Barren by Peter V. Brett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'm very happy to get this novella following the events in The Core. Or rather, I should say it gives this small town the kind of ending it deserved in the tumult that wrecked the land in The Core. Huge things happened there. All towns getting attacked at once, demons pouring up from every corner, close calls, and a trip to the core of the demon realm. Big stuff. So of course, little towns of a thousand souls kinda get forgotten for the sake of pacing. And that's okay.
That's why writers invented novellas. :)
What sets this aside from all the other novels and side-stories is the repudiation of all the gratuitous uber dark brutalizations. In fact, it focuses on same-sex relations and the still-nasty small-town ugliness that follows those people of a different persuasion.
I personally thought these demon novels were partly a commentary on the ugliness of man, anyway. Adding demons to punish them just happens to fit the bill nicely. So the corollary is simple. Successfully fighting off the demons must come, in part, with setting ourselves to right. And this is what we get.
Not easily, and not without tragedy, but the fight to make things right is its own reward.
Plus gigantic worms crashing through the town square, mind-controlling demon princes, and slavering hoards of monsters adds a little spice. But then, doesn't it always?
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