The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
For a full first third of the novel, I had to calm myself down and wonder why so much time and effort was being put into humanizing Jadir, the man who had betrayed Arlen so brutally in the first book, but I eventually got over it. The world is a big place and there have to be burly warriors to defend it. I didn't mind so much how crazily stereotypical Muslims are portrayed here because EVERYONE is heavily stereotyped in these books.
Hell, that's okay simply because it's a really harsh world overrun with demons that come out every single night and people have to be hard and crazy to survive it. If that means going weird cultural directions to taking things to an extreme in order to unify or cow the people, then so be it. This is a fantasy, after all.
That being said, the world-building is pretty fantastic all across the board. The devil is in the details or in this case, the Core, but more importantly, this is a novel all about the people in it. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
Arlen and Leesha and the one-time weak Renna play big roles in this book, too, never fear. Arlen revisits his past and there are all kinds of awesomeness here, but what is most surprising is how cool Leesha has become, from a young wise-woman healer to a whirlwind of change to love interest of a certain warrior. Color me surprised! It just goes to show. Trust certain writers to get you there. Have faith. I do, now. :)
But who was the most surprising?
Renna. Meek, oft-abused Renna, subject to so much injustice... and then she's given a real chance. I think this is the point where I go from liking Arlen's martial prowess and his scholarship less and where I start viscerally appreciating him. :)
And, as always, demon fights, demon fights, demon fights. :) Gotta love them. Really over the top cool. :)
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