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For time out of mind, bloodthirsty demons have stalked the night, culling the human race to scattered remnants dependent on half-forgotten magics to protect them. Then two heroes arose—men as close as brothers, yet divided by bitter betrayal. Arlen Bales became known as the Warded Man, tattooed head to toe with powerful magic symbols that enable him to fight demons in hand-to-hand combat—and emerge victorious. Jardir, armed with magically warded weapons, called himself the Deliverer, a figure prophesied to unite humanity and lead them to triumph in Sharak Ka—the final war against demonkind.

But in their efforts to bring the war to the demons, Arlen and Jardir have set something in motion that may prove the end of everything they hold dear—a Swarm. Now the war is at hand and humanity cannot hope to win it unless Arlen and Jardir, with the help of Arlen’s wife, Renna, can bend a captured demon prince to their will and force the devious creature to lead them to the Core, where the Mother of Demons breeds an inexhaustible army.

Trusting their closest confidantes, Leesha, Inevera, Ragen and Elissa, to rally the fractious people of the Free Cities and lead them against the Swarm, Arlen, Renna, and Jardir set out on a desperate quest into the darkest depths of evil—from which none of them expects to return alive.

783 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 28, 2017

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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 Petrik.
673 reviews42.7k followers
March 13, 2021
4.5/5 Stars

ARC provided by the publisher—Harper Voyager—in exchange for an honest review

A finale that goes beyond my expectations; The Core is a marvelous conclusion to the long-running Demon Cycle series that would make the Jongleurs sing praises.

I binge read all Brett’s work in the Demon Cycle series—novels and novellas included—within a month; that’s in total more or less ten years of his work and I can say with confidence that The Core is his best work, yes, even more spectacular than his debut, The Warded Man.

If you’ve at least read The Desert Spear, you’ll most likely know what’s in store for you; Sharak Ka (the great war against the demonkind) is finally here. Brett has teased us with the existence of this war since the second book, and the fourth book in the series itself can be viewed as a complete preparation installment for this finale. He delivered on his promise like the Deliverer. Not only was the final war with the demons to end this cycle gripping, this is also hands down the darkest and most violent book in the series to date. Some events in this book make a lot of grimdark fantasy seem tame in comparison. I’m talking about a man who eats penis, literally; this book has the highest count of genital mutilation in a single book I’ve ever read.

One of the most important qualities that I found missing in the third and fourth books was the tension produced by the fear of the night or the demons. In the first book, it was scary just to leave any village or cities at night; any demonic appearances brought a sense of fear to the reader. This emotion dissipated as the series progressed, which made the series lack tension for me. However, I’m very pleased to say that the tension and fear I missed are back in full force. Every kind of demon makes an appearance in Sharak Ka, and to see the humans finally struggle again in the fight against the demons made a huge difference in quality from the previous books. Plus, this is also the most action-packed installment in the series; once the book reached its halfway point, you will be treated to hundreds of pages of actions with a gradual increase in tension until the well-written climax sequences.

I won’t lie, I had my doubts about this book because I had mixed feelings about the third and the fourth book of the series. The changes in storytelling directions, with the long flashback inclusions and some of the character development through stupid decisions, were infuriating to read. Luckily, it all paid off in a big way here, all of those writing decisions made this conclusion more impactful.

The entire series spanned around thirty years and we’ve seen some of the characters growth from their childhood. Brett made sure that every single character has a role in this finale. With the knowledge of the characters' pasts, flaws, and the obstacles they had to go through to survive in this harsh world, the realization of how meaningless their conflicts, politics, and squabbles in the face of Sharak Ka felt more meaningful. There are no loose ends for the main characters and the way everyone comes together, despite all their differences, to protect their loved ones and have a chance in the upcoming battle is something I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

“We can spend eternity questioning the past, but it is the future we must look to.”

I don’t think I can ask for anything else out of this book; as a conclusion it did everything right for the last book of a series. I do, however, think that the ending ended a bit abruptly. Rather than only a six-page epilogue, I can’t help but feel that a longer exposition would make this book have a more lasting impact. This, however, is just a minor peeve of mine and it didn’t change the overall greatness of the book.

For the fans of the series, I can assure you that the wait for The Core will be worth it and that you won’t regret reading this conclusion. For anyone who had their doubts like me, Brett will prove you wrong with this book. The finale of this series is truly worth your journey, and this is coming from someone who actually has mixed feelings on the third and the fourth books. I’ve answered the call of the Core; it’s time for you to do the same and experience the amazing conclusion to this series that the Deliverer, Peter V. Brett, has delivered.

Series review:

The Warded Man: 4.5/5 Stars

The Desert Spear: 4/5 Stars

The Daylight War: 3/5 Stars

The Skull Throne: 3.5/5 Stars

The Core: 4.5/5 Stars

Demon Cycle: 19.5/25 Stars

The official release date for The Core is 3rd of October in US and 28th of September in UK.

You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest
Profile Image for Mark.
412 reviews65 followers
October 11, 2017
I am utterly bewildered by the gushing four and five star reviews of this disappointing mess. Not since QUEEN OF FIRE have I been so disappointed with the final book in a series.

The sad thing is that Mr. Brett is an awesome writer. I loved most of this series and it has a lot to do with this man's way with words. He's great but fuck this book.

The sheer number of POVs widened so greatly by this installment that almost nothing happens for most of this book. You have to keep going back to this one and that one to witness baby steps towards the climax. The story has become much too shallow and stretched too thin. I don't care what all these ancillary characters are up to. I don't care about the political strife. I don't care about mankind banding together. I just care about the four or five main characters defeating the damn demon queen and this was the smallest part of the book.

This problem was just beginning to show in the past couple of books but now it's a full grown issue. We want Arlen-mother-fucking-Bales! Everyone else can go to the Core.

Skip it.

PS - I just wanted to add one more thing: HERMAPHRODITE.
Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 72 books51k followers
January 26, 2021
It has been a long journey to the core. The Warded Man was already 2 years old when I read it back in 2010 while waiting for my first book to be published. But these are fat, complicated books full of legions of characters, and engineering such wonders of many moving parts naturally takes time.

Peter Brett is a fine writer. He can paint a scene, bring a tear or a smile, fascinate with imagination, build worlds of believable complexity. The Demon Cycle is a great work of modern fantasy, an adventure well worth taking.

In this series of 5 books the scope broadens steadily from the original fairly focused tale of Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer to one that encompasses many cities, dynasties, and lives. Arlen, the main character of book one, grows rapidly in power, outstripping the story in many ways and having to be relegated to the background for much of the tale while others of more human dimensions pick up the struggle.

The fearsome and fascinating demons become for much of the series a source of external pressure that mostly acts as a stressor for the multiple human conflicts. The demons are the closing walls of the room and the show is the characters struggling with each other as their lives tighten around them.

In The Core this focus doesn't shift quite as much as you might expect. Though, as promised in the title, the war is carried to the demons. At last we have a conflict worthy of Arlen, Renna, and Jardir's demi-godlike powers, and a significant thread of the novel follows them into the demon-infested depths seeking the demon queen. However, a good 80%+ of the book remains on the surface following dozens of known characters in a scattering of cities or moving between them as the final war breaks and demon armies seek to wipe mankind from the map.

There is a slight issue here for those of us whose memories might not be what they used to be. Do you know what Derek’s beef is with Count Bryan or remember who Mery is and what her issue with Arlen was? Because these and a dozen similar questions may arise as we bounce around from one city to the next. Putting that to one side, the assaults and battles are great fun to read, and the various advantages, reversals, victories and defeats were exciting enough to sustain this reader as he waited to rejoin the core quest. Because, if you excuse the pun, that is the core issue. None of the cities are going to survive unless our heroes down below come out on top. All the efforts of the wider cast of characters are essentially just delaying tactics. They are holding their sandcastles as the tide rises. And so, while interesting to watch, it’s down in demon central one stop from the Core where the real action lies.

There’s a danger with so many characters and battlefronts that the reader’s attention and attachment is diluted, that the deaths and losses matter less, the victories and gains too. There’s the danger that even in such a fat book we might spend too little time with character X or situation Y to really reconnect with them and care. Brett largely offsets this with skilful writing.

The core quest heats up and at the sharp end of things we’re with Arlen and friends as they confront the biggest bad. I won’t spoil things, but it’s a good fight and when things in demon central conclude the book wraps up fairly quickly. No LotR multiple endings forever here.

Not every loose thread is tied off, and there are a remarkable number of pregnancies in the book, almost as if Mr Brett were breeding a cast for some kind of sequel series!

Anyway, I applaud the series and congratulate PVB for bringing it all home and giving us closure. I very much enjoyed the read and await with bated breath to see what he has in store for us next.

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

Profile Image for Dana Ilie.
404 reviews347 followers
March 5, 2019
The Core was utterly brilliant in tying everything together, and buttoning it up nicely. All of the frayed and wild storylines became centralized in very skillful and fluid ways, the full growth cycles of each character becoming apparent and displayed. There was a wonderful feeling of closure in almost every way by the end, with each of the mains being involved in all the major workings, and a lot of the mid-level characters, such as Briar, being explored much more deeply, and given spotlight to go through some real growth and changes. Brett also threw a bone to those of us who stuck out the series, bringing back a lot of the smaller characters from earlier books in cameos, reminding us of how far the series has come, and the huge colorful band of people that were encompassed in the epic.

The execution, as you’ve gathered, was spot on. I couldn’t bear to wait any longer to see what would happen with Leesha, with Arlen, with Inevera and the entire band of Krasian sister-wives, and of course with what would happen when the Core was finally reached. I won’t discuss in detail how the actual ending happened, but it was a gut-wrenching, exciting, and impactful section, one of the harder to read – emotionally – bits of the entire series. I was thankful that Brett gave a bit of a fadeout here’s where they are now! section after the main bulk of the story, which helped not just give closure to the story, but to also let us wind down a bit after the excitement.

As a whole, The Demon Cycle series was utter brilliance. Unique, well executed, full of peaks and valleys and everything in between. It took a very original idea and ran with it, making a truly wonderful and compelling story.
Profile Image for Mayim de Vries.
577 reviews824 followers
October 15, 2018
As far as I am concerned, zero stars is a generous rating when it comes to “The Core.”

Mr Brett began high, quickly began to fall, and with each book only gained momentum. I had been wondering whether I truly wanted to read this book already before I opened the first page. I decided in favour for the sake of finishing the series. It was a mistake, so if you are a somebody like me, somebody with too many books and too little time, pass The Core and if you really want to know how things end, read the synopsis instead.

What is it that I do not like so much?

The book is unevenly paced. The beginning is boring and by this I mean the it takes you beyond plain boring onto the plane of masterfully wasted page count: Lots of descriptions that do not contribute anything, and I don’t mean boss fights but clashes with minor demons that you forget the moment they fall, predictably, dead. The protagonists, the secondary and tertiary ones, are preoccupied with irrelevant and petty matters. Most of the time, either they travel and fight demons or talk (scheme) have sex or talk/fantasise about having sex or mutilate one another in absolutely perverse and pointless ways imaginable. In general, without the re-read (unless you happen to be binge-reading), the plot may seem inconsistent and illogical. Thousands of meaningless conversations, spinning around and introducing new threads to expand and then close existing ones. Plus, all these “ting-things” were driving me crazy. For how many pages can one lead barren discussions only to return to the same intrigues. How long can one dispute their rightness only to conclude that something was “inavera.” Is it really necessary for the story? Oh well, story. One tends to forget about this minor detail. Probably because it does not move a step ahead in the first half and then it rushes on without any regard for sense and logic.

I might have cared about these shenanigans more if I cared for the protagonists. Arlen, Jardir, and Renna stopped being instrumental and with the progress of their expedition became instruments. Rojer's death in the fourth volume did not bother me at all (to the contrary), and not only because I hated the polygamous bastard, but also because, in my opinion, it was clear that the author had run out of ideas about what to do with this character. Still, even I have to admit that his point of view, a look from the perspective of Jardir’s son-in-law, a person associated with both the North and South, was immeasurably more interesting than the stopgaps served by Brett this time The constant hora prophecies are another example of lazy writing. Why is the hero going there, acting this way, making this decision? Because the bones said so. Let us not think about it and move on. And that it is illogical and incoherent? No one cares. At least, the author doesn’t.

Leesha and her wonder-child child nearly killed me. Why wasn’t it called Donut (they have holes, no?), at least it would sweeten up things. LoL. I do not know how the author came up with his ideas in this instalment, but it looks like he has a pretty good dealer. Absurdities aside, even above the ground action lacks tensions and surprising twists.

Many things have been written about Mr Brett’s problematic approach to women and femininity and I don’t want to repeat those. But I need to emphasise that Leesha’s sub-plot in The Core (my personal dislike for this ridiculous protagonist aside) is a horrible, nasty joke made at an expense of human feelings in general and an ordinary sense of justice. I had a distinct impression that the author is laughing at me because he delivers it all in a fanfic style. Such an important topic, and such a bad execution.

The style is a problem on its own. Everyone in the Hollows speaks like a village idiot (except for Leesha, her family, and the herb gatherers). It is so onerous to read this slang that sometimes I had to repeat whole conversations to decode the language patterns. Reading about “seedpods” and “hard trees in pants” every second paragraph or so I began to suspect that what I’m reading is a poorly written porn script. Instead of describing emotions or “fade-to-black” narrative we have a close-up on genitals and punctilious record of every animal grunt uttered during the act. All this in hefty doses in a series that attracted me with an interesting concept and world design!

The Warded Man began as a fairly realistic representation of human reactions to danger and combined those with a personal motivation for fighting against it (Arlen's journey). The series ends with a whole sub-plot relying practically on a description (even justification) of tortures and mutilations, rapes and murders, castration and deviation of all sorts. You would hope that all this flirting with senseless violence will carry a message, a punch line if you prefer. Some morale to it (even an immoral one). But no, there's no point. Mr Brett, two books ago, just assumed a grim dark style, probably to be able to market the series to adults. Because everybody knows that gore is so mature.

To sum up: Folly and trivia, lack of logic, jagged plots and sub-plots, dozens of unfulfilled promises, uneven pacing, tragic language, superficial descriptions where unnecessary and lack of crucial details and worst of all: clockwork delivery. On the way to the Core, the protagonists go through events like an accountant going through an excel file. Mechanically, devoid of any emotions, and unnecessary fuss. Something happened. Oh well, get over and move on. Rinse and repeat. The very same logic applies also to the surface. People fight, things go awry, someone dies, someone survives. Reading this, I had the impression that the author had made a list of things to happen, and then randomly wrote them down just to cross them off.

This book has its own unique climate, just like the whole series; this cannot be denied, but let's be honest: the finale may seem quite shallow, predictable, and in view of the scale of problems and plot difficulties created by the protagonists in previous volumes, the wrap up is simply… trivial. Pathos is thick but then it feels like eating an icing instead of the cake.

The worst part is that Mr Brett leaves his surviving heroes surrounded by quite a large cohort of kids which means that perhaps he intends to come back to this world.

Not with me.

Also in the Demon Cycle:

1. The Warded Man ★★★★★
2. The Desert Spear ★★★☆☆
3. The Daylight War ★★☆☆☆
4. The Skull Throne ★★☆☆☆
Profile Image for Terence.
1,113 reviews345 followers
October 15, 2018
The Warded Man Arlen Bales and the Shar'Dama Ka Ahmann Jardir in their passion to rid the world of demons have unintentionally triggered a swarm which threatens to devour mankind. All hope is not yet lost as Arlen has a plan to exterminate the Mother of Demons by going to the Core.

Peter V. Brett saved his best for last as The Core is an exceptional novel and ending to the Demon Cycle series. All the characters from the series seem to have a part to play or a mention from Rusco Hog to Arlen's old sweetheart Mery. The tensions are high and every character displayed their true selves by the end...for better or worse.

The fear of the night returned in The Core. Humanity thought the night was terrifying before the return of the combat wards, but they didn't know what terror truly was yet. The mindless demons were never far from a Mimic to lead them when the Mind's were away. The Mind demons made their former battles look like a warm-up act as the true show was displayed in The Core. I didn't imagine just how devastating or sadistic the Mind's could be.

The true strength of The Core and the series as a whole was it's characters. The main stars lovingly grew from page to page and book to book until they were warriors worthy of the great demon war. My pulse raced as I devoured the book and anxiously sought to know what happened to everyone especially Arlen and Jardir.

The Demon Cycle couldn't have ended in any finer way than it did in The Core. This book is now one of my all-time favorites. In fact I think I'll flip to page one and start reading it again.

5 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,962 followers
September 23, 2017
While I have been honored with a review copy from the publisher, let me be very clear about something: I practically demanded it. :)

I read the rest of the series at the beginning of the month and grew so hooked on it that I couldn't pause to read anything else. And then, thanks to a friend, I pushed my luck and asked the publishers directly for a copy. I admit that I was practically foaming at the mouth, too, and nothing much changed when I received my copy.

So what is this? A raving from a fanboy?


But let me be also very clear about something else: this book is amazing all on its own, or I should say, it caps the rest of the series like the Spear of Ala, as magical and grand a the city below the Earth, the bastion of magic that has withstood thousands of years of swarming demons, unaided.

Any issues I may have had with the previous novels are wiped clean away. Indeed, all of the characters, small and great, have their place in the upcoming battle that tears apart all the cities and hamlets, all of which withstand or fall under an endless onslaught of demons great and small.

The title also gives it away. Arlan and Jadir and Renna go deep into the bowels of the Earth to take on the Core and all the spawn and let me just say... it is amazing. So magical, so dangerous, so mind-blowingly huge.

This fantasy series is easily one of my favorites. Part grimdark, part extremely magical fantasy filled to the brim with demons, and part character study. Any kind of patience you give the previous books will be repaid with pure gold in this one, but be forewarned: there's some really graphic stuff here. There's another author who does a Eunich Army, of course, but George doesn't come anywhere as grim and descriptive as this.

Hell, I'm tempted to start it all up again and enjoy it afresh now that I've grown to love all the different peoples and cultures.

All I can and should say is Bravo! :)

I'm so very happy to have read this series. :)
Profile Image for Gavin.
861 reviews392 followers
November 2, 2017
I felt like The Core was a decent conclusion to the Demon Cycle series even if it was probably the weakest of the full Demon Cycle books. It was still an entertaining read. The Demon Cycle series has a lot of flaws but the thing it really has going for it is that Brett is a fantastic storyteller. It is easy to get caught up in the happenings even if those happenings are often as annoying as they are exciting!

This last instalment of the series saw Sharak Ka, the final war against demonkind, finally arrive. Arlen and Jardir headed to the Core with a few allies and the captured Alagai Ka in tow with the intent of riding the world of Alagai Ting'Ka and her children! The rest of the humans including Abban, Leesha, Briar, Inevera, Reagan, and all the others we have met along the way, were spread out protecting the remains of humanity on the surface against the deadly Swarm of demons sent from the Core.

The plot had both hits and misses. Arlen and Jardir's journey to the Core had some cool moments but it also had some dull spots. I liked the dynamic between the members of the group but was a little disappointed that most of the time they were just battling mindless drones. The fact that we were only invested in the "heroes" squashing some monsters rather than people on both sides of the conflict reminded me a bit of reading the Forgotten Realms books. Which is a pity as the human vs human conflicts in this series were its real strength and offered the depth that simpler old school series like Forgotten Realms lacked. Alagai Ka, the talking demonic prince, had some entertaining moments but on the whole I felt like he was a bit of a flop. I expected a devious talking demon "mind" to be a lot cooler than this!

The demons remain the enigma of the series. Their very existence is the backbone of the worldbuilding and there is no doubt that Brett's world is a fascinating and exciting one and a big strength for the story. Sadly, the demons themselves only really filled the role that mindless zombies might have in a post-apocalyptic story. When the demon "minds" were introduced I hoped it would provide the level of emotional depth to the demon war that we got in the series through the various human conflicts but that never quite materialized.

As I've mentioned before the real strength of the Demon Cycle books was the human conflicts. Brett has a talent for making the reader invest emotionally even in the most horrid characters to the point that you were always interested in their stories regardless if you were rooting for or against any specific POV character.

The flaw of this final instalment was the fact that we got less of the human conflicts and more of them just struggling to survive the attack of the mindless demon horde. That battle did have some exciting moments but as I've mentioned the Night War was never as interesting for me as the Daylight War.

The one big success for this final book in the series was that a lot of characters showed positive, but still realistic, growth in a positive direction. I'm always a big fan of that! While I did feel like Brett got the pacing wrong, probably for the first time in the whole series, as the most boring bit of the book ran from the 85% mark to the 95% mark, I did think the last 5% saved things and I was quite satisfied by the way Brett concluded all the various story arcs.

All in all this was a decent ending to a good, if flawed, fantasy series and I'll definitely be eager to pick up any future books published by Brett.

Rating: 4 stars.

Audio Note: Peter Bradbury did a good job with the narration of this series.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,460 reviews9,611 followers
October 27, 2019
Look at the awesome book! & the hardback under the dust jackt! I love how it's fat & jolly too! =) They rocked this one! Never mind that I have only read book one so far & don't own the other books before this. I wish I could get them all in a fat & jolly hardback but it wasn't possible! =(

Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
673 reviews602 followers
February 3, 2018
Wow, just wow, this turned out way better than I expected, the last two books in the series were a disappointment, but this is not. It surpassed my expectations and the Sharak Ka aka the demon war was perfectly depicted.The way the author portrayed all the battle scenes in all parts of Thesa was great. It wasn’t boring even though it took like 200 pages because all the different POVs of the characters made it fun to read even though I was at the edge of my seat all through.

World building and Writing
All am going to write about the world building is that its perfect, the depiction of the core is the only new location in this book and still the author still made it perfect. I have the perfect image of the core in my head now and its not funny, its disturbing the endless darkness. Even though this book has lots of POVs and characters it wasn’t overwhelming in the least bit, the author still made it comprehensible and understandable. The POV switch was also nicely done.

Pain is only wind. Bend as the palm tree, and let it blow over you.

I know the men in this book did a lot but its the women am congratulating. They were all so badass and selfless, some went to war with their babies, another left a few months old baby and went to war, some were even fighting while pregnant because they know that if they loose their child won’t have a world to live in.

Mother Elissa I admire this woman from her first scene in the series, even though she wasn’t that present in the middle books, but her role in the first and last book is so admirable, if not for her kindness and her love for a child her husband found on the road, that she raised as her own we never would have got Arlen the warder/messenger that discovered the battle wards that was lost for centuries.

Arlen Bales To say that he is selfless is an understatement, he is willing to sacrifice not only himself but his wife to rid of the demon plague forever. He also forgave Jardir which is cool, he carry human lives in such a high regard and is willing to forgive people that tried to kill him.

Renna Bales the said wife of Arlen, she is as selfless as her husband but more stubborn, impulsive, crazy etc and I love her, she always try to do right by everyone and be there for her husband, the sacrifice she was willing to make in this stunned me.

Ahmann Jardir is by far the most religious of all the characters in the series, he is so pious that he lives his life by the Evejah(their bible). That don’t make him perfect cause he still made mistakes but he wasn’t selfish in the list bit, all his life he prepared for this war, and when the time came he did not hesitate, even when his empire is in chaos, he lost lots of love ones, he still didn’t hesitate. I bet if he is told that to win the war he has to sacrifice his wives and children he would have done it, and for that I love him, not up to the way I love Arlen though.

Leesha Paper finally exonerated herself, her sacrifices were great, she is even better here than in the first book, the self righteousness is still but not as before, she is more kind and is taking more refugees even though the hollow money is running out. She even participated in the final battle not just healing anymore.

Inevera I thought her selfish and a power monger at first, but I was wrong, I got to know her better in this book and it opened my eyes about what I thought of as power mongering. All she ever wanted to do in her life was save her people from the demon plague, she almost didn’t have a life. Everything with Ahmann was to save them not for her gain, am glad she found love with him, I bet even if she didn’t she wouldn’t have mind as long as her people are safe. She even put them before her own children, she is amazing, I hope she finally learns to relax a little.

Some of my other loved characters are Ashia, Wonda, Sikvah, Amanvah, Brair, Gerad, Shanvah, Shanjat and Ragen.

Arlen, Renna, Jardir, Shanvah and Shanjat are taking the fight to the core. While the rest of humanity is fighting on the surface. But its not just the regular fights against demons this time, the mind demons are leading the assault so that means lots of human casualties. The book depicted different battles in all over Thesa and how humans are trying to stay alive while their Arlen is on their way to destroy the demon Queen.
Profile Image for Stefan.
166 reviews224 followers
November 21, 2017
A truly satisfying conclusion to one of the series that kept me interested in reading fantasy books after discovering A Song of Ice and Fire series and fearing how I will not find anything remotely as good as that. (Ah, summer child, you knew nothing)

Now, I’m not saying this is as good as G.R.R. Martin’s series, no. But now, after couple of years reading books in this genre – out of which many aren’t even close to these ones – I realize how it did served to show me what author is capable of, how imaginative his worldbuilding could be, how different set of characters can hold the story together and your imagination vivid.
It showed me differences in this transition of stories, transition from basic ‘coming of age’ story to story of ‘zero to hero’ etc.

Bold choices that he made in his second book I considered as interesting back when I was yet discovering the genre; choices – and his integrity to stick to them even after many complained – today I’m able to respect because, unfortunately, there’s not much authors out there who would dare making them.

Of course, it’s the series that also showed me how to distinguish problems:
Of someone’s characterization – when a character is omnipotent there’s not much room to character build-up or reader’s empathy for him;
Or problems out of personal preference – out of all atrocities, why do we need to read about rape in fantasy? In literature?

Basically, what I’m trying to say is how this series served to me as one of many guides I’m using while roaming fantasy worlds today.

Now, about the book itself.
The story starts right after where we left our characters in fourth book.
Coping with loses of those closest to our heart, while welcoming new ones. And with new ones came interesting and shocking revelations.
And I have to be honest, it left me speechless and wondering was it even necessary to do that?
But, after few minutes of thinking about the issue I figured out it doesn’t even bother me.
And why should it?
Because of spoilers I can’t say what the issue was. Or wasn’t. Those of you who have read it know what I’m talking about.

I’m not trying to be politically correct here, I had issue with it because I didn’t see how it will serve the story. And after few pages turning I realized while the story doesn’t benefit from it, it doesn’t spoil anything in it either.
After many more pages turned I saw that actually it was implemented in the story quite well. It made me think of some ramifications of wielding magic while being pregnant in this world. It’s a risky business, for sure.
But those ramifications awaits new generation.

Of course, I can’t tell you what Arlen, Renna, Jardir, Leesha, or any of other major characters, were doing without spoiling, so you’ll have to find that out for yourself.
All I’ll say is that their stories had a fitting journey to their endings.
It was really enjoyable to see some of them coming the full circle – at the very end wanting that same things from which they were running from their entire lives.
There, I really said more than enough.

It was also interesting to see more of that handsome fellow on the cover and his kind. Exploring them and obviously the Core itself, as well as new species of demons on the surface and seeing existing ones evolving to something above a mindless herds of nature’s wickedness.
After four books, it was really refreshing seeing them in 'new light'.

All in all, it was really fun roaming this world. I’m leaving it… content.
Profile Image for Obaid Haroon.
162 reviews104 followers
November 14, 2017
I can't believe the Demon Cycle is over. I started this book in high school when my best friend told me the main character reminded him of me. And here we are, years late and its over. Before I get into the meat of the review, be warned...here there be spoilers.

Now as with many amazing books, I needed time to process and that time, coupled with my shitty memory means that I've forgotten a lot of the finer points.

That's why we re-read folks.

So this is going to be less of a sentence by sentence analysis and more of a rant talking about the parts that I still remember.

Like the Children of the Deliverer or whatever they were called. Those hedonistic fuckers (literally) roaming around at night, fucking and fighting whatever they saw move. Watching Briar infiltrate then Renna bring them down was amazing. Especially when Renna went Wife As Fuck and beat the shit out of that preacher. Don't get me wrong I liked the whole 'living in the dark, one with the night' bullshit but it was becoming a cult with the heart eating and nightly orgies. Renna was dope shutting that shit down.

Another great part was Ahmann and Inevera taking back control of the Skull Throne. It was literally a case of "when the cat's away the mice will play" meets "daddy's home".

Also, is there any appreciation for Jardir falling out of the sky and then being thankful Arlen wasn't there to see it? Such a short and light hearted moment.

But the Krasian power couple taking back control despite all of the shit that happened at Asome's hand. Made most of the previous book a little redundant but still was very cool to read. It had to happen as well. Sharak Sun is over. Sharak Ka has begun.

Arlen and Jardir waltzing down to the Core with a Demon Prince as their bitch was cool and what not but the greatest bit was the Spear of Ala. That bit actually fucking moved me. A monument of unbreakable faith and supreme dedication standing proud in the middle of enemy territory after five thousand years! A shining symbol of humanities capabilities hidden away and lost in time. Jardir walking into the city of the Shar Dama Ka wearing the Crown, Cloak and Spear was a bit I will never forget. Using the faith of that city to bring everyone together and talk for one last time. The entire scene was, in my opinion, the best in the book.

The letter...From the last survivor, alone in a city, waiting for her death to someone she believed with every part of her being would return.

Jardir's crisis of faith that followed. A man whose life had been shaped by his unwavering belief, tested as he journey's to the very Core of the evil he has sworn to eradicate. So well written. So well done.

On the surface the Krasian story was better than the Greenlanders story. Especially Hasik's and Abban's. Going from place to place, castrating men and swelling their ranks. Turning to Nie's path. When I read that i just assumed that he had abandoned Everams way. It was a genuine shock when we turned that corner and found a goddamn Mind Demon in the fortress. But nothing was as big of a shock as Abban GOING MIND TO MIND WITH A FUCKING DEMON!!!


There's that old Sharaj strength! His body may not be strong but even Arlen and Jardir had trouble holding their own with a Mind. And in hops Abban, tortured and starved and crippled but he does it. So much respect.

The fight against the water demon at the end was insane. Such an amazing scene that was. Naval warfare and land both together and we finally saw the children of Ahmann and Inevera live up to their potential.

Moment of silence for Sikvah...

...At least she's with Rojer now. And his funeral was heartwarming/breaking. But yeah I definitely enjoyed The Krasian side more.

The Miln side was cool though. Following Ragen and Elissa return home and take control of their city from an idiot Duke and a petty council of Mothers. I won't say Ragen had to take back control of the guild because it was obvious that he never lost it.

Them preparing the city to fight and holding it against the demons with their wands! Exceedingly good. And the final stand was pretty amazing. using music to fight them back. One thing I didn't care about was Arlen's ex girlfriend and his failed Jongleur friend.
"You're a bitch"
"You've got a little dick"
"Well the guy with the big dick left you"

It's not that I didn't like it, it's just I simply didn't care about them. They were side characters in book one and had a cameo in book two. And then Little Dick died. And no fucks were given. Even his wife didn't care, she just sat down on the piano and busted out some mad tunes.

Leesha sneaking into the city was cool. The whole thing was some sort of covert black ops infiltration and they fucked up that demon. All the shit that Leesha pulled in books two and three made me hate her. But this book redeemed her as an utter bad ass. A real queen.

Like when she confronted one of her rapists and realised he was mentally slow. She could have killed him. I WANTED her to kill him. But fuck me if she didn't rise above literally everyone else and boss that entire moment.

It's like we could see her potential in book one but she in books two and three she kept moving away from it. but finally in four and five she took the weight of the future and gloried in it. But that's just my opinion. Because it's my review. See how that works?

Another bit that shocked and amazed me was the descendants of the original Krasians. Still worshipping Everam despite not knowing anything about the faith apart from that single word.

The fight at the end, between Renna, Ahmann and Arlen versus all those Demon Queens was amazing. But Arlen's death was perfect. Poisoned with something that no normal human could possibly handle, he managed to dissipate and kill every demon in Thesa.

Every. Single. Demon. Was killed by Arlen son of Jeph of the house Bales. He was the true saviour of Thesa. Ahmann was the unifier, Arlen could never have brought people together under one banner. I don't think he wanted to. But the Deliverer was Arlen Bales and I will swwear that to my dying breath.

Now that I write this, many details are coming back to me and I love all of them:

Ahmann offering to marry Renna to provide for her and her son.
Young Bales misting out of his crib.
Briar and Kaji being friends.
Arlen wondering if they had been looking for god in the wrong place.
Elona getting bitch slapped by the woman who chains Gared Cutter. I really hate Elona. I really fucking hate her.
All the kidlings getting to know each other because you fucking know they'll be pulling some shit in the potential next book.
Young Bales future being full of misery.

This book was just a phenomenal end to a brilliant series. As dark and as dirty as real life can be. Yet it still inspires you to be more. Gets in your head and demands more of you.

I feel empty. The kind of empty you feel when a big part of your life comes to a satisfying end. The Demon Cycle is over. We will read it over and over again but for now at least, the journey is over. At this point, the only thing we can do, is remember the wards.

From one Deliverer to another,

Profile Image for Mendhak.
245 reviews3 followers
December 22, 2017
A decent ending to the series, though not particularly satisfying if you were looking for a good explanation or answers to some of the mysteries involved. I'd stop short of calling it a deus-ex though it did approach something close to it...

Part of the problem in here is now the sheer number of characters. The scope of the story is now wider than before, and that wideness makes it a bit shallow in terms of storytelling. The original main character, Arlen, is still now one-of-many. I understand the necessity of this - more people need to have their actions shown - but he still receives very little time.

Some threads get tied up pretty well - It's good to see the various squabbling factions putting their differences aside out of necessity, or at least resolve them for a little while. The looming threat's importance is made quite clear to everyone.

While it's always great to see strong female leads in a story, it needs to be balanced out properly to give it some context. In my opinion, this series has not done well in that aspect and has gone for the easier approach of "woman smart, man dumb" trope - the male leads are either gone or relegated to background roles; those that stick around are constantly being put down or shouted at. Reminds me of the Wheel of Time series - minus the braid tugging and sniffing.

The 'tension' of the previous books is gone. The humans have gotten better at fighting the demons so the original fear that pervaded demon encounters was now a matter of just getting the encounter over with while everyone draws wards faster than breathing. However this was to be expected, after all it was Arlen and Rojer's purpose to make people stronger by giving them the necessary tools.

The conversations between Jardir and Arlen were well done - the constant undercurrent of challenge and rivalry was well written as their stories progressed. They have matured well through their experiences over time and with each other. But as I said before - not much screen time or development! It's not enjoyable when a series goes from 1 protagonist to 20, much more preferable when this is done from book 1 rather than book 3, because the expectation is usually set early on.

Overall - nowhere near the hyped 5* reviews this book is currently receiving, but not so bad either. A good simple series to read.
Profile Image for Eon ♒Windrunner♒  .
421 reviews466 followers
October 20, 2017
4.5 Stars

As all good things come to an end, so too does the Demon Cycle series by Peter V Brett, and it is a fitting end.

At the outset of the story our main characters have embarked on what amounts to a suicide mission in order to take down the demon queen and hopefully bring an end to both Sharak Ka and Sharak Sun.

The descent into the Core is of course only the main thread of a multitude that permeates the story, but they are woven adeptly and will satisfy most readers, including those that did not care much for the book entries subsequent to The Warded/Painted Man. Yes, Mr Brett did make some mistakes with the earlier books, but he clearly learned from those and is nearly faultless in this entry. Plot, pacing & characters - all achieve full marks with the story unfolding at a brisk pace and setting all the characters in place for the final battle, like pieces on a chessboard. While the people we have come to love and hate are all given ample page time, do not for one second think that their safety is guaranteed on account of the author’s love for his creations. Nope. This is war for the survival of humankind after all and every single character plays a pivotal role. The stakes in The Core are as high as they can be, and where fear of Alagai had diminished to a large extent in earlier books as our protagonists became more powerful, this time around the tension is ratcheted up to lofty levels as the drones and their tactics, under the leadership of the mind demons are a vastly different and dangerous beast, by orders of magnitude.

A word of warning: There is no holding back in The Core. Savage. Grisly. Sickening. I am pretty sure there was more than once that my jaw dropped open.

While this book clocked in at almost 900 pages, it felt like the story would still be short changed as I came to the end. I could not see how it would all be resolved in the amount of pages left and this brings me to the only complaint I have with the book, albeit a minor one. The story was indeed successfully brought to a close, despite my misgivings. But while it was very good, it felt sudden and the epilogue imparts scant information on the fallout of the war and the survivors. Like I said, minor, but I wanted more. I am not without hope though… Brett has hinted that while this story is FINITO, he will likely write one more book in this world and it will possibly be set 15 years after the events of The Core, featuring new characters, with some familiar faces as a supporting cast.

Yes, please!

The takeaway though, is that Peter V Brett has managed to write an excellent final book that enthralls throughout and delivers, for the most part, a satisfying denouement to his debut series. I am looking forward to see what he delivers next.

You can find this review and more at Booksprens
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
530 reviews34.5k followers
Want to read
March 23, 2020
You know, after almost 3 years of waiting for my library to finally get this, I might actually just buy it for my e-reader. XD
I'm a very patient person but boy... almost 3 years is enough.
(Said the person who's still waiting for "The Doors of Stone" *lol*)


What can I say?
Guess my patience got its priorities straight as well. ;-P
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,028 reviews2,605 followers
December 10, 2017
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2017/12/10/...

To be honest, The Demon Cycle and I have something of a love-hate relationship. While I felt the first book was a truly excellent read, every sequel after that has been problematic in one form or another, be they plagued with redundant (and overly long!) flashbacks, infuriating cliffhangers, or obnoxious characters you just want to punch in the face. Still, Peter V. Brett writes very entertaining stories, so I probably put up with a lot more from him that I would from any other author. As much as I like to jokingly call this series “Days of Our Lives in The Hollow”, there’s definitely something to be said for the guilty pleasure derived from following soap opera bait like Rojer’s troubles with his three-way marriage, or Leesha and her mom’s baby daddy drama.

That said, we’re on the final book now. No more messing around. Like I said at the end of my review for The Skull Throne, I fully expected some tight storytelling and fast-paced action from The Core as we make our last big push towards the grand finale.

In retrospect, those high expectations were probably what led to my eventual disappointment. I wanted swift execution of the story and razor sharp timing befitting of a series conclusion. I wanted answers and a narrower field of focus. I wanted to see multiple plot threads come together and to have the major characters play more central roles again. I wanted too much, in other words. I realize now that I’d hyped this book up in my head, with expectations of what I wanted The Core to be, and it ended up being quite different from Brett’s vision. Of course, I don’t blame him at all for any of that; as the author, it’s his prerogative to take his series in whatever direction he wants. What I do want to do is paint a picture of the situation so that others might better understand why I’m in the minority of feeling merely lukewarm about this novel while most others seemed to have enjoyed it immensely.

Granted, I’m probably sounding a lot more negative than I intend to be. The Core really is a decent book, and had this been any other installment, I might even have given it a higher rating. Still, we’re talking the very last book of a series here. Fair or not, it gets evaluated it on a different set of standards to judge whether or not it serves as a satisfying conclusion, and in that sense, I was not exactly overawed. Even if things ended just about as well as they possibly could, I still experienced a ton of issues along the way, especially in the first half of the story, most of which I spent feeling bored. Tedium in a finale? Something’s definitely not right.

Part of the problem stems from all the soapy plotlines that had valiantly managed to keep the Cutter’s Hollow crew interesting throughout much of the series, but unfortunately, what worked for previous two books merely felt contrived and time-wasting in this final volume. We’re supposed to be bracing ourselves for an epic showdown against demonkind, but there’s hardly a sense of urgency or any kind of tension leading up to the big event. I’ve also watched this series grow increasingly bloated since The Daylight War, and things have gotten really out of hand with the staggering number of characters we have to keep track of. I’ve mentioned before how badly this series needs Arlen to remain a big part of the story in order to keep it focused, so I was once again disappointed at his meager presence in The Core. Considering how only a handful of main character POVs—namely Arlen, Jardir, and Leesha—were significantly pushing this story along, it’s not surprising that we got nowhere fast due the relatively limited page time they were given.

The good news is, things pick up significantly in the second half, the novel’s saving grace being its later chapters. As I’ve alluded to before, I’m actually quite happy with the way The Core ended, just not quite so pleased with the uneven road it took to get there. This has resulted in some very mixed feelings, to say the least, hence my middling 3-star rating. Many others have loved it unequivocally though, and ultimately I think how you feel will largely depend on what you hope to get out of an ending volume. If you’re a reader who appreciates getting the full picture—or if you enjoyed how the previous books continued expanding the story, setting, and characters—then I think you will like The Core very much. On the flip side, if you’re feeling worn out by the widening scope, lack of focus, and increasingly shallow plot threads of the series, then I’m afraid you’ll just find more of the same problems with this one.

Still, at the end of the day I’m pretty happy I got to finish The Demon Cycle. This series and I have had our ups and downs, but it was a fun ride throughout it all. I definitely would not hesitate to read anything Peter V. Brett does next.
Profile Image for Bogdan.
888 reviews1 follower
October 13, 2017
Like other readers here I`ve had some expectations from this book that, unfortunately, were shattered from the very beginning.

I wasn`t interested in the army of the characters, some of them already forgotten from the last book, and the writer had a lot of interest in them.

Again, the final fight with the demons wasn`t as I hoped it will be, in short, all the structure of the book didn`t spark the same interest in me, as the previous books had.

So much unexploited potential....

SOrry, but, this time, I will go with a rating of a single star.
Profile Image for Milda Page Runner.
299 reviews234 followers
November 20, 2017
A very satisfying conclusion to the series. No new character introductions or slow start this time – the book starts with Arlen and his group travelling to the Core for the final stand and alternates with the other characters showing humanity’s war with the Demon kind from the best angles – intense and engaging start to finish.
What I loved the most about this book is that P.V.Brett in some ways recaptured magic of The Warded Man. With the help of mind demons and mimics, demons are getting the upper hand and the suspense and terror they inspired in the beginning of the series is back by spades.
I had some concerns early in the book due to some cringe worthy moments, especially brutality and mutilations in Abban/Hasik’s storyline. Thankfully it doesn’t last long and once over, we don’t come back to this PoV till the last defining moments. The other character storylines though more than make it up for it – each interesting and full of suspense and plain unputdownable towards the end.

Looking back at the whole series I’d say The Warded Man and The Core are my favourite books, with the middle books slightly weaker but still very good reads.

Highly recommended to epic fantasy readers.
Profile Image for Chris Suchy.
1 review
October 14, 2017
Just awful. The series started strong but each book was a bit worse. I felt the 4th was just ok and was really hoping for a rebound. This was just so bad. A mix of too many characters (Erikson and Martin esque without any of the skill in managing them) and not enough time spent on the main plot amounted to a convoluted mess. Arlen being relegated to a secondary character was just a travesty. His and Jardir's recovering bromance was the shining light throughout the book. I also want to comment on the obvious plays on SJW emotions. Why did it matter that Olive was a hermaphrodite? that did absolutely nothing for the story except waste my time as a reader. Why did it matter that the one speaker (blanking on a name) was a lesbian? a whole chapter dedicated to her being caught by Renna was just stupid. She wasn't even a central character at any point. You can tell that Brett is channeling his inner Terry Goodkind by trying to force his ideology on his readers. I personally couldn't care less about characters being gay, straight, etc... but when romances add nothing to a story, it annoys me. Don't get me started on Leesha's mother Elona either. That is a broad that needed to die. I guess props to Brett that he wrote a character so well that they became more dislikable than King Joffrey but this book really didn't need her. She contributed nothing whatsoever. Just pure filler like Asukaji and Shanvah
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,551 reviews2,936 followers
October 30, 2017
Undeniably one of my all time favourite series. This book is the final one, and that is super sad for me because of how long I've been following the adventures and trials of these characters. There are so many who I just love by this point in the series, and I am so very glad that Brett has said he will be continuing to write more within this world (I hope it lives up to this series still).

By this point in the story we're facing the final battle between the demons of the Core and the Deliverer. I don't want to give too much away about the storyline, because of course that would soil previous books, but all the characters who have lived through to this point are still present, active and leading their own resistances against the Core. We have the people of the Hollow and the Krasian people who are all fighting on their own fronts, and we need to see them united before their common foe of Demon-kind before they have any hope of victory.

Alongside the world-wide battle of the Demons vs. Humanity we have the smaller political and individual struggles between humans. We have various towns and holdings where we see many of the people still being dismissive of the 'end' coming, and they take much convincing to use the Wards of magic which will protect and strengthen them.
We also have the individual struggles of people who have not ever been able to get along. Some are foes through pacts of vengeance, some through acts of betrayal, and many through difference in custom. Much of the Krasian custom is blended from our real world, and this leads to many of the modern-day struggles in the same ways it does in this story.
What I loved about this was that it felt like all of the struggles for power and control in all the different parts of the world we know and have been following were resolved in their own ways. I definitely feel like Brett pulled everything together to allow for humanity to even have a chance at fighting such an epic foe.

We're following various storylines by this point in the series, we have the Deliverer's plot which focuses in mostly on the battle with the King and Queen of Demons who are likely to take over and destroy the world if they cannot be stopped.
We have the plot in the Hollow which is focused on teaching everyone how to get along with one another, there are smaller factions of people like the painted children, and there's a whole load of mending that needs to be done between the people who are running things. Secrets are brewing throughout the story, and yet with a strong leader the Hollow is formidable, and the current leader is nothing if not strong.
We have many people on missions for Inerva to help rid the world of evil men and evil demons. Many of these are young women of her family who are vital to the continuation of the family line and deadly with the blade.
There is Briar's storyline too and he's a much more important part of this book and I found myself really loving his character. He grows a lot and becomes a vital part of the resistance against Demons.
There are many other plots too, all of which felt like they fleshed the world out and improved the story. There wasn't any one plot line I couldn't understand the logic for and enjoy as there are so many characters involved that I just love seeing.

In terms of emotional connection I found it so easy to slip back into my love/hate relationships with the various characters. Brett has a great method of recapping events in the plot, and reminding you of who the characters are and what they've done, and I just love the familiarity of it. I found there were a few moments, particularly at the end, where I was a little chocked up by the sacrifices some of the characters were making in order to save the rest of the human-kind (or at least to try to) and that was really the sign of this being a 5* read.

The women of this series go through an awful lot (so do the men, but I think more of the women do). They are BADASS. I mean that in all capitals because by this point in the story they have dealt with the repression of their customs, some have been raped/tortured/sold and abused, and they are all constantly proving themselves. This book shattered any illusions about Brett not writing female characters well for me, they are going through so much crap, and yet they shine as brilliant examples of how to just make do and mend and keep on going. Many of the women suffer greatly in earlier books, and that's a criticism many of the readers have pointed out, I felt like this book redeemed a lot of them by giving them the real chance to bloom and grow and become their true selves.

The magic of this world is terrifying and wonderful. The humans of the world are only on the brink of discovering the potential of the world, and yet the demons are manifestations of this magic and attack them nightly. It's a wonder that humans have managed to survive, and yet they have clung on and they have tried to learn and adapt over the years since Arlen came and taught them new ways to live. I love the journey that the characters have been on with this magic and the world, and I think that it's just so much fun and the risk feels very real all at once.

In the end I gave this a 5*s because I just loved it. I really recommend this series even with the bad treatment of female characters in earlier books because as a whole it's brilliant.
Profile Image for Claudia.
954 reviews533 followers
October 29, 2017
Great finale of one of the greatest and imaginative fantasy series.

Sharak Ka, The First War, has begun. All over the world demons raise in substantial numbers, with renewed forces and an army of minds behind to wipe out humanity. Will humans prevail, or everything will be lost?

Previous volumes introduced us to many characters. In this one, all of them have a part in the great war; no loose ends remained. Sharak Ka is not just the decisive battle between Arlen and Jardir against the demon queen; it’s the ultimate war on all fronts. We attend dozens of battles all over the world, each of them more frightening and breathtaking than the other.

The story has no flashbacks this time; it alternates between the journey of our two Deliverers into the Core and the stories of the other characters and their roles in events.

There were some parts I did not like, , but they didn’t prevent me to enjoy the story to the fullest. This series has one of the most original and epic worldbuilding and that’s the main point of interest for me.

In my opinion, PVB managed to create in five volumes one of the most epic fantasy series of all times, therefore, this volume and the whole series deserve 5 amazing stars.
2 reviews6 followers
October 18, 2016
The following is a response to previously posted "reviews" and has nothing to do with the book itself.

Some authors write very quickly, some write very carefully. Some authors have family, and a life outside of writing. Some authors' fans have got it in their head that they are owed something more than a book, when it is released, that they have paid for. Allow me to disabuse you of that notion.

Peter V Brett doesn't owe you a book written quickly. He doesn't owe you a book on "your time". In fact, you are owed nothing. When you complain of how long it's taking you sound like an ungrateful, selfish, child. It will be done when it is done, and that is the best we will get. Grow up.
Profile Image for Peter.
680 reviews47 followers
October 24, 2017
I want to start out that I did the previous four books back-to-back and even though I complained about the expansion of POV characters in my previous reviews, it was at least bearable since it wasn't that hard to place everyone in the world. However, a year on since I finished #4, I forgot about everyone except the main handful of characters. This made a large percentage of the book a really tedious experience, not only because I didn't know or care about all the minor characters and their little squabbles, but mostly because their struggles essentially became trivial and repetitive. None of their plots moved the main story along. Every action scene was simply there for the sake of having an action scene and apart from one or two notable sequences, they all played out exactly the same.

Another gripe from the previous books that got exasperated in this one is the overpowered and arbitrary magic system. I enjoyed the first book because the magic was well defined and everyone played by its rules. Once the author found that he needed more variety and intrigue in the story, he chose to add it in via expanding the magic system instead of creating interesting story elements. So by the time we get to this concluding book, we're left with every female character being pregnant and a magic system being used as a deus ex machina for any difficult situation, from being an easy healing source to creating food when the author doesn't want people carrying around packs of supplies on their long journey.

The author is at least a decent writer and while I have a lot of complaints about the story and world, the characters have consistently been well developed and unique. This is still an unnecessarily long book due to trying to cram in every Joe, Jack and Sally, along with their entire extended family into the story though. I think about 20% of the book is dedicated to the actual protagonists and that's a damn shame because those were pretty much the only enjoyable parts of the book for me, probably because they were the only parts that actually mattered to the outcome. If that ratio were reversed, not only could this series have been a more reasonable three books long, but would then have been more engaging and entertaining as well.

There have been a lot of bad writing choices since the end of the first book and this disappointing ending to the series was pretty much inevitable. The author tried desperately hard to cover up the story's shortcomings with constant action, lots of sex and endless bickering, but ultimately it was very obvious just how shallow the story had become. To be honest, I think I was probably over this series somewhere back during the second book, but all the untapped potential kept me coming back and by the time it came to doing the fourth and fifth books, it was more a matter of following through with the time investment, sunk cost fallacy be damned.

Profile Image for Michael Sliter.
Author 6 books144 followers
October 23, 2017
The Core – Review (Contains Spoilers)
The Demon Cycle series by Peter V Brett seems to be controversial. There are readers who absolutely love the series and those—a particularly vocal bunch—who seem to hate it. I think I fall somewhere in the middle (moving toward the positive). This review contains spoilers throughout.

Though this is a review of The Core, I’ll need to mention the other books. The first book, The Warded/Painted Man, introduced a world where night is terrifying. Demons rise each evening, and humans use half-remembered wards to keep these monsters at bay. Our protagonists, in this first book, bring hope to a hopeless world. Despite a poorly-handled and controversial rape scene and subsequent interactions among the protagonists (that was tactlessly explained in the second book), I loved the introduction into this dark, hopeless world.

The next two books, in my opinion, stumbled. Most of each book was essentially a long flashback about characters that I had trouble connecting with. I wanted to see the story, introduced in Book 1, move forward, but only got a bit of that. Arlen, Rojer, Leesha, and present-day Ahmann, got very little page-time. Book 4 corrected that, being more in the present, but introduced (and continued) a number of POVs that deluded the main storyline.

This brings us to The Core. Despite the stumbles in the middle of the series, this was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017. And there were a lot of redeeming features. First, the series was finally fully in the present. No flashbacks or backstories—we were able to learn what was happening as the final battle approached. Now, a lot of this present-day story felt like filler, that the book was long for the sake of being long. I didn’t mind too much, as Brett’s reading is easy to read. There are chapters I wanted to skip (generally Krasnian women—am I sexist and racist?), but others that were great. I loved seeing Arlen have closure with this father. It was a touching scene.

The meat of the story, though, was the journey to The Core, with Arlen, Ahmann, Renna, and a couple of Sharum (a couple of the aforementioned characters that I wasn’t that invested in). Arlen and Ahmann delivered. I generally loved their interactions, and was pleased to see them almost completely reconciled. The final battle itself felt somewhat rushed, and the solution to the demon problem felt very much like the ending to Mistborn. But I thought it was well-done. I stayed up late a couple of nights to finish the series, and even did some day-reading, which is usually an indication that I’m enjoying something.

But, the solution to the problem ultimately minimized many of the other struggles. It was very much an Deus Ex-Machina. The other characters could have largely just stayed home and the end result would have been exactly the same. Did Abban have to confront a mind demon? Did Briar and Ashia have to try to rescue him? Did Leesha and crew have to move into Angiers? Probably not, because those problems were ultimately solved.

The ending chapter could have been longer. It brought a lot of resolution, but didn’t spend enough time to discuss the sacrifices made to save the world. For instance, apparently no one else was invested in the two Sharum who died in the fight for the Core (eaten and cut in half). There was no real mention of them or their sacrifice.

It’s pretty clear that there will be a follow-up series. Most of the main characters had children who are growing powerful at the young age of 1, and the prince of demons escaped (which was particularly unfulfilling). I wish the seeds of a sequel were more subtle than this; the story felt unfinished (e.g., prophecy for Leesha’s daughter/son; Alagai Ka escaping).

All this said, once the story was moving, I enjoyed it quite a bit. The threat of night returned, and the story recaptured some of the dark magic of The Warded Man. If there is a series in the future, I’ll probably pick it up. Brett is a talented author, and I’m sure he will continue to improve with subsequent stories.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Andreas.
206 reviews
May 6, 2019
I'm finally finished with this series, and that makes me so happy. I guess you could say that I have a love/hate relationship with this series. I thought The Warded Man was a fantastic book. The characters and the plot were pretty good and the world was super interesting, but then it all sort of went downhill. For all the talk of magic I feel like the magic was lost sometime during the second book. Not sure why I kept reading. Maybe stubbornness or maybe I just like torturing myself. But at long last it's over. I might re-read it in the future, but probably only the first book and ignore the rest.

2.5 stars for this one, not sure how to rate the entire series. I feel nothing but disappointment when I think back over the series tho, so I guess that's that.
Profile Image for Anna Stephens.
Author 21 books626 followers
September 21, 2017
A seriously epic conclusion to a magnificent series, The Core more than delivers on the promise of the first four books. It's bigger, badder, epic-er, grimmer, darker, scarier... you get the picture.
Without giving too much away, you'll recall from the end of Skull Throne there's a bonkers plot to force Alagai Ka - the demon prince - to lead Arlen, Jardir, Renna, Shanvah and Shanjat to the very heart of the abyss, to the demon queen's hive, and there to kill her. Sounds simple, right? SO WRONG. The Core is, after all, the home and breeding ground of demons.
Meanwhile on the surface, the surviving are ... dying. Cities are under siege from within and without, Krasian versus Thesan, human versus demon. It's more than just Waning - it's the swarm.
Plot twists, betrayals, alliances, deaths, escapes - those up top don't have it any easier than those heading for the abyss.
Everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. Will they triumph? Who lives, who dies, whose life is changed utterly and forever? You really need to read the book to find out.
My one tiny niggle would be after the grand epic climax, there are a couple of loose ends - in the monastery, in Miln - that I would have liked to see tied up. Other than that, EXCELLENT!
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,757 reviews754 followers
January 31, 2022
I was both excited and terrified to read this big beast of a book. Excited because I’ve been invested in this series for so long and I couldn’t wait to see how it all ended. Terrified because I’ve become so invested in this series and these characters and I want nothing but good for my precious babies. I’m glad to say that it was everything I could have hoped for and more as an ending to what’s become one of my all time favourite series. It had it all; it made me laugh and sob and want to throw the book across the room and hug it to my chest and just hold it close. In short, it was absolute perfection. It was an absolutely brilliant conclusion to one of the most stunning and intricate series I’ve ever read and I couldn’t have loved it more. It’s been days since I finished it and I still can’t stop thinking about how utterly perfect it was!
Profile Image for Rob.
848 reviews535 followers
January 15, 2018
Executive Summary: A satisfying conclusion to a really enjoyable series.

Audiobook: Another good job by Pete Bradbury. I thought he was a good fit for the series overall, and makes listening in audio a great choice.

Full Review
I was very late coming to this series, but I nearly listened to it all in one go. That should be a good indicator at how much I enjoyed it.

This series has one of the best magic systems I've encountered, and I'm always a sucker for that. The characters are fantastic too. There is a warrior monk, a bunch of badass women, and if that wasn't enough it also has a heroic bard or two. Fantasy books could always do with some more bards in my opinion.

It also has some of the best secondary ones I've ever read. Wanda Cutter deserves her own spin-off series. A few of the characters added in this book seemed to come out of nowhere however. Apparently one of them was introduced in some of the novellas. I didn't read those so it made their inclusion feel very strange to me. It was as if I had skipped a chapter or two in one of the previous books.

I did struggle a bit with the character development at times, but even a few I had a hard time sympathizing with for much of the series grew on me by the end.

Much like the last book this one focused a bit more on the human politics than the demon war than I'd have liked. However it was important to finish setting things up for the finale. I think it was handled pretty well, but it took me a bit to get completely sucked into the book as a result. It also made the ending feel a bit on the rushed side.

Still, I thought this was another solid entry in the series, and I was happy with where things leave off. I could happily read a sequel series (or that Wanda Cutter spin-off), but if we don't get any more from the universe Mr. Brett built, I'll be fine with that too.

I definitely recommend this series to anyone who enjoys darker fantasy and loves cool magic systems.
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