy will know what I am referring to but I will not spoil it here. Peter V. Brett explores several societal and personal questions that are being asked and lived in real life with people across the globe. What The Desert Prince showed me is that what cultures and traditions deem normal doesn’t always coincide with what is right for the person or group. People need to be able to discover themselves and what makes them happy or feel included. When these wishes clash powerful parties, it can lead to quite an unstable situation and this is present throughout the novel. Peter V. Brett introduces these instances naturally and with great care as it meshes with the story very well.

There is plenty of action and combat with sprinkles of character growth and mystery. The climax of the story will only leave you wanting more from all the characters presented. Peter V. Brett shows us once again why he is a best selling author and I look forward to reading the sequel, whenever that may be.

Profile Image for James Islington.
Author 7 books4,608 followers
October 4, 2021

[Review by James's assistant Elisabeth]

The Desert Prince is an epic tale centred around two teenagers. Darin Bales is the son of the legendary Arlen Bales, a great war hero, and the world expects similar greatness from him—though he isn’t confident he can live up to it. Olive Paper is a princess and heir of the Hollow, brought up to be a lady despite being intersex. Both Darin and Olive journey to discover who they are and who they want to be, despite expectations from those around them. While facing these internal struggles they also discover a danger lurking at the edge of their homes: the demons that once plagued their lands, thought to be defeated, are not all gone…

This book does a great job of setting up the trilogy that is to come, introducing some fantastic characters and an intriguing conflict. It is, however, definitely a YA series—full of characters gushing over each other and obsessing about who kissed who. That’s not to say it doesn’t also have some great battle sequences, internal cultural conflicts, and political intrigue but the angst and romance was a little too much for me.

The narrative jumps between Darin and Olive’s perspectives, providing two unique viewpoints on the world. They’re both well written characters, but there was an imbalance between the two narratives, with way more chapters following Olive than there were Darin. This meant that I got to know Olive’s personality and story really well, and became quite invested in her plotlines. But on the flip side, it meant that I lost interest in Darin really quickly. His storyline was interesting, it was just hard to get invested. His chapters felt like an interruption to the main story instead of an equal part. He also felt neglected when it came to the book’s ending. The last few chapters weren’t as satisfying as they could have been, which was partly because of underdeveloped and unresolved plotlines—which I think is connected to the structural issues in the book. It was still enjoyable to read, but I felt like it could have been so much better if the POVs were more balanced.

I also found the vast array of characters a little confusing. There were a lot of names and a lot of people who were somehow related, and it became difficult to keep track. I have to admit I am new to The Demon Cycle series which may have contributed to this muddling. While The Desert Prince does a decent job of reintroducing the world and its history for newbies like me, there were some things that I felt assumed prior knowledge—especially surrounding the significance of certain characters and locations. This didn’t hinder the overall story however, and I believe there’ll be a family tree glossary in the final print of the book which should help (my copy was an ARC).

Despite some issues, The Desert Prince was still a decent read and if you’re into YA fantasy I think you’ll enjoy it!

Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,551 reviews2,937 followers
October 27, 2021
This book is the first in a new series by Peter V Brett which takes place years after the Demon Cycle and follows some of the descendants of some of the original characters. We follow Olive, who is intersex, and Darlin as the main two characters.

What I found with this is that I enjoyed the nostalgia of the world so much but that it reminded me of the Rain Wilds Chronicles by Robin Hobb in that it’s a YA focus on the new characters. After following characters that were adults in the last series in this world I think it’s a bit of a shift in focus and you have to get used to that, but if you enjoy YA or you want to start a fresh series this could be a lot of fun.

Personally when I got into it I enjoyed the story and the world’s political struggles, but I didn’t love the intersex ‘plot point’ being a big focus. I think there could have been other ways to handle this topic and to have integrated it into the story, but it reads a little clunky to me in this one.

The demons and the ‘big bad’ danger are just as exciting and enticing to me as the previous series. The characters of Olive and Darlin are full of promise despite them being a little surface level and stereotypical teenagers at the start of this series. I do think that they will be developed as it goes as that’s what I saw in the last series and I will certainly continue on when the next comes out. 3*s
Profile Image for Connie.
338 reviews14 followers
May 28, 2021
A new series from Peter V Brett set 15 years after the last Demon Cycle book, and the Demons have been destroyed.
In this book we follow Oliver Paper and Darin Bales as they try to live up to the expectations of their heroic parents in a new peaceful world. But the Demons have not gone and are biding their time, plotting revenge.
I absolutely loved this, it's a well constructed story with great characters, with very human flaws, and it was good to see some old favourite characters pop up from the first series.
A very satisfying read. Now I just have to wait 'patiently' for the next.
Thanks to Netgalley and Publisher for the ARC.
Profile Image for Flying Monkey.
339 reviews76 followers
September 27, 2021
2.5 Stars!

The Desert Prince is worth reading if you have read the previous Demon cycle series but falls short of my high expectations from the previous series. I found the characters more shallow and not as compelling in the Desert Prince. I was hoping for more. Hopefully, the characters in the sequel will connect with the reader more.
Profile Image for Angela Groves.
340 reviews5 followers
June 26, 2021
I needn't have worried about this new series at all, despite being a continuation of the story from The Demon Cycle series, the story feels fresh and exciting. Whilst doing this it also manages to feel like your walking into something familiar, and while demons aren't exactly comforting, being back in this world certainly was. The new characters are as loveable as their predecessors, I absolutely NEED the next one. I have to know what is next for them! Highly recommended for fans of brilliant fantasy and top class world building.
Profile Image for Lex.
217 reviews2 followers
July 26, 2021
Wow. I am blown away. Firstly thank you NetGalley and Random House for sending me a copy of this gem. Now on to reasons why you should read this book as soon as you can get your hands on it!

First things first - You do NOT have to read The Demon Cycle series before you read The Desert Prince. I did not read the series beforehand (because I didn't know about the series until after I looked the author up) and I had absolutely no trouble at all following the story. Everything was clear and concise - the history behind the characters was explained and there were also explanations about the relationships between people explained too. There's also a family tree that further helped clear things up. So everything you need to enjoy this book and learn about the world is there! It's a nice entry point for someone new to Mr. Brett's work and it was written in a way that was not overwhelming. HOWEVER, if you plan to read The Demon Cycle series - and I wish I had now because this was amazing - I would not recommend you start this yet!!!! I wouldn't even recommend you read many reviews for this book just yet!!!! BUT if you're just looking for a fun entry point, you could surely start with The Desert Prince and be just fine! Up to you!

The Demon Prince follows the stories of Olive and Darin who are the offspring of some characters from Mr. Brett's other series. I won't say their names because of spoilers should you decide to read the series. If you know you know, but the events in this story take place 15 years after The Demon Cycle so the children of said past characters have now grown up. Darin is expected to save the world and has a very peculiar condition whereby he has an aversion to.... something -or rather he can't be exposed to it I should say. People can actually experience it in real life, so I thought Brett's inclusion of that in the story was really neat. We also follow Olive who is prepared to inherit the throne from her mother all while struggling with their identity. Olive is an intersex character who identifies as both girl and boy. Obviously, this plays a huge part in her character development and also who she becomes by the end of the story. She's only 15 years old trying to get a grasp on her emotions and decision-making and I think that is reflected well in the story. To be frank, Brett went above and beyond with the character development making you feel for them and care about them, which can be hard to do. As a reader, I am often not too invested in characters until we really get down to the nitty-gritty of who they are - and we certainly get to that in this book. We do get more Olive than Darin within the story and if I'm honest and nitpicking - I wanted more Darin time too, but I'll take what I can get! lol They are both just incredible characters and I can't wait to see how they really grow into themselves even more - especially Darin with his powers.

While this book is a hefty one, at no point did I personally feel like it was slow or a chore to get through. I simply read a chunk every day for a few days until I reached the climax - and then couldn't put it down until I finished. And again - for first-time readers, you may appreciate the extra pages and work Brett has put into laying the foundation for the story. It helps if you're new to his work! The diversity and representation in the story seemed to flow and never seemed to be there as a "token" or "forced" - which I think many people will appreciate! I truly don't have anything negative to say about this book other than the fact that book two's wait time will be too long! Do pick this up ASAP and give it a shot!
Profile Image for Jennifer.
177 reviews1 follower
June 13, 2021
Copy received from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

The Desert Prince picks up fifteen years after the end of The Core and follows two POV characters: Olive, the child of Leesha and Jardir and Darin, the child of Arlen and Renna. The previous fifteen years have been, on the whole, peaceful but things are starting to take a dark turn once more. The demons are returning and they are after Olive and Darin.

The book’s predecessor was a largely entertaining read but it did have a lot of issues, mostly to do with pacing and there being too much filler. The first book, The Painted Man was very enjoyable but the rest of the series seemed to get too bogged down at times. When it was good, it was very good but there were times where I was incredibly frustrated by it. Characters would often disappear for hundreds of pages without a word and then just suddenly reappear which was very annoying when it was a character I actually liked and I had to put up with the annoying characters for more than half a book *cough*Leesha*cough*. By reducing the number of POV characters down to just Olive and Darin, The Desert Prince manages to avoid the worst parts of the previous series and manages to tell a tighter, faster moving and more enjoyable story.

I really enjoyed both Olive and Darin’s POVs. They both have their own challenges to overcome and Brett manages to write both very well. Olive is a hermaphrodite in the true sense of the Greek myth. She has been raised a girl by her mother but he is seen as a man by his Krasian relatives so a large part of Olive’s story is coming to terms with identity, especially when Olive is neither male nor female, but both. It’s a more literal interpretation of a teenager coming to terms with who they are and I liked the way Brett wrote it. Darin’s story is one of having to overcome the legacy of his father, especially when he feels that he cannot live up to Arlen and what he did.

Both Olive and Darin were very likeable characters. Olive has the stubbornness of her mother but not any of her annoying Mary Sue traits. Darin is rather adorable and I found him to be very sweet. The supporting characters are also enjoyable to read, I especially liked Selen and all the characters had their own distinct voices which makes them all feel like separate characters.

The Desert Prince tells a whole story but it does feel like a set up for a further plot. Not everything is wrapped up by the end and there are several plot threads that are left open to hopefully be picked up in another book. I had a lot of fun reading the book, it was paced well and I enjoyed reading the characters. It didn’t feel as bogged down in so much story as the Demon Cycle so hopefully future books will continue in that vein.
Profile Image for Danny Pearman.
73 reviews3 followers
February 28, 2023
Exceptional reading. Got to be honest, first few chapters I did struggle, think this was because it had been such a long time since reading 'The Core', once I got my head around things, the characters came to life and then it was all plain sailing, page turning, terrific story line.

The ending was sudden is my only gripe, kept turning the page back and forth to see if I had missed something.

Overall, if you enjoyed the original, you will love this one, honest word.
Profile Image for Chi-Chi.
132 reviews8 followers
May 31, 2021
Another epic Peter Brett adventure. You see all your old friends as well as an amazing cast from the next generation. I don't think there's another author out there who does such an amazing job balancing multiple POVs, bringing them together and using them to show you the world isn't black and white - there's no simple hero and villain. Despite the young age of the new heroes, the book is full of epic battles, romance and constant thrills. I wasn't sure this new series could live up to the wonder (and devastation) of the Core, but it absolutely did. I highly recommend.
Profile Image for Patrick St-Denis.
351 reviews42 followers
June 6, 2021
I'm quite behind on Peter V. Brett's Demon Cycle series and I have no excuses to account for that sad state of affairs. So when I was asked if I'd like an early read of his forthcoming The Desert Prince, I knew I couldn't say no. Especially given the fact that the novel is supposedly a good starting point for new readers to jump in.

In retrospect, Brett's latest work shares a lot of similarities with his debut, The Warded Man. As such, it is an introduction to what appears to be a much bigger and multilayered story arc. Time will tell if this new trilogy will manage to live up to the potential generated by the Demon Cycle. This is not readily apparent based on this first installment, but little did people know that the author's first series would reach such heights.

Here's the blurb:

Fifteen years have passed since the end of the war with demons, creatures of darkness who have hunted the night and plagued humanity since time out of mind. The heroes of mankind’s hour of need have become legend, and those who remain struggle to escape their shadows.

Olive Paper and Darin Bales have grown up in this new peaceful world. Demons have been all but destroyed, but dangers still lurk for the children of heroes.

Olive, Princess of Hollow, has her entire life planned out by her mother, Duchess Leesha Paper: a steady march on a checklist to prepare her for succession. The more her mother writes the script, the more Olive rails against playing the parts she is assigned.

Darin faces challenges of a different kind. Though free to choose his own path, the weight of legacy hangs heavy around his shoulders. It isn’t easy being the son of the man people say saved the world. Everyone expects greatness from Darin, but the only thing he’s ever been great at is hiding.

But when Olive and Darin step across the wards one night, they learn the demons are not all gone, and those that remain hunger for revenge. Events are set in motion that only prophecy can foresee as Olive and Darin seek to find their own places in the world in time to save it again.

So is this the perfect opportunity for new readers to jump in? Well, yes and no. A lot of efforts were made to make sure readers unfamiliar with the original series would understand what's going on. Other than missing out on certain nuances, The Desert Prince stands very well on its own. It does spoil the Demon Cycle rather thoroughly, however. For someone like me, who had yet to read the whole thing, it made me realize how much I have missed. And how I can't really go back and enjoy these books as much as I should have. Hence, it's up to you to decide whether or not you want to begin with Brett's newest offering, or go back and start with his international bestselling sequence beforehand.

Long-time fans will relish the opportunity to return to Brett's universe and get reacquainted with characters from the first series and be introduced to their offspring and new faces. I was surprised how similar in style and tone The Desert Prince was compared to The Warded Man. Both are character-driven novels, first and foremost. Which means that the worldbuilding essentially remains in the background throughout most of the tale. In that regard, fans who have read the Demon Cycle might get a bit more out of the story than newbies. As I mentioned, this book is an introduction meant to set the stage for what comes next and readers get few answers to the many questions that come to mind as one reads on. For the most part, I felt that Brett lays the groundwork for a lot of things to come. But like the protagonists, until the end we are left in the dark regarding most of what goes on. The story is never dull, mind you. It just makes you want to read the sequel ASAP.

In style and tone, The Desert Prince is YA through and through. So much so that I contacted Brett to see if this was a YA series. Way back when in 2008, during our first interview, the author addressed the "dreaded" YA moniker in regards to his work. He understood how his writing style, along with the fact that the early parts of The Warded Man dealt with the protagonists’ childhoods, could make the book appear to be meant for a younger audience. But his target readers were always adults. The author felt that he dealt frankly with a lot of harsh adult themes and topics, and tried to engage the reader directly with them. He showcased characters in their childhoods to let the reader share the pivotal moments of their lives that shape their characters and adult motivations, not as an attempt to market to young readers. Brett told me that it was the same with his latest work. He and his publishers are treating it as adult fiction and it will be interesting to see what the upcoming installments will bring in terms of character growth and maturity. God knows the Demon Cycle was no YA series by any stretch of the imagination. Having said that, The Desert Prince doesn't really show any signs that its sequels will veer toward adult fiction. Indeed, it's chock-full of teenage angst, black-and-white views, and often dumb decisions. You may or may not find that off-putting. Your mileage will vary in that regard and will likely influence how much you like/dislike this book.

First-person narratives are always tricky. It can be even trickier to capture the imagination of adult readers and suck them into your tale when your main protagonists are all teenagers. We witness events through the perspectives of two characters: Olive Paper and Darin Bales. Both are well-drawn and three-dimensional, and I felt that there was a good balance between the two POVs. I understand that there was no way to dodge the bullet and we had to go through the feeling of the "ugh-I'm-so-misunderstood-what-is-life?" part of adolescence with both protagonists. But I must admit that it grated on my nerves from time to time. I would have liked to have a third point of view, an adult perspective, to help dilute all that teenage angst. Thankfully, the supporting cast comprised of old and new characters helps with that. I just wish one of them could have had his or her own POV. Micha's especially, who was a personal favorite of mine.

Kudos to Peter V. Brett for taking one hell of a chance with one of the protagonists. This is something I would have expected from someone like Jacqueline Carey, who is no stranger to such things. Brett did something that will take certain readers far out of their comfort zone and it remains to be seen how this will be received by his fans. When asked about it, Brett explained that sensitivity reads made him feel that he handled it rather well and that as an author it's his job to take readers out of their comfort zone. Time will tell if that's the case or not. I don't want to spoil this and I hope no advance reviews will do so. But I'm curious to see how readers will react and how it will affect the story in the subsequent volumes. Because it's kind of a big deal. . . A very big deal, actually!

The YA tone ensures that the language will not shock virgin ears. Indeed, The Desert Prince would receive the Brandon Sanderson seal of approval. I mean, I swear more and let fly more expletives when I bang my toe on something than what you get in the 600+ pages of this novel. In terms of action, Peter V. Brett can give Sanderson and Salvatore a run for their money and his latest is full of choreographed battle scenes.

The pace can be quite uneven, especially in the early portions of the book. But once it gets rolling, there's no denying that The Desert Prince maintains a good rhythm from here on out. The finale and the ending, in particular, are thrilling. Revelations come late, alas, but they do leave the door open for what should be an interesting set of sequels. Hopefully, as was the case with the Demon Cycle, character growth and maturity will make our protagonists easier to root for.

For more reviews, check out www.fantasyhotlist.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Bücher Zauber.
128 reviews18 followers
February 23, 2022
Endlich dürfen wir wieder in die Welt der Dämonen und Schutzzeichen eintauchen. Mit "Der Prinz der Wüste" beginnt der Auftakt einer Trilogie, welche die Geschichte der nächsten Generation aus dem Dämonenzyklus erzählt.
Etwas 15 Jahre nach dem Dämonenkrieg, werden die Horclinge erneut zur Bedrohung für die Zivilisation und besonders die Nachkommen unserer Helden haben damit zu kämpfen. So wie in der ursprünglichen Saga sind aber die Dämonen nicht das einzige was unseren neuen Helden das Leben schwer macht. Im Mittelpunkt steht dieses mal die Frage "Wie geht man damit um, wenn die Eltern legendäre fast göttliche Helden sind?". Dabei begleiten wir Darin und Olive, welche aus der Ich-Perspektive die Ereignisse schildern.
Die Perspektive liest sich oft recht holprig, auch wenn wir durch den Wechsel zwischen den beiden Protagonisten einen gutuen Überblick behalten. Die Thematik, dass die Fußstapfen der Eltern den Kindern nicht so richtig passen, wurde für meinen Geschmack etwas zu sehr ausgereizt. Was früher noch undenkbar gewesen wäre nehmen die Jugendlichen hier als ihr gegebenes Recht und passen nirgends so richtig rein. Größtenteils ist das aber grandiös geschrieben und fügt sich nahtlos ins Geschehen. Besonders den Geschlechterkonflikt und die Frage nach der eigenen Identität bringt Peter v. Brett hier auf einem Niveau der Extraklasse. Auch die Rückkehr der Dämonen ist wieder erwarten nicht aufgesetzt oder gestellt, sondern knüpft an die Saga an und fügt sich perfekt ins Gesamtbild. Besonders großartig war für mich die Rückkehr in den Wüstenspeer.
Insgesamt weiß ich nicht ob die Reihe eine Fortsetzung gebraucht hätte, ich bin aber sehr gerne an die Orte zurückgekehrt und habe jede Seite genossen.
Ich kann aber auch eine klare Empfehlung geben zuerst die anderen Teile zu lesen. Es wird zwar alles irgendwie erklärt, aber ein besonders markantes Merkmal der Reihe ist, dass die Kulturen und Religionen ausgiebig eingeführt werden, damit man als Leser jede Entscheidung nachvollziehen kann. Ohne dieses Wissen geht dieser Effekt hier verloren.
Also ich freue mich auf den zweiten Teil!
Profile Image for AltLovesBooks.
368 reviews24 followers
August 16, 2021
"Hollow needed a healing hand fifteen years ago, but it's time that hand held a spear once more."

This is basically Disney's Descendants with demons.

The kids of the main characters from the first series are confronted with the same evil that was never quite vanquished the first time. Olive Paper and Darin Bales are the main protagonists here, with a side cast of other kids from notable names from the first series. We get a whirlwind tour of a lot of the notable places from the first series, end up in the desert with a rapid-fire training montage reminiscent of The Desert Spear, and have a confrontation at the end that seems familiar as well.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy the book. Quite the opposite, I liked the return to a series I loved the first time around. But I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention that, at least this book, feels like an infodump of the first series intended to onboard new readers. There's lots of points when characters are meeting other characters that we get a "and here's what this character did in the first series" narration. Everything we see and everywhere we go gets another little "and here's the impact this had on the first series" byline. So, I guess what I'm saying is, there's a lot to love here if you loved the first series, but if you're looking for a different take or a different feel, I don't know if this is for you. I will say that if you're new to the world, this book does a good job of giving you the high level plot points, major players and conflicts, and a rudimentary introduction to terminology enough to at least get you oriented.

So, in summary, read this if you liked the first series, I think is what it boils down to. It really hits all the right notes and feels from its origins.
1 review
July 27, 2021
I was lucky enough to get a copy of the book ahead of release. This is my first review. The Demon Cycle was one of my all time favorite fantasy series. I have long since waited to return to the world. I believe the Desert Prince does a good job of balancing the introduction of new characters while also trying to tie it to the original series. It’s not always easy to move a story to the next generation without erasing the old. I think Olive and Darin are great characters and handled well. The plot doesn’t waste time in getting the characters moving, but doesn’t rush it to the point of being unbelievable. While not my favorite book to come out of Peter V. Brett, it still has the flavor that made me fall in love with the original series. I can’t wait to see more from these characters, and hopefully still more of the old. I do recommend reading the original series. While not entirely necessary to enjoy this book, it will spoil the original series if you haven’t read it. Thanks again for my advanced copy. Hope my review was helpful to interested readers.
Profile Image for Mark.
486 reviews83 followers
August 27, 2021
Absolutely fantastic no further words needed

Highly recommended to all of my Goodreads friends who read fantasy.
Profile Image for Amy Burt.
200 reviews6 followers
May 31, 2021
I’m a little split on this book, technically it’s brilliant but for me I found it a bit of a struggle at times.

What’s good about The Desert Prince. The 2nd half is pretty busy, there are plenty of quality, lengthy action scenes against the alagai (demons). These scenes are no-holds-back, certain characters die that you would not expect to die and it makes the scenes incredibly suspenseful. With this, the world building is good, in the sense of the creations of the demons, , the politics, the culture etc. I haven’t read anything by Peter V Brett before so this may have put me at a disadvantage in understanding certain things - there is a glossary at the back so you may need to use this as not everything is explained, assuming people already know!
Olive is ‘intersex’, having both male and female genitalia and presumably can both heir and carry a child. Th interesting exploration in this book comes to gender identity and the limitations of fitting in the box of your gender and your sex. Olive is raised as a princess however following a chain of events in the book she is treated as male, gradually they learn they don’t need to choose and be either/or, they are a person, not a sex. It’s a huge issue so I do feel like it could have been explored even further, but it’s still not something you see enough in books, as well as LGBT romance referred to so casually, as it should.

Things I struggled with. The pacing. I get it, you need to build Princess Olive up, as a girl, in order for the reshaping in the rest of the book, the pressures of their mother (and Darin the pressure of his fathers legacy) but it it feels like it goes on for a long time. This book felt incredibly long and took me longer than usual to get through.
Olive also can be pretty frustrating at times. The character is 15 and it shows, while their narrative does admit to being unfair, their behaviour doesn’t show this at times. They are surrounded by people who sacrifice to protect them and yet, even with character growth, it’s a little bratty at times. Don’t get me wrong, Olive has a lot of potential and does make sacrifices for the greater good, but at times they’re a little whiney. Micha gives up everything for Olive, but Olive still treats her badly. I loved Micha so this isn’t something I’m ok with. Olive’s mother, Duchess Leesha, also, it’s clear she has made huge sacrifices to protect Olive (and I hope this is followed up in the next instalment) but Olive consistently acts wronged by her. The chapters dedicated to Darin and Selen were most enjoyable for me, Darin is an absolute sweetheart, he doesn’t see how heroic he is, he underestimates and undervalues himself and yet he still tries. Selen is just fun, there’s definitely more to her and I’d love for it to be explored but she’s a delight on the page.

Overall this book took a while to read and at times it’s a little confusing but you get the feel of what it’s talking about, but I did enjoy it and I’m looking forward to the next instalment. Thank you NetGalley for the early copy to review.
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