Michael S. 's Reviews > The Warded Man

The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
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's review
May 17, 2010

it was amazing

This is one of the best fantasy debuts I've come across in recent years. Just to give perspective, I would place this book on the same level with Rothfuss's Name of the Wind or Durham's Acacia. (This is praise I don't bestow lightly.)

I almost didn't buy this book. I am so glad I did! I typically don't care for fantasy novels described as "dark fantasy" or "horror fantasy." I usually don't like for my villans to be "demons" or grotesquely misshapen giant insect-like creatures--such as the "reavers" from the Runelords saga. It's just not my preference. "Dark fantasy","horror"- are what the "blurbs" on the back of the book call The Warded Man, but I found those descriptions to be somewhat misleading.

At its heart this is a story about hope and redemption; a story about true heroism. I love how it shows that age old fantasy theme--that anyone can be a hero given the right situation--if they make heroic choices.

I was very drawn in to this story by the characters. They are very believable and intriguing. It is easy to relate to these characters and the experiences that define them. I especially loved the scenes in which Arlen lost respect for and faith in his father. Maybe not to this extent, but I think we all had a moment in childhood or adolescence where our illusions that mom or dad were some kind of perfect superman or superwoman were irreparably shattered.

I liked that men and women of differing ages in this book all play a central role. The background of each was intersting. Jongleurs (a.k.a. scops, bards, entertainers) Herb gatherers-(a.k.a pharmacsits/doctors) Very cool stuff there. The Arab like culture of the Krassians was very intriguing and I can't wait to see more of that in the next book.

This book caused me to have a week of insmonia. I would stay awake half the night reading it--then when I put it down I couldn't stop my mind racing from thinking about it and what's going to happen with these people I feel like I've come to know and love!

Now having said how truly AWESOME this grand epic is, I must point out a couple of flaws:

For one there were a few lines that i just thought were very....cheesy. The main one that made me gag was when someone said ,"Bring me more wine. I need the claw of the demon that cored me." instead of saying "hair of the dog that bit me." a little too silly to just copy something something like that right out of our culture and apply it to demons. very cheesy.

The other thing that bothered me continuously throught most of this book is concering the wards. They are constantly having to repair or replace wards around bulidings, cities, villages, etc. Always saying the old ones are worn out or deteriorated somehow. Now I, of course understand how wards drawn in the dirt or simply painted on walls can need constant repairs--but if a ward is carved or branded into wood, engraved in metal, etc., why would it need repairs? That should last for years and years. And why on earth would you simply paint a ward on a wall or a post? I don't want whether I get brutally murdered tonight or not to be dependent on a few strokes of paint! I know--the villagers had limited materials, but come on! Evolve already!The author did such an amzing job of giving detailed background and explanations for eveything else in the story--but the explanations for how wards can fail so easily or why they require constant maintenance or why people didn't create longer lasting wards were poorly inadequate. It was the only thing in the story that seemes very illogical and unbelievable to me.

However, these minor problems do not detract much from this simply amazing and inspiring book. Welcome to fantasy writing, Mr. Brett. I am ordering The Desert Spear today. I just hope it can stand up to the high expectations I have for it. Great story!
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