The Desert Spear (Demon Cycle, #2) The Desert Spear question

never before have i been insulted by a book like this one.
Salma Thabet Salma (last edited Nov 12, 2012 08:13PM ) Nov 12, 2012 08:03PM
Muslim men are barbaric that would fuck everything moving on earth.

muslim women are "whores behind veils".

Muslim society that is nothing more than animals killing each others, no honor , no humanity , nothing.

Mr Peter V. Brett, can you be more lazy?

It's as if the first and second book were written by 2 different people , one with original ideas and style, the other with nothing but access to trashy prejudiced newspapers and CNN.

I am a muslim woman , lived my entire life in the middle east , and i can asure you, we are not "as women and as people in general" what western media would like you to think.

We are people of all colores,ethics,beliefes and struggles.

Just like you.

This book was so insulting , i could not finish it, even though i loved the first book.

It would have been forgivable if the auther made any attempt of disguising the similarity between his vision of "tribes of Krasia" , and the way most paperthin journalism view muslim society.

Be more creative next time Mr Peter V. Brett.

The reason why i posted this in "questions" section and not "Review" , is because i didnt finish the book , i tried to get over my disgust , even skipping few pages at a time , but still , i stopped reading halfway through.

It seems this series is going to be more than 3 books, i wonder which "ready made" ghoulish ethic groups Mr Brett is going to "borrow from TV", because you know , screw originality.

Robert Thompson (last edited May 02, 2013 04:12PM ) Jan 03, 2013 10:45AM   12 votes
Okay let me get this straight. You're upset that the author created a fictional country that you think is a stereotype of a Muslim nation? You're offended that he likens these fictional characters as barbarous and decadent?

So answer me this. Should Europeans be offended by the portrayal of the villagers as stereotypically backwards country folk? It should irk them also that these folk are kept in their place by a flawed religion that closely resembles a real major religion? Do you not see an issue with that?

Wow, you may want to stop reading fiction if you can't separate reality from make believe. Nowhere is it stated that they are Muslims. The fact that they wear certain apparel and also use particular beasts of burden is linked mostly to the fact that they live in a desert.

I also noticed the similarities between the Krasians and a very general picture that the world seems to have of muslims and people in the Middle East (I live in northern Europe, have never been to the Middle East and only know one muslim, so I don't know how close that picture is to reality).
Men having many wives, women in veils, bazaars, hot climate and desert, the names, camels, turbans, not eating pork, and to top it all off, the holy war. (and Krasia = kr + Asia, by the way.)

In the readers' questions section of the book a reader asks something about the Krasian people and culture, and Brett says that he mixed elements from many different cultures, ancient Japanese warrior cultures (if I remember correctly, I don't have the book anymore) among others. If he did indeed study many different cultures to make the Krasians believable, then why did he make them wear turbans and ride camels in the desert? Why could they not live in the snowy mountains north of fort Miln? The religion in Thesa is also quite similar to christianity, with the corelings seen as plague people deserve for their sins.

I don't see the books as any comment or insult to the Middle East or muslims, I just think it is sad that the potentially interesting people of Krasia seem so copy-pasted from existing people in our world (or our picture of it) instead of something totally unique and new.

Maybe Salma felt insulted because Brett describes the Krasians (or as she felt it, the muslim society) as a pretty homogenous group. Of course there are different individuals and groups in all societies and peoples, but in books things have to be a bit more straight forward in order to make the story end at a point.

Salma wrote: "Muslim men are barbaric that would fuck everything moving on earth.

muslim women are "whores behind veils".

Muslim society that is nothing more than animals killing each others, no honor , no hum..."

well, the fact that you identify the barbarians with muslims says it all, doesn't it ?
i mean yes they are evil in many ways, but also courageous, unlike those in the north, who are mostly cowardly, and though less quick to violence are still corrupteble as anyone else, perhaps more so.
yes, muslims are in many ways depicted in this book the way you see it (and imo, for good reasons) but if you ignore this you can also question how would cultures survive such a crysis, and 2 examples are shown which are quite possible (under a similar settings).
don't be offended if you're a muslim, those in the north are just as bad.

hello, I'm also a Muslim living in the middle east and I want to give my two cents. since the first book I struggled between being offended or treating the book as a fantasy. but we need to remember that even fantasy books speak of their writer's philosophy and convictions... and this is not the first time I read a book that based a fantasy culture on Arab or Islamic cultures (with varying degrees of success) .
what troubles me with this book in particular is that the author took certain stereotypes and even facts about my culture and blew them out of proportion... comically so. and reducing the values, morals, ethics of a rich beautiful (sometimes brutal) culture into the bare minimum. in the end you find yourself wondering weather there is anything good or beautiful about this culture.... and let me tell you something... even a fantastical culture of cannibals could have their own merits.

I'm still reading this book and still struggling to decide weather the author is making up a brutal culture that is the product of a brutal environment (which still not acceptable when they go to heaven and find virgins) , or he's just putting together a few stereotypes that he can't even bother to diversify.

Everyone is always so anxious to be "offended" so that they can have something to whine about.

Seriously, if it offends you, stop reading it and get a life. Its a Fantasy book for crying out loud. Morons.

deleted member Mar 21, 2014 10:26AM   1 vote
Compared to the first book I thought this book was pretty bad and the third book was absolute garbage. I'm more offended by that than anything else.

I had much the same reaction as Salma did, and think most of the apologists are just being dense.

The Krasians are ISIS. I didn't see this as an insult against normal muslims, any more than I think ISIS represents muslims. However, I can see how using ISIS as a basis for a fantasy version of of a society would be offensive to normal muslims. I find it as annoying when authors have to transpose christianity into their fantasy worlds to have a go at it. I'm an atheist, but I get tired of reading veiled attacks on religion like this. You're making up a whole damn world. Have the guts to make it unique and not take your personal whines about this world's religions into it.

It is crystal clear that the society was based on a perverse view of muslims. I won't say it offends me, but it annoys me.

I read fantasy novels to escape. I get that ISIS are monsters. when I keep seeing real world stuff shoved into the book, I lose my suspension of disbelief and just start skipping forward to get past the annoying rape/evil/cruelty. Every religion has done it. If you just want to make some villians, have the creativity to make up something rather than just lifting something so obvious.

I would agree with her on this one, though i live in United States of America and only see the Muslim walking or driving and have no acquaintance with them.

Nathan's comments were spot on. Both cultures are praised and hammered equally. Tolkien constantly complained that critics were trying to read this world's conflicts and problems with MIddle Earth's. I imagine Peter Brett feels the same way.

I saw nobility and savagery in both cultures and their respective heros. It is one of the strengths of Mr. Brett's writing.

It's quite obvious the author does not, in any way, intend to describe the vastness that is Middle Eastern and/or Muslim societies' culture and life. This is a fantasy novel, not a social study. What he focuses on is the relationship of that culture with religion, and how religion affects their everyday life. He clearly paints them as fanatics. To be honest, I think he's right. And no, I do not suffer from any sort of Islamophobia. But as an atheist I can only agree with him. You can argue that not all muslim countries and societies are like that, but some are, and therefore those are the ones he based his Krasia on. You may not like it. You may not agree with him. You might even feel offended. But at the very least give the man the credit of being accurate on his portrait of a society and culture based on little more than religious fanaticism. If you are reading this comment in 2016 you can hardly disagree with that.

Considering how homosexuality (push'ting) is an accepted, normal thing among the Krasians, that certainly argues against them being Muslim stereotypes...

i actually saw it differently (though i understand where ur comming from especially if u do watch CNN) i really liked how Mr Petter played with the different cultures; like in the first book he showed some aspects of Christianity fanaticism mixed in with ppl struggling to believe and Arlen's blattent rejection of the whole thing. in the second book he made very, VERY obvious connection to Muslim fanaticism. when i started reading from jadir's perspective i REALLY didnt want to like him at all. (cuz of what he did to arlen) but the more i read the more i saw he is a moral person. just with a different set of morals, and beliefs, i like the way he showed us a different culture both beautiful and cruel in its own rights without mixing in xenophobia). it showed how in its core the parts of islam that he used is just as good as any other religion it was just sharpened and made un-accepting of weakness because of the hardship they're put through. the polygamy was necessary in a place like krasia because the men keep dying, leaving widows or a sur-population of woman. they hate/look down on the weak because they put strenght on a pedestal. i dont think the way they treated woman as baby makers was any different from some of the other towns (like the one with the mothers ick) just a bit exaggerated because their population is dying. and the indoctrination of the young to fight and hate, isnt seen as indoctrination but teaching them how to be "strong". so reading things from jadirs point of view actually made me more simpathetic towards him. he doesnt think for himself if he's given orders , be cause life there is hard and they beat disobiediance out of him. because theyre trying to create a poppulation of wariors, which is were theyre culture obviously differes from reality. as for the men wanting to do everyone i didnt really see it like that just that they are represed because they arent allowed to express their sexuality growing up. and it wasnt too different as to how the men in the first book acted (arlens dad with ilain, leesha having to poison the messanger ect)
i think ull like the third book better, if u can bring urself to read it, u learn about inevera's point of view and see the girls point of view and it seems like egyptian culture is also mixed in. but either way i think the author was going for some shock value showing how hard life is in all parts of the world he created i mean all exept one of the main female characters were raped along with one of the male characters(btw the female character that wasnt assaulted is the krasian). either way its too bad those aspect ruined the books for u (makes me glad im canadian so it wasnt personal for me)

I kept telling myself as obviously as this is drawing from Muslin culture - this is fantasy, I think. I am sorry you proved my fear. While I enjoyed the story, I thought Brett was rather offensive in basing his desert culture on Muslim culture. As the "white guy" I was sensitive to this and now am sorry. This is a terrific adventure, but he could have just as easily avoided being offensive. I know the difference, but by choosing the trappings of Muslim society, he is offensive.

I can see why one might look at the Krasians as being an offensive Muslim stereotype. If you finish the series, you find that, while none of the religions in the books are entirely correct about what is going on with the demons, the Krasians' faith is actually closest to being true. The Northerners' nebulous tales of the Deliverer are almost entirely fictional, while the Krasians' detailed mythology all actually happened, if somewhat differently than they believe.

The barbarism portrayed in Krasian culture is balanced by the many areas in which they are clearly much more "civilized" than the Northern kingdoms. The way I read it, it seemed that Brett intentionally played with these stereotypes. The Krasian culture can certainly be viewed as an islamophobe's delusion of what Muslim culture is like. But then many of those "savage barbarians" are humanized. Characters who seem like hateful stereotypes later prove sympathetic. It seemed to me that it was almost a setup for islamophobes, opening with a stereotype and resolving to a nuanced depiction that confounds bigoted expectations.

But I can certainly understand how other readers would not see it that way and just find it offensive.

Salma wrote: "Muslim men are barbaric that would fuck everything moving on earth.

muslim women are "whores behind veils".

Muslim society that is nothing more than animals killing each others, no honor , no hum..."

Seems to me Brett hit a nerve with you. I would assume the problem isn't with his take but yours. Must have seemed to you that he was right. I think he is.

As an arab muslim I tried to read the book as fiction but the krasian religion its quite clearly based on islam but with all of the stereotypes blown out of preportion, the 'krasian' women are owned by the men, the men wage holy war and belive that if they die in it they go to heaven, which along with the setting he put the krasians in makes it undeniably clear that he based them on muslims, and then after doing that he of course has to make the reader immediately hate the treacherous krasians and their backwards way in treating woman (which actually has no base in islam, and before you comment about that, do your research and read the islamic texts) and before you try to compare it to the other in-world religions that he bashes on, at least there the people are alright, even if the religions are kinda bad, but in krasia he makes it clear that the people are bad and so is the religion.

Jovan Yes it is quite that in the beggining, but very much different later in other books. As a Balkan resident we are shown very bad in the world so I unde ...more
Nov 07, 2021 03:07PM

I find it very interesting read, as I have started from second book. It is clear that author has borrowed some customs from Arab/Muslim background, but he also elevated females which is not the case there. Arab/Muslims as all other ethnicities are made of much stronger material to be offended that easier. What are his motives I am not sure, as I from the Balkans, I don‚t follow too much relations between US and Middle East, we have our share of problems.
I like reading books of as many world regions as they are so enjoy reading, but I just remembered some story which indicates cultural differenties:
Westerner and Muslim guy go with their familiesa nd mother on a boat trip. There is wreckage, the boat is sinking, the white male tried to rescue his children, then his wife, and finally the mother. The Muslim guy do it opposite way saying - We have only one mother. It is just different culture. Similar thing one can find at Herodotus.

deleted member Jan 02, 2013 05:51AM   0 votes
Its a shame that all you took away from this book was offence.

I just read your post and I understand where you are coming from. But I have to say there is no statement whatsoever on modern Muslims that I saw, this only occurred to me after reading your review.

The books pretty good anyway. I thought it picked up and accelerated the plot nicely from the Warded Man. I'm looking forward to reading the third.

Good grief! It's FANTASY!

If you can't notice the blatant stereotype comparison of Krasians to middle eastern muslim society, then you are either blind as a bat or a full of shit liar.

Oh, and i am a white, non-religious, Canadian... in case anyone thinks something else.

Even if Peter V. Brett's intention is that the Krasians are absolutely supposed to be Muslims I don't see why a normal Muslim person would be offended.

I'm black and there are a hell of a lot of unflattery, racist, and straight hateful things said about black people as a whole, but I know without a doubt that isn't me or anyone I know. If I got insulted every time something bad was said about a black person I'd need to get rid of my TV, internet, and radio.

Plus I don't see why a Muslim person would've just view them as extremists or terrorists. ISIS, the Taliban, and others are known for doing terrible things in Allah's name, but I certainly don't associate those terrorist organizations with Muslims as a whole.

I'm having a hard time seeing why anyone would be offended by the Krasians, but I'm sorry you were offended nonetheless. That's the beauty of books, if you don't like one there are certainly countless amounts of other books to try.

I must say I didn't like the portrayal of both cultures.
Book 1 was nice-isch, 2 was ...interesting...
And I'm now finished with the 3rd. book and it'st bad. But above that I'm much more fed up with the high handed self righteousness of most characters.
Needless to say I won't read the next books.

I did struggle a little through book two but mainly because Jadir was portrayed as a noble and heroic character though I didn't want him to have redeeming features.
With regard to Islam being slurred, I did equate the nation of Krasia loosely with aspects of the Muslim world but my first consideration is this is a work of fiction. My next observation is that if we do draw a parallel between fiction and reality, we are looking to a future after a world shaping disaster. After any cataclysm, religion evolves beyond it. It reasonable to assume the harsh nature of life in the desert and the continued depopulation by demons may well bring new religious aspects to a culture that must adapt to survive.
As somebody made mention of earlier, I actually see more of the japanese Samurai / serf culture represented within Krasia than of the middle east but I did make the initial mistake of perceiving it as an Islamic comparison due to the physical descriptions of the culture rather than the belief system that had been utilised.
When it comes to the crunch... it's fiction and from my standpoint, very good fiction too.

I certainly wasn't offended by this book but I was extremely bored with it. I found it lacked the strength of the first novel and, even though I bought the 3rd, I find myself waiting to read it. Having fought in Iraq and Afghanistan I can understand Brett's world building- and empathize with how difficult it is to create entire cultures- I don't think he intentionally tried to generalize the Muslim culture. I found good people and bad over there. I think it is easy for us to correlate the desert tribes with Muslims just because they live in the desert.

I can see the similarities you are drawing but Brett himself stated that he based Krasia on several different cultures, just as the Thesians were based on several different cultures as well.

The difference between the two cultures that I saw was that Krasia is based upon a tribal society whereas Thesia was based upon an agrarian society.

The way Krasian culture is, is similar to many tribal cultures be it the Huns, the Arabs, or the Dothraki from "Fire and Ice". It is also built upon several Asian cultures. Especially the martial arts the Dama employ.

I don't find the Krasians without honor at all. In many respects I regard them much more honorably than the Thesians. Were they brutal. Yes. Try surviving in a desert climate any other way.

The Thesian culture is based on an agrarian culture, and thus, as another poster noted, makes them resemble European culture. This also makes them prone to staying in one place and bureaucracies (in the form of Churchs) and Duke's dividing land.

If there is a larger metaphor Brett is making here ( which I think any claim of a metaphor to the real world is tenuous at best) it is that while the cultures of North and South (East and West) squabble and war, the real threat simply grows stronger.

Obvious troll or stupidity?

Even if it is a stereotype of Muslim culture, does that have to be a problem? I got the impression Brett wanted to flex his worldbuilding muscles. It's like he said to himself, "What if the media stereotypes were true? What would that society really look like?" If we assume for sake of argument that Krasia is a Muslim stereotype, I would argue that Brett explored those stereotypes thoroughly and to their logical conclusions, and managed to still extract the humanity of such a culture. As it's been said above, there's plenty of heroism, honor, love, and justice among the Krasian characters, just as there is plenty of cruelty and viciousness among the greenlanders.

In some ways, I'd say Brett is even a cultural apologist. There are quite a few scenes where the reader is basically asked to accept that a character thinks a certain thing simply because of the culture he/she comes from.

For what it is worth, I would guess that what got Salma so angry and offended were two things, one that is seemingly being overlooked. Yes, there was offense taken at a people who are very much a copy of the stereotype of the middle-eastern cultures. This alone would not likely have been why it upset her by itself, though. Combine it with the fact that she was very enamored of the book to begin with, the originality, the writing, and the characters!

I am not muslim, nor am I female. I was quite disappointed in the second book as well though, because of the drop in quality of the writing and because it seemed Mr. Brett struggled to find his direction. That lack of direction, though evidently partially planned for, contributed to the waffling characters and use of stereotypes.

Had the stereotype been about a group of fat people who stare at magic bricks, do not talk to one another, sleep with guns in their beds, and eat burgers and pizza for every meal while shouting freedom, it doubtlessly would not have done so well. That stereotype exists because for some in my country, it is true. It is, however, vastly untrue for the majority. It is likely the same in Salma's country. Regardless of race, country, religion, or gender, people are always people. Many lovely people and always plenty of very unpleasant ones.

Concerning the book though, I'm not saying what he did was wrong, but it could have been done much better. I loved the first novel for its originality - the second was missing it entirely.

Sorry Salma I don't see it. Reread the book and think of Muslims as you know they are, and you will come to the conclusion that Muslims and Krasia are two very different cultures, one real one fiction. Its a great read, and I have heard the next book is also good.

Also, I’m sure you have heard this before but.....don't always believe what you hear on the news.

While I do not really agree with the whole offence at it being Muslim bashing I do have to agree that with the way this is from my view a stereotypical middle eastern which is heavily associated with Muslim culture to be boring and I could not finish the book. I also agree with thoroughly enjoying the first novel but as this one went on I just found my self finding this book to be lacking and even through the characters are thoroughly built up with PLEEEENTY of background to build a rapport with them the stereotypical natures and cultures just disappoint me more than I thought would be possible.

Get over it!!!! insulted by a Fantasy book, what a joke!!! you people always find something to fight against, its just SAD. now its a book, tomorrow a tv show, next month a movie...
One of the best books I ever read!

Funny, I had a friend who basically said the same thing after reading this book. "It's just a stereotype of Muslim culture."

I don't really see it myself. I mean, if you already have a stereotypical view of Muslim culture I can understand why this might come across that way, but if a person already had that view of Muslims I'm not sure why they would be offended by a book that they claim portrays the culture that way?

To me, I think Brett was just trying to make them seem like a less-likeable people so that his readers would feel for Arlen and what is done to him. Either way I really enjoyed the book and am looking forward to the next one.

Brutal. I just started the book and the first thing that struck me was Brett has brought in a LOT of Arab Muslim elements. The similarities (many stereotypical) are unmistakeable:
-desert origins, minarets, turbans etc.
-multiple wives
-veiled women
-holy warriors
-entering paradise through killing
-paradise including virgin women
-not eating with the left hand

Add to that that so far he's pained them in a negative light and I can see how Muslims would be offended. I'll have to read the rest of the book though to see whether that continues - Won't really be impressed if it does.

I just can't let this one pass. The book was not set on earth and he never once mentioned Muslims

Only white people did not understand. What a surprise...

Jovan I am white man from the Balkans and I understand it perfectly. The way one is to be offended is up to him/her.
Dec 12, 2019 02:28AM · flag

Don't worry, she probably didn't even read the book and read about it on the internet where someone told her she should be offended. Welcome to the 21st Century.

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