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The Demon Cycle #4

The Skull Throne

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fantasy (2015)
The first three novels in New York Times bestselling author Peter V. Brett’s groundbreaking Demon Cycle series—The Warded Man, The Desert Spear, and The Daylight War—set a new standard for heroic fantasy. The powerful saga of humans winnowed to the brink of extinction by night-stalking demons, and the survivors who fight back, has kept readers breathless as they eagerly turned the pages. Now the thrilling fourth volume, The Skull Throne, raises the stakes as it carries the action in shocking new directions.

The Skull Throne of Krasia stands empty.

Built from the skulls of fallen generals and demon princes, it is a seat of honor and ancient, powerful magic, keeping the demon corelings at bay. From atop the throne, Ahmann Jardir was meant to conquer the known world, forging its isolated peoples into a unified army to rise up and end the demon war once and for all.

But Arlen Bales, the Warded Man, stood against this course, challenging Jardir to a duel he could not in honor refuse. Rather than risk defeat, Arlen cast them both from a precipice, leaving the world without a savior, and opening a struggle for succession that threatens to tear the Free Cities of Thesa apart.

In the south, Inevera, Jardir’s first wife, must find a way to keep their sons from killing one another and plunging their people into civil war as they strive for glory enough to make a claim on the throne.

In the north, Leesha Paper and Rojer Inn struggle to forge an alliance between the duchies of Angiers and Miln against the Krasians before it is too late.

Caught in the crossfire is the duchy of Lakton—rich and unprotected, ripe for conquest.

All the while, the corelings have been growing stronger, and without Arlen and Jardir there may be none strong enough to stop them. Only Renna Bales may know more about the fate of the missing men, but she, too, has disappeared. . . .

769 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 31, 2015

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About the author

Peter V. Brett

90 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 Mark Lawrence.
Author 72 books51k followers
June 30, 2019
[slight spoilers possible for books 1-3]

The penultimate installment in Brett's demon cycle quintology (the V in Peter V Brett is in fact the Roman numeral for 5, it was always going to be a quintology).

Another great read that I consumed in chunks over the course of 6 weeks.

At first I was confused by the sheer number of names of ranks and people that I'd forgotten since the last book. But at the Grim Gathering Peter pointed out to me that I was an idiot (with great diplomacy) - there's a family tree and glossary of terms at the end.

It's a big fat book, packed with violence, massive fight scenes, and some sex. Alongside this we get the unfolding of quite complex events featuring all our favourite characters, with court intrigue on both sides of the Krassian / Hollower divide. There are lots of very human stories spinning out along with the super-powered battles, and Brett does a great job with both.

The 'headline' story of the Painted Man plays out slowly and sparsely compared to that of the remaining cast, so don't expect enormous progress there. In some ways that part of the story is waiting for the rest to catch up - Arlen is almost demi-god-like and there's really no place for him in the main tale other than bringing everything to a conclusion (I presume) in a boss-fight to end all boss-fights in the final book.

Without spoiling I will say that the last 20% of the book is a bit like a ten chapter Red Wedding - Brett mercilessly winnows his very sizeable cast with loved and not so loved characters falling in droves.

We also get to meet the lad who sparked Brett's 'Mud Boy' short story in the Unfettered anthology. Although he popped out of nowhere late on he does seem remarkably talented and surely has an important role in the final book.

There is perhaps a danger with so many characters all bristling with super-powers, be they off-the-scale ninja skills or many-flavoured magic, that we lose contact with the cast, but Brett does ground us with all manner of courtly politicking, including a ball designed to supply Gared (reformed bullying giant axeman) with a bride, and the ongoing feuding of jonglers Roger and Sweetsong.

All in all, if you loved The Daylight War you'll love this!

Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #prizes

Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,258 reviews8,699 followers
September 18, 2015
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

***Spoilers from previous books and minor spoilers from this one.***

Peter V. Brett’s DEMON CYCLE began with a truly excellent first installment, but it's been all downhill from there.

I've been struggling with a feeling since about midway through book 2, but I've been reluctant to give it voice . . . b/c it would mean admitting that once upon a time . . . I watched soap operas.

Not of my own volition! I spent a lot of time with one of my grandmothers who watched them, and then later I had a babysitter who watched the same ones, and, well, I watched them too.

This series . . . feels a lot like a soap opera.

An aging beauty sleeps with her in-the-bloom-of-her-youth daughter’s ex-betrothed (<------whose father was “the one who got away,” except not really, b/c despite marrying someone else, she kept sleeping with him too).

Beautiful Daughter falls alternately for two men who were once like brothers, but who are now archenemies, becoming pregnant by one, but refusing to marry him (and become wife #15), and in an attempt to protect her child (and her reputation), she falls into bed with handsome new royal in town with the intent of passing the child off as his, but, wonder-of-wonders, she falls in love with Duke, and can't bear beginning their life together on a lie . . .

*bangs head against wall*

Honestly, if that was my only complaint, I could've handled it . . . It would've kept the series from my favorites list, but drama in fiction . . . it's inevitable.

But . . . there's also the virtual disappearance of #1 MC from this installment, so there still hasn't been sufficient page time with him and his brand new that-came-out-of-nowhere wife for me to used to the idea.

Then there's what I'm forced to conclude aren't significant headaches that for some reason warrant mention every time our focus is on Leesha, as well as her bladder requirements, b/c why waste time with plot developments when you can consistently fill up page space with everyday bodily functions?

But what finally made me call it quits was:

And that ultimately brings me back to my complaint about the soap opera-like direction these books have taken.

Even without that I doubt I'd continue with the series b/c flagrant abuse of shock factor:

I haven't read anything this pointlessly graphic since Terry Goodkind’s SWORD OF TRUTH series. I can't remember if it was book 2 or 3 that made me finally quit, but I remember the disgust, and I would have been happier not reacquainting myself with it.

Unfortunately, that ship has sailed. Not recommended.

Jessica Signature

My other reviews for this series:

The Warded Man (Demon Cycle, #1) by Peter V. Brett
The Desert Spear (Demon Cycle, #2) by Peter V. Brett
The Daylight War (Demon Cycle, #3) by Peter V. Brett
Profile Image for Petrik.
673 reviews42.7k followers
March 11, 2021
3.5/5 Stars

The Skull Throne is a good penultimate installment to the Demon Cycle series.

When you're playing a video game, especially role playing games, usually before the final boss you're going to do every side quests before you proceed to finish the game. These side quests are usually important for character developments, more info on the world-building, and gaining all the necessary weapons and power to make the confrontation in the end either easier or more satisfying; The Skull Throne encapsulated this situation.

This book doesn't have a lot of main plot development, almost everything in it is just a setup for the final entry in the series, at least that's how I see it. I'm mostly okay with this storytelling direction, especially when the beginning and the last section of the book was really well written. The last section of this book in particular is the best in the series so far. Also, almost every character's development made more sense and the most important thing, only one flashback chapter. Yes, you heard that right, only one flashback chapter on a new character, Aisha, and I have to admit that it was great. Do note the word 'almost' because every positive thing in this book doesn't revolve around Leesha, at least not for me.

The middle section was where it fell short for me, because of again, Leesha. I honestly don't know what Brett is trying to achieve with her character here, her development is too different and illogical compared to how she started in the first book. I hope I don't sound like a broken record here but Leesha's character development truly hurt the quality of the series for me, it's been that way since the second book, and it's still the same here.

There's around two hundred pages of soap opera drama in the middle that provide close to zero importance to the main plot. By soap opera, I seriously mean that the story revolves around who get to marry who, who get to fuck who, who get to bang Leesha from behind and left their sperm dropped to the floor. It's been this way ever since the second book, it got worse in the third book, eased down a bit here but it's still the same situation.

Anyone who followed my reviews would know that I have a reading pace of around 150-200 pages each day; even during weekdays where I have a full time job to attend to. The first and the last 150 pages of this book both took me a day to read, but the remaining 300 pages in the middle took me five days to read because it bored me.

Leesha started to redeem herself at the end of this book, which is good, but I can't deny the feeling that this series could've been cut down into four book instead of five; in culmination up to now, there's at least 600 pages of unnecessary content that hurt the quality of the series for me.

That said, every other character, especially Rojer, received much better treatment when it come to their development. Also, even though the true main characters doesn't have a lot of spotlight due to plot reason, and there's a few demon fighting, Brett has provided something that has been missing for me ever since the second book, a sense of danger for the character. I do, however, hope that the last book would make the demons scarier because right now, everyone is practically superhuman and the demons are a joke.

The Skull Throne is another good installment in the Demon Cycle series, in my opinion it's still a better book compared to The Daylight War, but it still fall short in comparison to Brett's amazing debut. I can't wait to heed the call of the Core because with this book, everything has been setup for the big conclusion. All that remains is to see whether Brett could deliver the conclusion that this series deserves or not, and I'm going to find out about it soon.

You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy and Sci-Fi reviews at Booknest
Profile Image for Dana Ilie.
404 reviews347 followers
February 20, 2019
Certainly this book frustrated me on a number of occasions, and the use of terminology and naming conventions grated, but I enjoyed reading it. Peter V. Brett remains an author high on my to read list. I may not like all the choices he has made with his books, but I respect his decisions and try to see and enjoy the story he wants to tell, even if it is not the story I thought I wanted. His work continues to improve in complexity, characterisation and style, and it is worth reading.

I’m left feeling like the bulk of important things that happened in this book happened in the last couple hundred pages. There certainly were key things before then, but wow, there some major events right up to the very end. Lots of action, plotting, quests for power. Pretty much, it was war. And with that can come unpredictability and changes that will impact everything else yet to come.

Without giving away the 'why' and the 'how' of it, the second half of the novel deals directly with the clash of cultures and the battle over ideas. It's epic, it's violent, and it's filled with more betrayals than you can count. Despite what you might be thinking after the first half, especially given the size of the book, this is not just an attempt to pad the story and squeeze out another book. Big stuff happens here. Important stuff. Crucial stuff. Up until now, the fate of mankind has rested almost solely on the shoulders of Jardir and Arlen, but no longer. We'll have to wait and see what the true consequences of this book will be, but the world we're left with at the end is not the one our heroes began fighting for. Sadly, we'll be a few heroes (and villains) short going into the last book, but those wounds are far too fresh for me to even dance around, much less tease or spoil. All I will say is that these are not cheap deaths - they happen on the page, in full view of the reader, and they're as horrible and heartbreaking as you could possibly fear (or hope).

Ironically, for a book where the demons take a back seat to the evils of man, those very same demons are the one flaw in the story for me. We'll have to wait and see how Brett develops what he started here, but I'm a bit uncomfortable with how he shifted them from monsters to enemies. The Skull Throne lets us inside their heads, and I think that takes away from the awe and the terror. Having said that, there's a throwaway line towards the end the really intrigued me, leaving me to wonder how he'll reconcile history and mythology in the final book . . . but you'll just have to read it for yourself.
Profile Image for Obaid Haroon.
162 reviews104 followers
April 14, 2015
Oh man. Oh man. I just can't...Oh man...shall we...man I can't...fuck it let's do this.

If you haven't figured out by now that there are spoilers in my reviews then there is no hope for you.

Should we start with the Deliverers and their reflective crews? Good. Glad you agree.
So despite the fact that everyone and their alagai wanted to know what happened after the world's best exit, it is pretty obvious that this book wasn't about them. But it was still interesting to see how their relationship evolved.

One time ajin pals turned hated enemies. Then a fight to the death leading to an alliance of sorts. Hell of a whirlwind bromance. It was mostly from Jardirs POV and his reaction to Arlens story was perfect. The grief at what his friend had been through at his hands and the pride and admiration at how his brother had survived. Every moment was brilliant.

Then there's the plan itself. Kidnapping a mind and marching to the core. Insane, audacious and fantastic.
So they lay in wait at Anoch Sun, witness the literal shitting on the bodies of the Kajis men (and here I thought it was a turn of phrase when Jardir said it. My mistake Peter) and baited a trap in the tomb of the man himself.
The ensuing battle was awesome. Jardir fighting his way out of a solid floor was particularly cool and it ended with Renna misting away and killing every demon between them and escape. After killing a mimic of course.

All in all they took up a much smaller portion than you'd expect. But it's definitely obvious that the final book will be heavily centred on these two.

Oh and there may have been two other Krasians there. Maybe?

Now we delve into Everams Bounty. Given that it's called The Skull Throne, you'd be right in assuming most of the action is centred here. First we start with Ashia. A character who, if she has been in previous books, I did not pay attention to. Boy was I wrong. We get a quick glimpse into her past. Forced into the Dama'ting palace but denied the chance to become dama'ting.

So what does she and her sisters do? They train with one of the greatest sharusahk masters 20 hours a day for years, becoming some of the most dangerous people on earth. Like a boss. She's head of the personal guard for the Damajah and is married to a gay guy who is in love with her brother. Yeah you read that right.

And the Damajah is trying to keep a crumbling army together while her two sons get into a dick swinging contest over who takes the throne. Jayan, the eldest, displays his usual tactic of swinging it so hard, it flys off and takes his own eye out. While Asome is more subtle and uses his to pick the lock to the throne.

I'm going to abandon the dick swinging metaphor now. I regret using it. But not enough to rewrite the last part.

And all the while Abban is doing his best to keep his own kingdom together at the same time as keeping the other one together. Because let's face it. Abban comes first. Any of his wives could tell you that.

All the pettiness and jealousy that pervaded Krasian life before Jardir united then under his banner came rushing back and took the Krasians to the brink of implosion. After a bit of domestic terrorism, funded by the Duchess Mother no less, Abban and Jayan are sent to take Laketown. And while they are gone, Asome works his wiles to get in position to take the throne. Making himself and his brothers stronger and gaining the friendship of his wife.

In the course of a few awesome water battles, Jayan manages to do the wrong thing most of the time and still comes out alive. Thanks mostly to Abban and his crew. But he doesn't make a complete mess of things. Takes the docks and ships. Encountered a truly unique little boy (but more on him later). All in all a good time was had by all Krasians. Until he gets it into his head to take his army and attack Angiers. Because that was stupid. Even for this crazy, cyclops. Yeah, he lost an eye at his wedding. Didn't I mention that?

Now while all this is happening, Asome is maneuvering into position. He's getting the dama out into the night. Killing demons and getting stronger. He's letting people see him as a leader. He's even getting into his wife's good side. Yeah...into. Asome is planning a coup. Will be be successful? Tune in next time to find out.

Let's take a break and see what the pale faces are up to.

Now here we see Leesha and Rojer doing what they do. Leesha is doing her best to solve her baby daddy drama. It's no secret that I didn't like this person in the last two books. She went from being awesome to worse than stupid. But here she came back. Organising the healers.
Teaching them advanced healing.
Experimenting with warded soldiers.
Telling her mother she's an old whore. Awesomer.

Her love for Thamos was good to see. After jumping from Arlen to Ahmann and back again, it was nice to see her happy. But it could not last. At the moment he asked her to marry, she told him the truth. And it all went heartbreakingly downhill. And while she was dealing with a failed romance, Rojer was dealing with the man who ruined his life and killed his friend.

But while that is daunting, his wives provide much needed...relief. This is probably my favourite part of the series. The growing relationship between him and his wives. The learning about each other and the happiness they find...*sob* I can't...we'll get there.

So if you thought two wives was enough, apparently giving blood to a dying woman makes you married. So he ends up with three. Kendall being added to his life in a memorable time in the bath.

But the happiness could not last. The whole group was summoned to Angiers to get Gared married. Nothing good ever happens in Angiers. Nothing.

The journey was rather uneventful. Apart from Thamos being the embodiment of a great leader and protecting the helpless, Leesha being lured off the road by Arlen who wasn't Arlen but a mimic resulting in Thamos charging to the rescue. All in all...standard Thesan journey.

So we get to Angiers. It starts off rather well. The boys go hunting and then they go HUNTING. And Rhinebeck manages to act like both a dick and a pussy. Which is impressive in a way. And Thamos, I must say I didn't like him in book 3. But he is such a great guy in this that I feel bad he...we'll get there too.

Next we visit the place where Rojer spent most his childhood. A brothel. Is it worrying I wasn't surprised by that? While we are there we see another touching scene between Rojer and Amanvah, are introduced to a Weed Gatherer and meet the future Baroness Cutter.

"So I walk into this whore house, titties everywhere and this girl asks to see my dick. And that, kids, is how I met your mother"

Yes. He met his soon to be wife in a brothel. But let's be honest he isn't exactly a paragon of virtue. And she's sharp as a whip. I see good things for these two. Partially because neither are important enough to kill. But then again...Brett.

But rich white people love their balls, so even though Gared knows who he wants, they go through the whole song and dance. He ignores every simpering sycophant in the room until she walks in, and then ignores everyone but her. Everyone is angry at having been robbed of the chance to marry into a Barons family except Jasin who knew exactly who she was.

While Leesha and Thamos were having a quickie in the corridor followed by a meeting with a wonderfully intriguing boy called Briar, Rojer and his wives were being attacked en route to his rooms by none other than Secondsong. It would have been the fiddle wizards end...if not for the fact that his bodyguard was a Sharum and he was married to a warrior princess (no not Xena) and an assassin.

Coliv killed most before being cut down himself, Amanvah and Sikvah handled the rest and Rojer, he killed Jasin with his own two hands. And that was when the guards found them. So despite the fact that a big ass group attacked four people, who gets arrested? The guy holding the knife. Political bullshit.

Ok now this is where the stories converge. In the aftermath of the ball, Thamos was ordered by Rhinebeck to attack the Krasian army at Laketown.
Thamos attacked.
Thamos fought Jayan.
Thamos died.
It was then, at the urging of a dama'ting, that he marched on Angiers. And Briar left for Angiers with a note from Thamos to Leesha.

"I forgive you"

Dammit but this book stabbed me in the heart.

Briar. A little boy who is somehow half Krasian and half Thesan. Who, as the dama says, outran the Sharum in Laketown, went up against a sharusahk master and lived and attacks demons as calmly as most people visit the privy. "Delivers are not born. They are made"

Well well...

Back to Jayan. He sends a messenger first. Bearing Thamos' head. This was swiftly followed by the messenger trying to kill everyone in the room. He did a damn good job at it too. Would've succeeded if not for Leesha and her meddling wand.

This leaves Angiers surrounded by an army of Sharum. Various types of them. Veterans, noobs, reverse coconuts, the whole lot. And Rojer has a great view from his tower jail cell. But he's not alone. Sikvah is there too. Just hanging around.

Things rapidly come to a head. The quickest political marriage between the only surviving son of the Angiers family and the ugly duckling from Miln results in the Milnese contingent coming to battle. But before the glorious charge, Amanvah gets sent to the same cell as her husband.

A friend for the end of the world right?

So the Sharum charge the city. They jump/climb the walls and the gates are broken. Thousands of warriors from the most dangerous army in the land, run screaming at about four hundred Miln soldiers. And they get blown apart. Yes. That's right. Miln has guns.

GAMECHANGER BITCHES! This is a whole other level. Not only is the Krasian army routed, but the secrets of fire have been put to use. With the army gone, Jayan loses control of Hasik. The disgraced warrior kills Jayan and then kidnaps Abban. Making him totally fucked. By a eunuch no less.

And while all this shit was going down, Jasins uncle thought this was the perfect time to send a team of killers after Rojer. It went as well as you could expect. Assassin brides and what not. But then something terrible happened. They tried to kill Amanvah. And Rojer did the only thing he could. He threw himself in front of his wife and took the blade.

Rojer is dead...WHERE ARE MY TEAR BOTTLES!!!

I refused to believe it. I could not. WOULD NOT. But they carried his body out. The world became a little less happier. Less bright. His last request for his wives to keep singing will haunt me. We will miss you fiddler.

Things went quickly after that. The wives killed the uncle, Leesha snuck them out and they all went back to the Hollow.

Keeping Up With The Krasians pt 2

Ok so after the aftermath of the colossal cluster-fuck that was the assault on Angiers, the ramifications for the Skull Throne were huge.
The dama ting that tricked Jayan into attacking the city, was working with the dama ting who got her hand fucked up by going against Inevera as a child. I call her Claw. So Claw and her lover got Jayan killed with the intention of killing Inevera and taking the throne with Asome. Epic fail.

Inevera killed them both but not before Asome killed his uncle and his dama brothers killed the tribe leaders assuming leadership. Except Aleverak. That wily, one armed bastard killed his challenger and went toe to toe with Asome. He died. But damn did this guy earn your respect.

At that moment Asomes lover tried to kill his wife but that didn't end well. For him. Ashia killed him in front of Asome and fled to the Damajah. More violence ensued and more people died at Ashias hands. And at the end of the day, Inevera sits beside her son as he becomes Shar Darma Ka.

And finally, the Deliverers get the mind demon into the tower and spend months trying to get him to talk. Except he can't talk. Until he takes a Krasian mouth puppet. Pleasantries were exchanged. Chronology corrected. And a threat was delivered. There will be swarm.

Holy shit. What a book. Easily the best one so far, continuing the trend. Like everyone else, I wanted the majority to be about Arlen and Jardir. But like a child, I didn't know what I really wanted, which was an epic book. And Brett delivered what was needed. An in depth look at the politics underpinning the Krasian empire and the tenuous relations holding Thesa together.

Key points
⋅Amanvah, Sikvah and Leesha are all pregnant
⋅The dama hold almost total control of Krasia
⋅Briar is an amazing young man. Read his story in The Messengers Legacy
⋅The Unifiers have no plans to return to the world anytime soon

I don't know about you but I lost my shit reading this. PVB took us on one hell of a ride; one I was not prepared for. I cannot imagine what is going to go down in the next book. But one thing is for sure. It is going to be legend- wait for it...

So here we are. 4/5. Over half way in The Demon Cycle. To most people this would be time to answer a few questions. Right a few wrongs. All the while whetting the readers whistle for the grand finale. But does PV Brett play by the rules? Does he f***. That is something we've all figured out.

On this journey we've seen Arlen walk a terrible path alone, almost loosing his humanity, only to have it truly returned by Renna.
We have witnessed Rojer come into his own as a jongleur, then as a man and most recently as a husband to two wives. Brave man.
And we saw Leesha get progressively more idiotic.

There have been many other struggles as well.
Renna fighting back against a lifetime of abuse to stand tall in the night next to her spouse.
Gared learning to think with his empty skull instead of his bulging breeches.
Jardir, Inevera and Abban realising that in spite of all the hatred and adultery, they are particularly suited to one another.

And then, in all his wisdom, PV Brett brings the two leaders together. Do they set aside their differences to save man kind? Does one cede to the other? Do they try for a partnership? No. Instead HE THROWS THEM OFF A GODDAMN CLIFF!!!

Never before has there been such an ending to a book and I have no idea where he's gonna go. The title suggests electrum will play a part in the book as they coated the skull throne with it towards the end if no.3 in order to increase its power. But that was before Jardir became a desert pancake.

Even if he does survive, which he has to being the mind hunter, it will be a while before he's fighting fit. Unless he learns to 'mist out' as I like to call it. But that would make the whole end scene of no.3 a giant middle finger to the readers. So I'm thinking while he's out for the time being Arlen will wreak a little havoc amongst the Krasians, some of whom are starting to see HIM as the deliverer. And while that's going on, Leesha and Inevera are going to have issues over Leesha's baby daddy. But they are zhaven so we will see what goes down there. Rojer, as always, will remain on the periphery amusing us as always while Abban works his intrigues between meals of pork and anal intercourse.

Then when we reach the end of The Skull Throne, and we are torn between the desire to bask in awe, shred the book in rage, or laugh in shock at where he's taken us, there is one thing that's for certain. PV Brett will have once again raised the game that he himself created,
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kristina.
545 reviews66 followers
April 18, 2016
Another year has passed. I tried to make this book last forever because I know the next is still a long time coming. I finished today though, and ... I need time to process what just happened...

Almost two years to the day since this original post and I must say, I AM SOOO EXCITED to see all the 4 and 5 star reviews that keep popping up. I am starting this on Wednesday, and I CAN'T WAIT!!!

Just finished The Daylight War... now I wait...

Profile Image for Brett.
18 reviews4 followers
April 3, 2015
The first book of this series was good. The main character was someone you could root for. The story was unique and interesting. The world and magic were interesting and readers got to follow the main character doIng interesting things.

I'm not sure what made the author decide politics, particularly politics of some quasi-islamic, closed minded, hateful culture, was what made the series worth reading, but he certainly commited to that idea in a big way.

With the latest book, I find myself skipping chapter after chapter to find a story about characters I care about. Sadly Rojer, Leesha, Inerva, what-ever-the-fuk all the other fanatic characters are called, are not those characters. The bits about Arlen are good, the general arc is good, the remaining 80% is not good.

Frustration would sum up my feelings for this book, for a good story squandered. The author seems to be following the path of George R Martin, make some interesting characters and ignore them.

I would generously give this book two stars (since I skipped most of it) because there is a good story in there... somewhere.
Profile Image for Mayim de Vries.
577 reviews824 followers
October 16, 2018
Two stars and let it be known that I am beyond caring. Truly.

Therefore, dear Reader, if you are after a review stop right now, this ent a review, this is a rant. And full of spoilers.

Spoilers first.

I am still unable to get over the fact that she got herself pregnant with Jardir like a teenage girl and NOT the most brilliant Herb Gatherer of the millennium. It was poorly done in the previous book and the belated pomm tea explanations in the Skull Throne only worsened the situation. Lame inconsistencies Mr Brett I would be willing to forgive but when they are coupled with dull repetitions and sexist propaganda, the book becomes a waste of pages.

Mind you, I am your dull conservative reader. And if a dull conservative reader feels that you know that something is amiss.

I like badass heroines but out-front feminist propaganda either bores or offends me (depending on the author). However, Mr Brett, you have managed to achieve the unthinkable - you have actually awakened a raging feminist in me. And renewed my worship of Samuel P. Huntington. Yup, the demons awakened. There was a point when I wanted to burn my bra and then organise a pro-polyandry rally in the main square of my city.

While this was inspired by Mr Brett's misogynist prose, it is not the kind of inspiration I look for when choosing my books.

Also in the Demon Cycle:

1. The Warded Man ★★★★★
2. The Desert Spear ★★★☆☆
3. The Daylight War ★★☆☆☆
5. The Core ★☆☆☆☆ (Actual rating: ZERO stars)
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,919 reviews10.6k followers
February 1, 2015
Are Arlen Bales and Jardir dead or just missing? Who will step up to fill the power vacuum left in Jardir's absence? And what of Leesha Paper and the child inside her, or Rojer Half-Grip and his ever-growing group of wives? And what of Count Thamos? All of these questions and more will be answered in the penultimate volume of the Demon Cycle, The Skull Throne!

I got this from Netgalley.

After the wreckage that was the Daylight War, I decided nabbing an ARC was the only way I cared to continue the series. Fortunately, I got my wish. Was it worth the time?

That's hard to say. In many ways, I thought this was A Feast for Crows for the series. Why do I say that? Arlen and Jardir are barely in it! Once the cliffhanger from the last installment is resolved, I'd say they barely get 50 pages total. The rest of the book is split between the Krasians, Leesha and Rojer, and what's going on in Angiers.

While it didn't focus on Arlen and Jardir, what we did get was better than the Daylight War. Maybe not having to experience Arlen and Renna's fake-seeming relationship actually perked up the story a bit. I do like where the book seems to be heading for the conclusion of the saga, though. Too bad we get barely a taste of that in this volume, though.

My two main gripes with the series as a whole are that it seems to have been Martinized after the first book in that a lot of extraneous characters have been introduced and some of the existing ones have been detailed to an excruciating degree. Also, when the main character is the least charismatic of the bunch, you have problems. While I like Arlen in a D&D character sort of way, I don't really find him very interesting.

I'm giving this a 3- since I liked it more than the Daylight War but didn't "like it" like it.
Profile Image for Myke Cole.
Author 31 books1,736 followers
August 26, 2014
I am one of the fortunate few who has gotten to read the manuscript pre-publication. I will not say anything other than that Brett continues to get better with each book, and you are all in for a treat. The Skull Throne is his best work yet.
Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
673 reviews602 followers
January 27, 2018
3.5 stars

As much as I love this series, I have to agree with everyone, this is by far the weakest book in the series, it wasn’t boring or anything of that nature, but what happened in this book has very little to do the initial plot. I know it was important to know about the politics and how things are working in the absence of the both Deliverers but it was dragged too much. It was fun to read but tiring at the same time.
That wasn’t even the worst part, the worst part was the near absence of Arlen, Renna and Jardir in the book, the three of them barely got a 100 pages and the book consist of 682 pages. Two new characters was introduced, Ashia whom we met in the previous book, and Brair a 16 year old. We only have one backstory chapter so no annoying lengthy backstory like that of Inevera.

World building and Writing
At least this part of the book didn’t disappoint, there is major improvement in the world building, since there is more of politics we get to read more about court politics in Euchor and Krasian. The writing too is great, but most part were vague, the parts that I wanted more details was cut short and the ones that I couldn’t care less about was so lengthy.

Like I mentioned earlier, The main characters were near absent in the book, We got so much of Abban which I don’t exactly like, I prefer Ashia to him, Briar is an okay character, looking forward to him in the next book. Since the author was determined to annoy me, he left Leesha, when Arlen, Renna and Jardir was absent, so more self righteousness and annoying as usual. Rojer was as fun as usual till . For those of you that wanted more of Jardir and Inevera’s sons, this book is for you, they were among the main characters in this book.

The daylight war happened in this book, not the previous book, I get that the skull throne politics was involved but I still feel like it should have been one book, the daylight war and skull throne cut short then put into a book. So if you’re going into this book its better to know that you will get more politics and minor plotline and the main plot will be put on hold. Hopefully the author will make up for this in the final book.
Profile Image for Franklin.
13 reviews
April 8, 2015
This series started off very strong, but it has turned into a pile of shit. The main reason for this, the krasians. At some point in this book Rojer thinks what his life would have been like if his parents had lived. I look at the this series in that way concerning the krasians and their lame ass backwards culture. If they had only remained the stepping stone for Arlen becoming the Warded Man, all would have been good. Unfortunately they have spread into this series like a disease with their extreme ignorance, double standards, bullshit limitless fighting capabilities, and complete lack of honor even though that's all they seem to talk about. Sadly I will read the next book in 3 years or so with hopes that Arlen finally kills all these people, but I don't see that happening.

The only thing nice I can say was I was glad to see Briar in this book. He is way more interesting than any of the other characters that were forced to the front this time around.
Profile Image for seak.
429 reviews473 followers
September 6, 2017
I've found I've had the most difficult time reviewing this book and the problem I'm running into is not making it sound like a huge fanboy love-fest.

Not only do I love this series, but this was quite possibly the best yet. There's so much to it. So much action and so many things happening and barely a flashback to be seen. I enjoyed the flashback in The Daylight War quite a bit, but for some reason I loathed the thought of another lengthy one in this one. I think you can do one well, but more than that gets a bit much. (Full disclosure, I found Wizard and Glass to be my favorite in the Dark Tower series)

Brett explores a lot of the world in this one and we get a peek inside the court intrigue in Angiers and somewhat Miln and goes even more into the demon world, which reveals are getting really nasty.

And with all that goes on you hardly notice that Arlen and Renna are hardly anywhere to be seen. They have a few pages, but probably what amounts to about 2% of the entire book. Which is also why I found myself questioning, why the heck was Renna on the cover? once I put the book down.

I still don't love her, but I think I understand her better somehow, despite her low page count. It must have to do with Terence cluing me into her character.

This is a bit of a spoiler, but since I've gone there already, if this is anyone's book it's Rojer's. I'll say no more.

The Skull Throne really puts this series on course for a stunning conclusion. I can't wait to see how Brett finishes this thing up. Brett's one-upped himself here.

5 out of 5 Stars (My crack at the moment)

UPDATE 2017: I reread this via audio to get ready for The Core (whoot!) coming out this fall. Pete Bradbury returns and he's the spot-on choice for this series once again. He's got just enough rustic twang that's perfect for these backwoods characters and I don't even notice when he switches to the Krasians. That's the sign of a great narrator in my opinion.
Profile Image for Terence.
1,113 reviews345 followers
January 5, 2016
Ahmann Jardir and Arlen Bales, the two men believed to be the Deliverers of the world by many, are missing after Arlen threw them both from a cliff during their fight to the death. Their respective followers are forced to regroup and learn how to move forward without them.

First and foremost I have to admit that I’m unashamedly a huge fan of The Demon Cycle Series by Peter V. Brett. I’ve read every book and novella in the series multiple times. The Skull Throne is a worthy sequel and it sets the stage brilliantly for the series conclusion.

The Warded Man and Ahmann Jardir are missing in the story, but I was equally missing them. It was hard not having the series two strongest and in my opinion most interesting characters appearing constantly. The moments when they do appear in The Skull Throne are easily among the best moments in the entire series.

With Arlen and Jardir sitting out the majority of the book other characters get their chance to shine. Leesha, Briar, and Asome shined brighest.

Leesha despite being about 3 months pregnant at the start of the story finally seemed to get her act together. After a number of particularly head scratching decisions in The Desert Spear and The Daylight War, Leesha was once again the leader I expected she’d be at the end of The Warded Man. Leesha is faced with numerous hard decisions and she handled them well. The ward witch as she’s known by many has continued to give people valid reason to call her by that nickname. Leesha’s also shown why she’s Inevera’s zahven.

Briar Damaj, the tragically orphaned half Thesan half Krasian boy from Messenger’s Legacy shone in his short time in The Skull Throne. We get to see just how dangerous a boy who has survived 10 years in the naked night and the bogs of Bogton can be. Briar was a major bright spot in the story and I hope to see him gain a larger role in the series final book.

Asome, the dama second son of Ahmann Jardir and Inevera, really shocked me in a great way. He is the opposite of his unthinking Sharum Ka brother Jayan; he’s clever, calculated, and capable. Asome is a true son to Krasia, Ahmann Jardir, and most of all Inevera.

The battles in The Skull Throne were as crisp and sharp as ever. Including one battle I'd list as the best one of the series to date. Peter V. Brett really excels in depicting battles and comes up with increasingly interesting ways to utilize his characters abilities. The magic continues to expand with many characters learning to use their ward sight just as Jardir and Arlen had in The Daylight War.

The consequences in The Skull Throne felt more significant than ever before in the series. Past due debts are collected in blood. Foolish choices in this one lead to death more often than not. I'm personally still in shock over many of the events that took place.

The Skull Throne was another great book by Peter V. Brett. I’d be lying to say I expected this book to go the way it did, but I definitely enjoyed reading it and I’m looking forward to re-reading it too.

5 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My original review
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,028 reviews2,605 followers
March 16, 2015
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2015/03/16/b...

I’m going to be keeping this a spoiler-free review and I won’t be revealing anything that’s not in the book description…because I get it. Even after the crazy cliffhanger Peter V. Brett left us with at the end of The Daylight War, I refused to read the first chapter of The Skull Throne that he’s had on his website for the longest time. Despite my burning curiosity, I was sure I didn’t want to know how anything resolved until I had the full book in my hands.

So have things been resolved? My feelings are mixed on this. As the novel’s synopsis states, the duel between Arlen Bales and Ahmann Jardir ended after the two so famously threw themselves off a cliff. The world went from having two Deliverers to none at all and now all the characters in the book are wondering what’s become of the two men. Well, they’re not the only ones. To be honest, I’m wondering the same thing myself! Arlen and Jardir get almost no page-time at all in this latest installment, but I’ll talk more about that later.

What we have instead are large parts of the book devoted to the Krasians and the people of Cutter’s Hollow. I saw The Skull Throne as being comprised of three parts. The entire first third is focused on what’s happening in Everam’s Bounty, and once again we have the occasional flashback. Inevera still holds immense power, and yet even her hora dice are unable to tell her the fate of her husband. Now that Jardir is out of the picture, his firstborn son Jayan attempts to seek glory for himself by pillaging his way across the greenlands, and is built up to be the book’s main villain. Abban the khaffit also gets more attention in this sequel by being assigned as his advisor – playing the Tyrion to the sadistic Jayan’s Joffrey, so to speak. Indeed, at least where the Krasian storyline is concerned, I saw a lot of parallels to A Song of Ice and Fire.

Then in the second third, we have what’s happening in the Hollow. So while the Krasian storyline might have reminded me of Game of Thrones, the events unfolding with Leesha, Rojer and Co. could only be likened to season of a daytime soap opera. Not that I didn’t fancy myself some Days of Our Lives in the Hollow; daytime serials are massively profitable for a reason, following the melodramatically eventful lives of even the most minor of characters. I’ll be the first to admit that all the scandals and baby daddy drama surrounding Leesha is surprisingly addictive, and ate up this part of this novel with more enthusiasm than I expected.

Still, demon battles can only provide so much action and entertainment, and without them, it’s clear that the Cutter’s Hollow crew can only rely on emotional relationship plot lines that border on sensationalism to keep things interesting. This part of the book was enjoyable, but it did feel like very little of import actually happened in two hundred or so pages, other than to have the folk of Cutter’s Hollow bide their time and for side characters keep up their presence. On the other hand, the Krasians’ storyline sees a lot more action. Unfortunately, all of them get on my nerves. I can always seem to predict what they’ll say or how they’ll act, because even after four books the characters are still little more than stereotypes.

This does underscore how very badly this series needs Arlen in it. I did find the lack of the series main character a bit disappointing (I suppose if there’s a bright side to this, it’s that we didn’t get to see much of Renna Bales either – I can’t say I’m her biggest fan). This isn’t the first book in which I feel the Warded Man could have gotten more attention, but nothing could have prepared me for almost not seeing him at all in The Skull Throne. I used to love Arlen’s character, but instead of absence making the heart grow fonder, I’m afraid he’s just lost much of his appeal for me.

Anyway, I mentioned earlier that The Skull Throne felt like it had three distinct parts, and it’s the last of these that raised my opinion of the entire book. Arguably, the war with the demons takes a backseat in this installment, with the big battle between the Thesans and the Krasians led by Jardir occupying the center stage. This doesn’t make things any less exciting, however. The big developments came rolling in in the chapters leading up to the conclusion, and the ending had a couple of shocking twists and holy-crap-did-that-really-happen moments that I’m still having trouble coming to grips with.

There’s one more book planned for this series so we’re no doubt being set up for something big, but I’m happy to report this one doesn’t end with another rage-inducing cliffhanger. Still, there are many questions left unanswered, not to mention a lot of plot threads as yet unresolved, especially when it comes to Arlen and Jardir. The Skull Throne didn’t quite sweep me off my feet, but I did like it – and nothing’s going to make me miss the next book and the grand finale.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,962 followers
September 5, 2017
I'm very pleased with this one, maybe even a bit more than the previous two novels. There's quite a bit of court intrigue and Leesha and Rojer are everywhere. I admit to liking those bits a lot more than the whole Krasia bits, but upon a reread I might change my mind.

I'm honestly amazed at just how much magic, fighting, magic fighting, and just how much plain good story there is in-between. It never gets boring at all, and here's the interesting trick: Arlen his new best friend and his promised are BARELY in the book.

Far from being an issue, these beastly characters spice up the text when they show up and fling the rest of the world into a demon-cored world, proving to everyone else that it's time to stand up and fight.

Of course, with all these new warded weapons and a truly delightful coinage, no one said they should stop fighting each other.

WAIT!!! Fight the demons, core-you!

War. There's a lot of great war stuff here. I'm usually annoyed with that kind of thing, but I was totally hooked this time. I'm invested in all these characters big time. Even the new ones are interesting as hell. (Thanks, in part, to having read the novella that precedes this.)

But how do I like this? How much do I love this series?

I'd tell you, but the moment I touched sunlight, I'd burst into flames. I've got a demonic interest in this. :)
Profile Image for Gavin.
861 reviews392 followers
June 27, 2017
I thought this was a good instalment in the Demon Cycle series. Brett has a super engaging storytelling style and that makes it easy to get caught up in the story even during the times that it is focusing on characters that I really dislike!

The weird thing about this fourth book was that Arlen, Jardir, and the Demons were basically just afterthoughts. The story focused on how well the Crasians and the Hollow dealt with their absence and the continuation of the Daylight War. It worked out quite exciting as there was plenty of action and especially towards the end there was a ton of action and drama.

This is a Peter Brett book so we still had to suffer a few cringeworthy moments, most memorable was the awful mother/daughter chat between Leesha and Ilona, but on the whole I felt like we got less of those moments so that was a plus.

As always Brett knows how build excitement as his story develops and I felt like he did that particularly well in this instalment. The start of the story was interesting and engaging and the tension built throughout the story until we got an exciting ending. It also felt like this was the hardest hitting instalment of the series so far with a bunch of major stuff happening.

My only complaint is that the demons have become a bit of a joke by this point. The conflict between the various factions of humans is where all the real excitement is!

Rating: 4.5 stars.

Audio Note: Pete Bradbury does an excellent job narrating this series.

Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews864 followers
August 8, 2022
"You came to lands that were not yours, murdered thousands of men, raped their women, enslaved their children, and think your soul is clean because their holy book’s a little different from yours! "

The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett | Frivolous Waste of Time

Without the Deliverers on the scene in Peter Brett's The Skull Throne (Demon Cycle, the world is plunged into strife and the people's efforts go into putting together alliances and ascending the skull throne. I have to admit that I never felt fully engaged in this installment of the Demon Cycle. While there is the appearance that much has changed in this world since the cliffhanger of the previous book, it doesn't feel that the main plot of the series advanced all that much. Instead, I felt like I was investing time and energy in events that will not really matter if I make it to the next book. And despite the focus on side characters, I didn't even really learn much new about the world. This seemed like a missed opportunity.
75 reviews
April 13, 2015
Disappointing rubbish. Much like previous books in this series, there were only a handful of pages devoted to the main plot, mostly at the start and end of the novel. The rest felt like filler, with unlikable characters experiencing brutality (for a first, no rape as backstory in this one), awkwardly agreeable conversations and weird amounts of wish-fulfillment, while the narrator explains everything that everyone's thinking, all of the time.

This series was based on a cool, interesting idea. It could have been great as a single novel--maybe as a trilogy at a stretch--but as we've seen: there's just not enough content to fill all of these books.
Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,551 reviews2,936 followers
April 11, 2015
This book, as some of you may know, was actually the book I had been most anticipating this year. After picking up the previous 3 books in very quick succession way back in 2012/2013, I was left with a massive desire to have more of the characters, and world where everything took place.

I believe one of the things I most enjoy about Brett's works is his ideas and the way that he manages to get these wacky, crazy demons to seem slightly less crazy than some of the humans in the book. Basically this is set in a world where every night demons attack and the people of the world know a few precious wards that will keep the demons away, but there's often deaths, lots of accidentally misshapen wards can lead to this or being out after dark, and the nighttime is a place of terror for all.

In the first few books we see the world begin to adjust and develop against the demons but this book really takes the focus away from the demons for the majority of the story and actually focusses a whole lot more on the politics and intricate plots of this world.

I love the magic within this world. I think magic systems which are strong and interesting combined with great characters or plot is fantastic, but when you consider that Brett not only achieves this but he also manages to involve complex characters, wonderful world-building and fast moving, tense plotlines, it really is an achievement!

There are so many extremely wonderful moments within the book. We have moments of sorrow, sadness and heartache juxtaposed alongside hatred, happiness, deceit and corruption. There's moments where I got a little teary (for various reasons good and bad) and there's moments where I was (literally) on the edge of my seat needing to keep reading and finding out what was going to happen (with a slight demon-crazed madness to my aura!)

I love the different cultures we see within this. There's always a clear distinction in the names, customs and habits of the Krasians and the Thesians. Whilst the Thesians seem like a more primitive version of the Western world, the Krasians have a very foreign feeling to them, yet both interest me for their uniqueness. They're very believable cultures and seeing the clash which is created when these two (vastly different) sides collide was wonderful and very tense or action-packed at times!

So many amazing characters take leading roles in this book but for a large part we are focussed on Rojer; (who is featured on the UK cover) a young musician, Leesha; a herb gatherer's apprentice and Inevera; a very powerful woman. Each of these three characters have their own wonderful plots which weave various different people in and out of the story and each character is complex and exciting in their own way, bringing their own energies to the story.

Amanvah and Sivah were two characters who we've met before in previous books but actually we didn't know all that much about until this one and I enjoyed exploring their loyalties and their temperaments. They come from the Krasian race which is vastly different in custom to those who come from the Free Cities of Thesa and seeing their reactions to the customs of the Thesians (and vice versa) was highly amusing and sometimes awkward or entertaining.

Ashia's story was another which I knew a little of prior to reading this, but which was thoroughly developed and fleshed out in this volume with some very brutal and very touching moments of her past laid out bare in some of the chapters. I have to say up until now she wasn't one of the characters I cared for or looked out for particularly but after reading her sections my opinion was certainly tested on that!

Briar is the character who we meet in the novella called Messenger's Legacy (and Mudboy in the Unfettered Anthology) and I really enjoyed seeing him integrated into the plot of this story too. He's a very sweet and somewhat naive and innocent character despite being exposed to the harsh realities of the world at a young age.

This book was GREAT. I don't know how I can physically give a 6* rating to a book on Goodreads (as it's not possible) but if it had a 6* button I would be pressing it. For a book where I had huge expectations and which I have been waiting to own for so long, it really still managed to blow my mind with some of the things which are revealed and happen and I know that book 5 (the final one) is going to push the boundaries and be even more explosive (with that ending it must be!)

A MARVELLOUSLY written book which is a fantastic addition to the series. I would HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend this series as it's one of my all time favourites! :) A massive 5* rating :)
Profile Image for Kristalia .
382 reviews612 followers
November 8, 2016
Final rating: 5/5 stars

I can't tell you how much I love this series. But this gotta be the most brutal book of all so far. So many things happened, so MANY THINGS, that I don't even know where to start. This book shocked me and highly moved me and I cried a lot. I love most of the characters in these books. But what I admire the most is Brett's ability to write them so good, make them feel so real. We know everything about our characters, hell, we even followed some of them from when they were babies!

Addition of new characters is not a bad move, they just keep piling up. But i believe the balance between character POVs was satisfying. At least for me.

The last book is going to such a wild ride.

And I did mention this book was brutal. It is brutal. If you have read up to this point, well... you know what you can expect. But expect it.

Also, this series is one of the rare ones where i actually dislike the lgbt couples. There are 2 of them, M/M and F/F but I disliked them so so much. While Asom is okayish, I found Asukaji despicable... So yeah. This may be the only part that I dislike in this series. All lgbt couples here are brutal. (I also hope i spelled their names right, because we don't write the names in original, but in the way of how they are spoken).

Also, I have read translation of this book, and it was well done, as always.


This series is just amazing, and I have no words. The ending was exciting, this whole book WAS NEVER BORING, never slow paced, filled with amazing stuff and such heartbreaking stuff. But don't worry, this one doesn't have a nasty cliffhanger like the previous one.

Honestly, if you need any series to compare to GoT, I've got one here. And trust me, compared to this, GoT is overrated.

And damn, this book is huuuuuuuuuuuuuge. They keep getting bigger with every addition.

Point of View: Third POV, multiply characters.
Cliffhanger: yes and no
Triggers: Well, if you have gotten this far, you know what to expect, but be warned that this book is much more brutal than any so far.


The Warded Man (Demon Cycle, #1)
Brayan's Gold (Demon Cycle, #1.5)
The Great Bazaar and Other Stories (Demon Cycle, #1.6)
The Daylight War (Demon Cycle, #3)
Messenger’s Legacy (The Demon Cycle #3.5)
Profile Image for Milda Page Runner.
299 reviews234 followers
November 7, 2017
Not without flaws but still quite entertaining.
The beginning was a bit slow introducing new character Ashia on Krasian side. I can’t say I cared much for the new Povs in this book since we already have big enough cast of characters we know and love. Briar was a bit easier to root for because I knew his backstory from Messenger’s Legacy. Once we move to Hollows and main characters, plot becomes more gripping. There is a fair share of soap opera here: who’s the father of the baby, how many wives Rojer has etc., which is usually not my cup of tea, but Brett manages to make it entertaining.
Action and suspense certainly pick up in the second half of the book to the point where it becomes hard to put down. Surprising amount of bloodshed and heads rolling – nobody is safe.
The intensity of the last 30% and the way it finishes makes me glad that I already have the next book lined up.
Profile Image for Eon ♒Windrunner♒  .
421 reviews466 followers
June 23, 2015
The fourth book in this series is pretty much on par with the first book and thus a return to form IMHO. It did have some minor flashbacks, but nothing like the the middle books (2 & 3). It was perfectly great all the way through and then the last few chapters just propelled it into awesome-land. Peter V Brett is definitely evolving as an author and I cannot wait to see what the last book in this series holds in store.

PS: Renna might be on the cover, but neither she nor Arlen feature much in this book. Who's book then you say? Rojer... Rojer all the way.

Profile Image for Choko.
1,196 reviews2,583 followers
October 1, 2022
*** 4.65 ***

“You came to lands that were not yours, murdered thousands of men, raped their women, enslaved their children, and think your soul is clean because their holy book’s a little different from yours! You keep the demons from them, ay, but chickens on the chopping block don’t call the butcher Deliverer for keeping the fox at bay.”
Profile Image for Saša.
88 reviews40 followers
August 26, 2018
Uzasno naporno. Uzasno!
Trebala je i ovo biti trojcica kao i prethodne dve, jer je sistem isti. Malo akcije na pocetku, zatim previse previse politickih i ljubavnih drama/spletki i opet akcija na kraju. Samo ovog puta jos manje akcije a jos vise drame (davljenja). Karakteri napusteni, worldbuilding takodje, humor los, pripovedanje jos losije. Jel moze gore? Moze.
Martinovski zavrsetak knjige je bio toliko jadan pokusaj da se razmrda citalac da je kod mene samo izazvalo kontra efekat. I jedno veliko MEH! I ocenu manje.
Pitere, ti nisi niti ces ikad biti G.R.R. Martin, stoga nemoj ni pokusavati.

Previse razvucen serijal koji je mogao sasvim lepo stati u tri knjige (dugacke!) ali eto, novci su potrebni.
Srecom, ima samo jos jedan deo (jel?) pa cu uspeti da ga zavrsim.
Profile Image for Gautam Surath.
559 reviews40 followers
April 9, 2015
In one word. This was really disappointing. This was Game of thrones meets Sword of Shannara. Lots and lots of political mongering and heavy prose with no movement in the story line. Clearly, Brett is just dragging this out. The editing too is a let down and some jumps are too hasty. The only interesting part is when Briar pops up and entertains us for a while. The count is wasted, Leesha bores us with her ever escalating problems and the Krasian society and its Dama's are now grating. The next book needs to be the last and it needs to be short. Damn!
Profile Image for Amanda.
5 reviews2 followers
March 26, 2015
Oh dear lord. Have you read this series?

If not, stop what you're doing right now and go pick up The Warded Man. Seriously, the worldbuilding is unique and fantastic, and the more you read, the more you get sucked into the story.

Now, once you're done with the first three books in the series, you will arrive at Skull Throne. And you will want it with every fiber of your being, and you will read it as quickly as you possibly can, because you have to, because you NEED TO KNOW.

And it will destroy you, in all of the ways a book SHOULD be able to destroy a person. Our friends in Thesa are realizing that there are consequences for every action they take. And, as much as we may wish it, there are not always happy endings for those who wish to change the world.

I'm still recovering. I won't take the book off of my Nook because I keep hoping a couple more chapters will show up, but they haven't yet. I'll keep checking, just in case...
Profile Image for Lisa.
346 reviews534 followers
March 24, 2015
Full Review at Tenacious Reader: http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2015/0...

I found the Skull Throne to be an improved reading experience from what I had with the Daylight War. To be honest, I was not sure if I wanted to continue the series, but my enjoyment of the first two books convinced me to give the series another shot. Thankfully my key complaints in the Daylight War were not carried through to The Skull Throne.

First, while Arlen does still have a bit of an accent, I don’t think it was anything like it was in Daylight War. I was grateful for this (even if it wasn’t a major complaint). Renna also did not seem to annoy me as much in this, perhaps its because we just didn’t get as much of her, especially not as much Renna and Arlen together. And sexual manipulation was not the only tool allotted to women in this book. I was quite thankful for this last one.

I’m still not a fan of Krasian culture. The treatment of women and those outside their religion, or even outside of their warrior class, is just abhorrent. I can find it depressing to read, to be honest. And I feel like everything is taken to such an extreme that the characters and culture itself just seem to be more caricatures than anything relatable. The Krasians are always good for action packed scenes, but my detachment from the characters definitely dulls the experience.

The structure of this book is different than the standard epic fantasy. The first third of the book focuses on Everam’s Bounty and the set of characters there, then the next section is set in the Hollow and then the setting switches one last time (when everything comes to a head). It seems that typically these POVs/settings would be interspersed. The format made it feel almost like several separate stories. While I was not thrilled to start with the Krasians given my experience with The Daylight War, I do think this format worked quite well for this book.

One important thing to note here is that in previous books Arlen and/or Jardir have been primary characters. That was not the case in The Skull Throne. They are important to the overall story line of the series, obviously, but they were featured rarely. In fact, I mentioned Renna not being in this much (as a positive) and I would guess she had twice as many pages as Arlen or Jardir. That’s a guess, maybe I’m wrong. But still, the point is we see very little of Arlen or Jardir. In fact, the bits they were featured didn’t add much to this story, but I suspect it is set up for the next book. The focus of The Skull Throne is really how everyone is coping without either Deliverer there to lead them. It provides the opportunity for some to be opportunistic (*cough*Jayan – Jardir’s annoyance of a son*cough*) and others to come together to provide a solution for survival rather than waiting for someone else to “deliver” them from the evil demons.

I found the section in the Hollows strangely addictive, but not in the standard epic fantasy way. At times I felt it was actually pushing Jerry Springer levels of drama revolving around Leesha’s baby (and who the father may or may not be) as well as Rojer and his wives. Yeah, multiple wives, and those being from enemy land during a time of war, that can create some drama in a small town! So I found myself quite into this section, but was also terribly aware that the reasons I enjoyed it had nothing to do with my typical reading preferences. It had nothing to do with world building, unique story telling, politics, backstabbing, survival or anything else like that. It was all Jerry Springer style drama played out in the Hollow. I was waiting for the chairs to start flying.

I’m left feeling like the bulk of important things that happened in this book happened in the last couple hundred pages. There certainly were key things before then, but wow, there some major events right up to the very end. Lots of action, plotting, quests for power. Pretty much, it was war. And with that can come unpredictability and changes that will impact everything else yet to come. I definitely plan on finishing the series out, if nothing else, there’s probably still some baby drama to come! Just kidding, there are some interesting storylines coming together, and I am quite intrigued to see how they play out.
20 reviews1 follower
May 20, 2015

Hmm, I am quite failing to see why so many people find this worth or 4-5 stars.

I've read all 4 books in the past week+, and since book 3 have found it to be getting more of a slog through the bog than an enjoyable read.

Yes, Peter's built many interesting characters, enough so that I continue to read the series. However, I am really tired and fed up, up to here with the following:

1. I'd bet that almost 50% of the series since book 3 is made up of nothing more than flashbacks, and what can be termed as little more than barely interesting filler that does little to advance the story.

2. I'm getting a distinct impression that the "original plan was for 5 books" is hooey, or merely a ka-ching$$ suggestion mentioned by the publisher or thought of by the author.

3. The stupid goings on of some of the characters and their mini-adventures is beyond the pale when there are an almost endless number of more interesting potentials.
People now know that warded weapons are possible and work. They also know that the Warded Man has warded himself to incredible effect. They are able to make unbreakable glass, wood, etc for free.
And none of the people are smart enough to either experiment with marking themselves just like the Deliverer, or make unbreakable wood for fortifications, common utensils, or any of a myriad number of other commen-sense adaptions?

4. Lets take the obviously most importance act in the book, and give it a modest number of pages just enough to tease the reader, and then allow 6 months to pass until the very end of the book wherein we go back to that just to insure we have a cliff hanger to end the book with so that we can reach our stretch goal of making a 5-parter.

I hate to say it, because it sounds like sour grapes, and I have nothing near the skill of Peter. However that doesn't mean I don't know when someone's trying to take me like some dumb hick at the county fair.

Peter is a young, new author, and I think we are seeing either a stupid decision on his part to try and extend the story out to 5 books to 'prove' himself, or allowed himself to be manipulated by his publisher or agent who only have $$ in their mind.

I will read #5 when it comes out, assuming I even remember it. However I will not buy it but use the local library or borrow a friend's ebook.

I am really hoping Peter read's critical reviews as much as positive ones, because I think he has truely creative potential which is sorely lacking in the genre.

He could have easily pared several chapters back to one of the Krasian drama, and given us a much better chapter on Leesha's scientific method trials and results.
But, a year after seeing a guy killing demons with no clothes on, and still no one has tried the obvious?

Profile Image for Krbo.
326 reviews41 followers
November 6, 2015
Auh, ovo je bilo naporno, jako naporno.
Brett je potpuno podbacio i napisao veliki davež.

Ono što je zanimljivo, sami demoni i nastojanje dva lika da organiziraju sve ostale u konačnoj borbi protiv njih imamo u nekoliko poglavlja na početku gdje se prvo razriješi nepostojeći cliffhanger prošlog nastavka. (Jardir i Arlen opali sa stijene i ????? moš mislit da su poginuli...)

No i ta poglavlja su dobila nešto meni jako naporno - opise kung-fu borbi s demonima, posebno s umnim i njihovim mjenjolicima na veeelikom broju stranica.
Katastrofalno mi je čitati rečenicu za rečenicom opisa tko se sagnuo, preskočio, odskočio, ispario... - toga ima toliko da je jednostavno besmisleno, takve opisi spadaju u pripremnu koreografiju filma gdje to izvedu majstori borilačkih vještina pa to ima i smisla, no čitati o tome u sitne detalje - bljak!

I gotovo svaka bitka mu je postala takva.

Zatim pri kraju knjige kreće opet nešto malo zanimljivosti, majstor copy/paste mi je izmamio osmijeh kopiranjem scene iz Dine kada trudna Jessica Atreides pretvara Vodu Smrti u Vodu Života i dobijamo Aliu - tko zna o čemu pišem prepoznat će, a tu je i bradonja G.R.R. Martin sa svojim karakterističnim ponašanjem prema glavnim i poluglavnim likovima.
No izgleda kako je Brett pomalo iscrpio uzore pa je i to uticalo na pad kvalitete.
Kraj je natrpao ultra akcijom koju je mogao fino razdijeliti na malo više stranica.

Između ta dva bloka je hrpa nepotrebnog političkog daveža i dvorskih igara i na arapskoj i na feudalnoj strani - slobodno se jedno 400 stranica može baciti, a da ne usfali.
(arapi/fremeni su ipak zanimljiviji)

Kraj je takav da precizno pokazuje namjeru pisanja još jedno 42 ovakva nastavka i dolazimo do nečega što je Brandon Sanderson precizno opisao u jednom svom blog izdanju:

"When series get very long, a weird thing seems to happen in reader brains. While they want to read about their familiar characters, they’ve sometimes started to feel annoyed by them—and are really just reading to find out what happens to them in the end.

While we love continuing characters, we also seem to get fatigued with them."

Je Brandone, ne da sam umoran od ove serije nego mi treba infuzija glukoze i piva da dođem sebi.

Na svu sreću neće skoro napisati nastavak.

i jedan citat koji mi se dopao:

“I don’t know if there’s a Creator or not, but I know He didn’t come down from Heaven and write any books. Books are written by men, and men are weak, stupid, and corrupt.”

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