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The Demon Cycle #1

The Warded Man

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As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.

416 pages, Hardcover

First published September 1, 2008

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About the author

Peter V. Brett

71 books11.6k 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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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,051 reviews
Profile Image for Peter.
Author 71 books11.6k followers
December 4, 2013
I learned a lot from this book, because I wrote it myself. My rating may be somewhat biased as a result.
Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 76 books50.7k followers
September 9, 2022
A rather brief review since I read the book very nearly 5 years ago.

I came to this book with no expectations, finding it on the shelves in my house. Both sons recommended it, but that's not always a recommendation!

There are fantasy books that are all about the plot, fantasy books that are all about the characters, and fantasy books that are all about the world-building. This one manages to be all about all of that.

The 'big idea' is the demons and it's a good one. I'd not seen demons done this way and the partitioning of them into the night, combined with the system of wards, really works to create a very interesting dynamic.

The wards themselves are not only interesting in the sense of a magic system but also in a meta-sense as they are a marketeer's dream. They provide for the fandom almost limitless fuel for fan art, cos play, and branding (not in the literal sense). I've seen a line of wards as jewelry, warding as body art ... it goes on.

The main character (first introduce, driving force) is Arlen and although he's a 'farm-boy-rises-to-hero' he manages to overcome the trope and be an interesting character, primarily through his combination inventiveness, down-to-earth morality, and bravery. The other point-of-view characters are also engaging and offer complete a diverse set of windows onto the world Brett's made for us.

Arlen's chosen vocation involves a lot of traveling which is great for covering the map and colouring in the detail.

The plot works too. Ostensibly the book is about defeating (or surviving) the demon threat, and it has more of that in this first book than the later ones, but even here the politics and character interactions are a major focus. Brett gives us a complex world full of interesting people, and the demons act as a constant source of pressure to drive the characters to extremes.

In many ways The Warded Man is old school fantasy, but it's written in a modern style that I found refreshing. A really good read.

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Profile Image for carol..
1,514 reviews7,703 followers
July 23, 2018
The Warded Man had a tremendously strong start and was well on the way to a five star read. Then three quarters of the way through, I became extremely disenchanted with characterization and plot jumping.

Brett's world is fascinating: a feudal system at the mercy of demons arising from the earth each night, and the only way to defend against them is through the work of drawn/carved wards. The story begins by following a young boy, Arlen, allowing well integrated world-building as Arlen grows. Brett did a fabulous job of creating the feeling of subsistence living, of huddling behind the doors each night and the race to get daily chores done by dusk to prevent demon attacks. Before Arlen reaches teen years, the point of view switches to a young girl, Leesha, and then on to another boy, Rojer. Their tales are equally interesting, although Rojer's is significantly shorter; it was almost as if someone said "enough exposition, let's move on." Leesha experience and creation was well done, and I got a great feel for what it must be like to be female and growing up in a village. Then we move to the city of Miln, and Arlen's life takes a sharp turn; in short order he is apprenticed to a Warder and planning to be a Messenger.

Section 2 of the book focuses on the teenage years, roughly speaking, so for Arlen that means his apprenticeship in Miln, Leesha her apprenticeship as a Herb Gatherer and Rojer's own apprenticeship as a Jongleur. This section is much shorter, a mere 88 pages to the 158 of the first section, although it felt anemic, as the time period of growing into adulthood makes for rapid and significant changes. Oddly, what seems to happen to these three is that the "moral code" of their childhood selves solidifies, becoming a kind of arrested development.

The final section is what caused rapid downshifting in enjoyment and rating:

I really loved the beginning and spent hours wrapped up in the book. Once section three came along we switched into Epic Fantasy Action Hero mode and I lost a lot of enjoyment. That said, world building until then was solid. Language use was well done. Plot believable (until then). I down rated this from a "must buy" to a "borrow" book.

Cross posted at http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2013/0...
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,400 reviews9,535 followers
September 2, 2017
Buddy read with my wonderful friend, Celise

I freaking loved this book!! Arlen, Leesha, Rojer, Bruna, Ragen, Cob, Leesha's father and Twilight Dancer were my favorite characters.

The book tells the story about 3 people, Arlen, Leesha, & Rojer. It starts when they are younger until they are adults and how they find each other.

They live in a world where you have to be inside a Warded home or Warded circle etc, before night fall. This is when the demons rise and if you're not safe, you're pretty much eaten!

I can't describe how awesome this world is, besides the getting eaten part. I mean it's just like nothing I have read before! And yes, there are people I wanted to beat down, but that is all par for the course!!

I really, really hope the next books are good because there are mixed reviews. I hate that because this is one of my new favorite books!

Mel ❤️
Profile Image for Petrik.
663 reviews41.1k followers
October 21, 2019
4.5/5 Stars

The Warded Man is a superbly written debut that every fan of character-driven fantasy must read.

I started reading this book without knowing anything about it other than the premise. It’s been hundreds of years since the demons returned to ravage the world. The demons only come at night and this situation has left humans isolated in their respective cities and heavily reliant on wards to repel their demonic adversaries. The Warded Man is truly different from what I thought it would be based on the cover. I honestly thought it would be a plot-driven book featuring one badass main character to focus on right from the start until the end; I was pleasantly surprised by how wrong I was. I never expected this book to be a multi character-driven fantasy, which I truly adore.

The plot unfolds really slowly. I know some readers can be disheartened by the pacing of the first 30% of the book as I find Brett’s storytelling style isn’t linear; it’s a bit unconventional. The story is told from the perspectives of three main characters and as soon as a character’s POV was about to get interesting, Brett immediately switched the narrative to another character. Some readers will find the pacing to be even slower because of this; however, I personally loved it. Brett really took his time developing the characters meticulously from their childhood to adulthood.

“Welcome to adulthood." Cob said. "Every child finds a day when they realize that adults can be weak and wrong just like everyone else. After that day, you are an adult. Like it or not.”

The Warded Man is after all, at its core, truly a character-driven coming of age tale. The characterization of the three main characters, Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer, is excellent. Reading about their struggles, convergence, and eventual determination to not succumb to the harsh world they live in is something I thoroughly enjoyed. Plus, the book also has a lot of similarity to The Name of the Wind—which is another favorite of mine—with its coming of age tale with tragic tone; an intellectual character who loved books; magic learning; and most of all, the emphasis on music.

Picture: Arlen Bales and Twilight Dancers by Dominik Broniek

The world-building is wonderful; Brett provides enough information on the history, magic system, the harsh world, and the variety of demons without being info-dumpy. At the same time, he also left some mystery for the future installments as well. This is truly how the world-building of the first book in a series should be presented. Accompanied with simple and engaging prose, even with the slow pacing, I found that there was always a sense of suspense while reading the book. I was addicted.

I had two minor cons with the book. The conclusion ended too quickly for my taste; a bit more exposition and it would’ve made an even greater, lasting impact. Also, call me nitpicky but I can’t help it, the repetition of a word disrupted my immersion; specifically, the word “succor”. I honestly don’t know why this word really stood out to me, but every time this word popped up I was like, “oh look, it’s this word again.” I feel like Brett could’ve used another replacement for this word, such as help, aid, assistance, or relief.

Overall, The Warded Man, being a debut work and the first book out of five in the Demon Cycle series, is a fantastic debut that every fan of character-driven fantasy should try to read. I’ll be continuing onto the second book immediately after posting this review, maybe even binge-read it all the way if the rest of the series is as good as this first installment. Highly recommended!

“Let others determine your worth and you're already lost, because no one wants people worth more than themselves.”

You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest
Profile Image for Enginesummer.
7 reviews15 followers
June 5, 2014
Oh, where to start with this book.

Perhaps I should begin by pointing out that, according to the back of the book, this *is* the author's first novel (don't quote me Wikipedia, this is his first published novel, I guess).

Unfortunately, it shows.

So, it's a fairly generic set-up with a Medieval-style community, humans vs. demons, good vs. evil. Blah-de-blah. As is obvious from the title, the primary protagonist eventually carves runes onto his skin to combat the demons and take a stand. As a concept, it's fairly interesting. It just was not very well executed. The pacing was severely lacking. The world-building was heavy-handed. And the inconsistencies in the functioning of this world are just overwhelming.

The greatest example of inconsistency concerns the handling of genders. Perhaps because it's his first novel, the author tries to borrow from (a rather sexist view) of history concerning gender roles. That's one thing. But only addressing the female characters in relationship to their reproductive capacity got old. Fast. One of the three protagonists, Leesha, is a young woman who quickly gets caught up in a sex scandal... and then never gets out. If all mention of sex and babies was removed, I don't think there would be any other female characters (okay, maybe the old mentor Bruna), and Leesha herself would only be in it for about five pages. It's baffling just how poorly the author understands women. But even this aside, the treatment of major social matters is just completely inconsistent. Everyone stresses (constantly) that having children is necessary because everyone keeps getting killed off by demons. Okay. Then throwing in slut-shaming for unmarried women doesn't make sense, since the whole point is to just have more babies. Then having almost every woman using contraceptives and sleeping around? What? I don't understand the logic being used here! Then there's the city with the social ranking based on being a mother. This is a pretty solid idea, given the necessity of more babies to eventually fight the demons. It's an interesting take on social hierarchy. Then they introduce the idea that these Mothers are even advisers to the ruler. Well okay then! Aaand that is... all. There's no further development. We never see the women in any sort of advising capacity. The one woman who is supposed to be in charge gets ignored and bullied by a glorified postman. And two sentences after introducing this concept, the characters are bemoaning having to go through selling off useless daughters and remarrying to different women for the all-important MALE HEIR! Why a woman can't be next in line for succession is never mentioned, let alone explained. All we're left with is yes, oh, how important these Mothers are and damn it these useless daughters! I think the author tried to throw a bone with this one, sanctity of motherhood, whatever--it just didn't take. He also tried when he said only women (Herb Gatherers are all women, mind you) were allowed to know the secret of demon-fire, since men couldn't be trusted not to light the whole world on fire. Um, yeah, since when? How is this form of sexism any better? Not only is it showing the ONLY independently powerful women as a bunch of scheming, suspicious, bigoted, man-hating hags, but it's a pretty poor estimation of the male population as a whole. In fact,the men really don't have it very easy in this world, either. It's all "protect this" and "be a man" that. You know, not every person is suited for taking on 8-foot wood demons, and being smart enough to know that means you can live to fight another day. It just doesn't make much sense. Half the population is subjugated to basically the status of incubators--while mussing up their feathers at the idea of single-mothers--and the other half are supposed to be super-manly male men who are called cowards for not entering a fight they, by the way, have no chance of winning without the proper wards (which they don't know). I honestly couldn't care less whether these idiots survive against the demons. Apparently they deserve it for being so stupid.

All right. So there's my rant about the treatment of gender. Then there's the plot in general. I understand wanting to give the characters back-stories, but by the end of the book the main protagonist, Arlen, has completely cut himself off from his roots anyway. Wouldn't it have been more interesting to meet him as he was at the end of the book, tattooed and angry, and get to wonder about how he got there, where he gained his knowledge, how he came to be so well-read and -traveled? In the hands of a more competent storyteller, I feel like we would have been given this information a little bit at a time, at appropriate intervals. As it is, there's no wonder. And there's no connection. By the time Arlen becomes The Warded Man, he's like... goddamn Batman. He's a symbol. And a little bit flat. I didn't worry for him at all, and he didn't seem to be in danger. There was no more development of his character. He just... stopped. If you had to use the woman as a plot-device, she could have at least helped show more of his remaining humanity than the fact that he liked sex (surprise!). But to go more on about the plot, the ending just seemed really contrived. It was like there was a certain quota of encounters that had to be met, and they were summarily dispatched. Honestly, by the time the final battle rolled around, I was feeling somewhat bored. And then there's the wards. Why no one would think to use them to build bloody roads, or rest-places, or ANYTHING to improve communication and travel is beyond me. Even if they had to do it warded-brick by warded-brick laying down a path, they had 300 years to accomplish it. That seems like it would be a first freaking priority!

What about the message as a whole? All right, all that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men (and yeah, it's going to be men in this series) to do nothing. Fine. I get that. Okay, then, Wardy, WHY the HELL didn't you share the fancy demon-killing wards you learned? It was well-established by your very long back-story that you thought sharing helpful wards (like ones that might, I don't know, KILL demons) was the only moral choice. You had plenty of Warders you knew, personally, who would have been happy to spread that information to literally everyone. Instead you painted yourself up pretty and went to have a ball all on your own. Oh, well done. Yeah, I'm sure the hundreds massacred every night wouldn't have wanted your wards anyway. You prick.

Yeah. That just about summarizes my feelings for the Warded Man. He's ultimately kind of a stupid prick. Leesha is just there to jiggle about and occasionally throw potions at something. Oh, and I didn't even mention Rojer. Because who gives a shit about Rojer. He plays his fiddle and demons get entranced. For no discernible reason. I guess no one, ever, in 300 years, happened to try playing music near the demons. Go figure. Rojer was just ultimately so bland. If I didn't have a thing for ginger musicians I'd probably be a lot meaner. As it is, the characters were all fairly forgettable.

So, in closing, The Warded Man... is a little bit of a mess.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,863 reviews69.2k followers
January 20, 2018
I've seen this book in my feed for years now, so I finally decided to take the plunge and see what all the fuss was about. And I'm really glad I did because this was a pretty cool story.


Ok, in this world there are demons. Hiss!
Not the kind that possesses you and turns you into a minion of Satan, though!


The kind that come out at night and eat you! RAWR!


Alright. So basically these demons (called corelings b/c they come from the core of the earth) rise up at night and wander around looking for humans (and animals) to eat. And the only thing that can protect you are the wards you have etched onto your houses and barns, or portable wards made of wood that the Messengers use while traveling from village to village.
And for somewhat contrived reasons these wards tend to fail (erosion, water washes them away, wind blows stuff down, etc.) or people don't make it back inside the warded areas before the night falls, and...instant demon snack!
{insert screaming here}


There are all sorts of religious stories and lore about what they are and how they were beaten back the first time around, plus a prophecy about some Deliverer who will pop up one day and save the world from these things. But for the majority of the story, all of that is just background noise.
The main plot(s) revolve around three different characters (Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer) that you're introduced to separately at pivotal moments in their childhoods.


Except they don't meet each other till they're waaaaay older, so you're hopping back and forth between three different stories for the vast majority of the book.
And by the time they do meet, they've all been through some pretty rough shit. Especially Arlen, who's all snarling, growly, & freaky-looking in general by the time he finds Leesha and Rojer.


Ok. So all of that was awesome. I'm really digging this book until it was like...90%ish of the way done, and then this spoilery rape thing happened that kind of made me scrunch up my face.


Now, understand that I'm not opposed to rape in books that I read. It happens in real life. A lot. So, writing about it, if it's handled well, is something that I think can help shed light on a dark subject.
To me, this wasn't one of those times that the story gained anything by adding it in there.

And maybe that tainted my view of things from there on out? I'm not sure.
But for whatever reason, the last bit of the story seemed draggy to me. And for all intents and purposes it really shouldn't have! Because that was the part with the Big Battle and all the action-y goodness that comes with a Big Battle with demon monsters.


Until the stuff towards the end, I was just eating this book up and enjoying every bit of it. And I'm not 100% sure if I was reading the stuff I didn't like right or not, so I don't want to toss it down and say I'm done. Because I know I'm late to the game, but I think this has the potential to be one of those fantasy series that I can actually get through. I can't quite give it 5 stars but it was still (overall) a really good story.
Profile Image for Nicole.
397 reviews13k followers
February 6, 2022
Widać, że zapowiada się na coś większego.
Profile Image for Nataliya.
726 reviews11.5k followers
April 4, 2012

The world of The Painted Warded Man (*) is governed by fear. Countless corelings/demons rule the night. Magical wards that keep the demons out also keep the people in. The promise of safety has become their prison.

* Sidenote: By the way, what's up with the name change? Is this book a part of Book Witness Protection Program? Why?
Being caught out in the open at night equals gruesome death. People in this world hide trembling behind their wards at night terrified of what's out there. Fear rules their lives and determines their actions. They have lost their will to fight. They have traded freedom for safety. And so enter our three main characters who decide that life is more than just cowering in fear:
(A) Arlen, who refuses to live his life in fear and forgoes conventional happiness for what he feels is right - and becomes the titular Painted Warded Man, battling the corelings (**).

(B) Leesha - a brave and determined young woman, a skilled healer and herb gatherer who defies all expectations of her male-dominated society.

(C) Rojer, a self-doubting young jongleur alive thanks to his mother's sacrifice, who is able to charm corelings with music.
(A) (B) (C)
** Sidenote #2: It's hard to believe that nobody EVER thought about doing to themselves what Arlen did. Yes, they did not have battle wards until Arlen found them. But a few defensive ones, just to be on the safer side? (***)

*** Sidenote # 3: Upon further thought, maybe the years of viewing the demons as the deserved punishment from the supreme being made those people accept their "fate" and just pray for the Deliverer. Without ever trying to take a stand. That's sad.

Brett does not bother with the recent trend of having "shades of gray" antihero/protagonists - and his approach works. They have their flaws - Arlen is angry, Leesha is headstrong, Rojer is insecure - but they are clearly the good guys. They are instantly likeable, and it feels good to be rooting for them. We are also given just the right amount of worldbuilding to draw the reader into this universe without making the story drag. Unlike so many recent fantasy books it does not drag the reader into the endless political intrigues, which is refreshing. Instead, we get character development and adventures, and it's great. Yes, Mr. Brett is a talented storyteller.
"We are what we choose to be, girl,' she said. 'Let others determine your worth, and you've already lost, because no one wants people worth more than themselves."
Great fantasy book, a real page-turner. Good story, good characters, good execution. Easy 5 stars.
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,631 reviews4,997 followers
August 9, 2011
The Warded Man is an effective, efficiently-written fantasy thriller, one with an ingenious premise: at nightfall, various sorts of grisly 'corelings' rise from the earth to slaughter all living beings. folks live and travel behind various 'wards'. draw an imprecise ward: you are fucked, and probably dead. the novel documents a society which may or may not be in transition to ways that more proactively and aggressively engage with this continual threat. the set-up is particularly effective in its recreation of that paranoid feeling from Night of the Living Dead & Assault on Precinct 13 & the like, where folks must board themselves up together against a terrifying onslaught. except that this happens every single night. shudders! so much for the lonesome midnight walks that i crave from time to time; i would be dead, dead, dead.

so now i'm going to draw this review out interminably by comparing and contrasting the book to various other modern first-novels-in-a-fantasy-series.

Kushiel's Dart vs. The Warded Man. Warded Man is much less melodramatic in plotting and the action is better written and briskly paced; however, Kushiel has much more interest as far as the exploration of gender politics and sexuality in general go. still, Kushiel's narrative is often sloppy while Warded Man's flow is tight. winner: The Warded Man.

Gardens of the Moon vs. The Warded Man. Gardens is actually fairly terrible when considering the craft of writing. truly awful and eye-rolling, in parts. i have no complaints about Warded Man's prose; on the other hand, the writing in Gardens is just so ugh! however, Gardens is also one of the most densely plotted and richly imagined worlds i've visited, while Warded Man's world has an overly streamlined and rather half-baked quality to it that often plagues new authors. Warded Man's world is all about the corelings. Gardens is about the entire world. winner: Gardens of the Moon, although this was a close one.

A Game of Thrones vs. The Warded Man. duh, a no-brainer. that's like comparing a kiss on the cheek to making sweet love all night long. winner by a ridiculously wide margin: A Game of Thrones.

The Drowning City vs. The Warded Man. both suffer from a certain muddiness when considering real-world correlations to the various lands described. however, in Warded Man this occurs only in the sequence within the thinly-veiled middle east of Fort Kasia, while these vaguely annoying parallels dominate the entire Drowning City, much to its detriment. outside of Fort Kasia, Warded Man's societies - although generic - did not feel unnecessarily reductive or familiar. winner: The Warded Man.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms vs. The Warded Man. Hundred Thousand has mythic resonance, ambiguity, and its artful writing is a delight. Warded Man has carefully developed characters and an interestingly predetermined quality to its solid narrative. one is airy, the other is down-to-earth. A Tie.

The Blade Itself, The Lies of Locke Lamora, and The Name of the Wind vs. Warded Man. well, in all three cases, the incredible talents of Abercrombie and Lynch and Rothfuss trump the more workmanlike writing abilities of Brett, in every way: fascinating characterization, compelling stylistic and/or narrative choices, the depth of the world-building, the intrigue of the mysteries, etc, etc. but it is interesting to note the parallels between Warded Man and The Blade: both first-novels-in-a-series spend their time developing the lives of their three primary players, focusing on how they came to be the way they are, with the primary action to take place in the next novel. winners: Blade, Lies, Name.

Black Sun Rising vs. The Warded Man. although Black Sun is not a recent novel, this is an interesting comparison to me because both works (despite their dramatic differences) use the entire world is against the humans as their central concept. both also suffer from a certain lack of robustness in the actual world-building. that said, Black Sun stumbles in ways that Warded Man does not: Warded Man is not only pleasingly straightforward, the action in the narrative and the thoughtfulness behind the rather grey-toned characterizations have an intrinsic logic to them that Black Sun lacks.
winner: The Warded Man.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56k followers
May 19, 2022
The Warded Man (The Demon Cycle #1), Peter V. Brett

The Painted Man (titled The Warded Man in the US) is a fantasy novel written by American writer Peter V. Brett. It is the first part of the Demon Cycle. It was first published on 1 September 2008. It has been translated into German, Japanese, Polish, Czech, French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Serbian and Estonian. There is also a Graphic Audio production of the book.

The novel follows three POV characters in their passage from childhood to maturity. They are inhabitants of a world plagued by the attacks of demons known as Corelings, which rise from the planet's core each night to feast upon humans. There are many different kinds of core-lings, each associated with a particular element and each with different capabilities and strengths. The ongoing attrition of these attacks have reduced humanity from an advanced state of technology to a dark age. The only defense against the core-lings are wards (magical runes) that can be drawn, painted, or inscribed to form protective barriers around human settlements. These are, however, fragile and prone to failure unless properly maintained.

As the novel progresses, the protagonists each embark upon his or her own hero's journey in an effort to save humanity. In writing the tale, Brett was keen to move beyond a simple adventure story, to present a fantasy novel about fear and its impact. He was particularly interested in the effect of fear "causing some to freeze up and others to leap into action."

تاریخ خوانش روز هجدهم ماه مارس سال2020میلادی

عنوان: مرد محروز (محفوظ، نخستین بار عنوان اصلی این کتاب «مرد نقاشی شده» بود)؛ نویسنده پیتر وی برت؛ مترجم فاطمه سعیدی؛ تهران، نشر کتابسرای تندیس‏‫، سال‏‫1398، (1399)؛ در624ص؛ شابک9786001826146؛ فروست: سری شیاطین کتاب اول؛ موضوع داستانهای نوجوانان از نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده21م

پس از غروب خورشید و با تاریک شدن هوا، دوزخیها برمیخیزند، شیاطینی با توانایی ماورائی، که نفرت از انسانها، در وجودشان زبانه میکشد؛ سالهاست که شیاطین، شبها را آکنده از وحشت کرده اند، و آهسته آهسته انسانها را که پناهگاهی جز حصار امن حرزها ندارند، شکار میکنند؛ حرزها، علامتها و طلسمهایی توانمند هستند، که ریشه در افسانه ها دارند، و دیوار حفاظتی آنها به طرز دهشتناکی شکننده است؛ اما همیشه همین گونه نبوده است؛ زمانی مردان و زنانی بوده اند، که در نبردی پایاپای با دوزخیها میجنگیده اند، اما آن روزها سپری شده؛ دوزخیها هر شب توانمندتر از شب پیشین میشوند، در حالیکه شمار انسانها ��ر اثر یورش بی امان دوزخیها کاهش مییابد؛ اکنون که امید به آینده، رو به رنگ باختن است، سه بازمانده ی جوان، از یورش وحشیانه ی شیاطین، از امنیت سست حرزها پای بر بیرون میگذارند، و خطر را به جان میخرند، تا نومیدانه رازهای بگذشته را دریابند...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 28/04/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 28/02/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
719 reviews1,170 followers
March 7, 2018
This review is going to be a hodgepodge – The Warded Man was such an unusual read that no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get my thoughts organized on it. Here goes:

The Warded Man was a mixed bag of emotions for me (and for most of my fellow Fantasy Buddy Reads group on Goodreads). The consensus was that it had a really slow start. Even though I found myself invested as early as Chapter 3, many were struggling even as far in as the halfway point to find their enthusiasm (if they even made it that far). I happen to enjoy slower-paced (or “boring,” as my best friend calls them) books provided all the other elements are there to keep me interested. In that regard, TWM was a success.

I think we were all expecting it to be a straightforward high fantasy novel, but it was anything but conventional. Brett unapologetically broke storytelling rules left and right and it still somehow worked… for me, anyway.

For one thing, the he spent the entire first half of the book establishing character, showing the events that would eventually shape and send them on their long-term trajectory. Initially there was also a ton of focus on family drama, which although interesting, felt inconsequential (even though it ended up playing a big role). There was also no clear inciting “okay, this is where the point of the story is revealed” moment, but rather a collection of smaller ones. The great news is, it did all eventually come together, even though it took its sweet time getting there. What saved it for me was the strong concept revolving around demons and wards.

The demons were definitely the selling point of the novel. I loved learning about the different types, and especially loved that there’s still so much more to learn about them. I have that awesome feeling that not all is as it seems and there are several more surprises in store) Also, the art of warding was a fascinating craft – I always love feeling like I’m learning a non-real-world skill in a book, whether it be ward creation or dragon riding.

Unconventional and slow start aside, there was a touchy incident that happened near the end, the author’s treatment of which put me off a bit. How the characters reacted was plausible, I suppose, but not very realistic. I’m still going to continue on because the author sold its necessity just enough to suit my objections AND there were too many other things I enjoyed about the book to just up and stop now… but it still bugged me.

Overall, I really liked The Warded Man but think it would be very difficult to recommend: “Here, read this. It’ll take you halfway through before things really get going, and even then I had a couple of issues near the end, but I still really, really liked it.” Everything about it is contradictory, but I can say with full conviction that I’m eager for more.

Other books you might like:

The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss
The Lascar's Dagger - Glenda Larke
The Wayfarer Redemption - Sara Douglass
Furies of Calderon - Jim Butcher
Ship of Magic - Robin Hobb

Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.nikihawkes.com
Profile Image for Kyle.
168 reviews58 followers
November 5, 2016

One of the most unique and engrossing novels I have ever read!

The Warded Man tells the story of Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer and how their lives end up intersecting. We meet Arlen and Leesha when they are only eleven and Rojer when he is only four. They live in a world ravished by demons every night. Humans are forced to live behind protective wards or die terrible deaths at the hands of these demons.

I have to admit it was hard to believe the book was over 900 pages long. The pages seemed to fly by as the story unfolded and drew me in. I could not help but become attached to the characters. The idea behind the novel is simple enough but how Peter V. Brett puts it all together is simple amazing. He weaves a story that becomes more and more complex as you read it, until finally, at least for me, it almost becomes real. I couldn't help but feel the fear the characters feel each evening as the sun begins to set and they find themselves rushing to get behind wards to protect themselves from the demons rising as mist from the ground. It is simply a terrifying image that cannot help but raise goosebumps.

Be warned, once you start you will not be able to stop reading it! Definitely a 5 star read!

For my review of the other books in this series, use the links below:

Book Two: The Desert Spear
Book Three: The Daylight War

Profile Image for Zach.
285 reviews266 followers
January 11, 2012
A fantasy (secondary-world or post-apocalyptic Earth isn’t clear, or at least not in the part of the book I read) in which humankind is subject to attack every night by demons that materialize from the ground. At the opening of the book, the only defense people have is to huddle behind magical wards which the demons cannot breach (unless the chalk or whatever is scuffed or something, I don’t know.) Humans cower in their cities or individual farmhouses, and it would be really great if someone learned to, I don’t know, cover their own body with wards, becoming some sort of WARDED MAN, hmm?

No one, I should mention, seems to have thought of having failsafe or layered wards, or maintaining warded roads or safehouses for travellers, or whatever else. Also the demons supposedly rampage about every night and shoot fire everywhere and have done so for 300 years but the opening village, at any rate, is in the middle of an idyllic forest with wildlife and trees and what have you. Again, these failures of logic might be addressed later, I don’t know.

Said village is where we meet our first character, an unsophisticated farm boy (novel!) who is constantly having conversations with everyone around him about how it’s the job of women to bear children and of men to protect the women and children. This was such an over-the-top Eagle Forum-esque understanding of gender politics that I thought for sure that the protagonist would Learn His Lesson once he met some more forward-thinking people (this particularly because the back of the book makes the point that men and women used to fight the demons together).* Then the extraneous and “gritty” sexual violence started and I checked the negative reviews on here and amazon and realized that not only are there are no twists or surprises or intelligent anythings in store for me here but that it gets WORSE than that and so I bid you fair ‘morrow, Mr. Brett.

* Even with all the gender things that he gets wrong, I’m so glad that Steven Erikson at least gets this right, because it’s depressingly rare in the world of fantasy.
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
658 reviews838 followers
June 4, 2022
“Let others determine your worth and you're already lost, because no one wants people worth more than themselves.”

Only The Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy: Review: The Painted Man, by Peter V. Brett

During a second reading of The Warded Man, I wondered whether what was left of humanity was worth saving. It is a world where people are just trying to survive against a common enemy. You might think that would bring out the best in people. Not so much. This survival mentality has spawned a morality that is misogynistic and brutal. Still, despite the discomfort, this book was difficult to put down.

Earlier review:
What readers quickly recognize is that Peter Brett’s The Warded Man (Demon Cycle #1) has the feel of a traditional fantasy epic with something different. Part of that something different has to do with the world Brett has created (which is sort of medieval, but this is a world which has been blasted back to this state from a more modern era by the onslaught of corelings/demons). This is reflected in how each section is dated (AR-After the Return). Through this dating system, we learn that it has been over 300 years since the return of demons which attack every night. Three hundred years has taken a toll. Given the nightly onslaught, it becomes easy to imagine a world where humans are living at the brink of their own existence, and certainly where they are living in a constant state of fear. Wards are the only protection humans have. They huddle in their homes and hope the wards hold for another night. This makes every village and every city feel like it is cut off from the rest of the world and will stand or fall on its own.

Against this backdrop, we have the interweaving stories of the three main characters which make up Peter Brett’s The Warded Man (Arlen, Leesha and Rojer). They are likeable and interesting characters who each have an interesting perspective. As for the antagonists (the demons), we don’t know much. While there are distinct demon types, we don’t know even know why they come out every night. It feels like their attacks are driven by more than hunger, but we only get hints (near the end) that there might be a real motivation as well as some sort of demon culture. I definitely want to learn more!

The Warded Man has all the marks of the beginning of a great series!
4.25 stars.
Profile Image for Dana Ilie.
404 reviews345 followers
January 25, 2019
I was really blown away by this book. I heard about it, especially from Radu my GR friend, but I never actually got around to reading it until now. I’m glad I did. The Warded Man (also called The Painted Man in the UK) did not disappoint. This is the first book in a series, but oh what a delicious book it was.

What stands out about this book is the interesting world portrayed, vicious action, and strong characterization. The world portrayed is a world without hope. Men are reduced to a food source for demons and the will to fight has been lost. It’s a world that’s ripe for a hero.

This book is very action orientated; combines a hell of a lot of action, very good characterization, and interesting world building. There is also a keen sense of anticipation and adventure throughout the novel. If you like books like Rothfuss’ Name of the Wind and Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy, you should find yourself at home in this book. This book is NOT a complex epic fantasy saga in the vein of Song of Ice and Fire, nor is it a turn-fantasy-tropes-on-their-heads like The Blade Itself. This is a more classic fantasy tale, but the world building, magic, and characterization are all top notch.

I found this world so intriguing. Especially the magic (in a way) system. I loved the idea of the Wards. So, each Ward serves a specific purpose. You have some that keep out demons, some that can make demon-fire into harmless air or water, and so on. These wards are painted on walls, on floors, and pretty much everywhere else. I do wish that they have drawings of the wards in the book? In the Kindle version at least, there weren’t any which I though was quite a shame..

The last things I want to say about the world are that I thought the religion was intriguing too, and the different cultures within this country. The religion was intriguing because a sort of holy book does exist, and they have Tenders in small villages to preach and keep a Holy House. I also loved how Arlen challenged it. And the different cultures were intriguing too, especially in Krasia, a desert city.

If you are looking for a book that will keep you up all night, I highly suggest Peter V. Brett’s The Warded Man.
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,257 reviews8,675 followers
September 8, 2017
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

4.5 stars

One of my favorite things about reading fantasy is the brand new worlds.

Writing a good book is an accomplishment by itself, but in fantasy . . . the writer not only has to come up with a good story and good characters, they have to create a new place with new rules, new creatures, new cultures, new everything.

For an escapist reader, like myself, shoddy world-building can ruin an otherwise perfectly good book, but above and beyond fantastical, yet believable new worlds, I crave novelty.

Maybe I haven't encountered the type of world in THE WARDED MAN, b/c I tend to stick to a certain type of fantasy (sword and sorcery, epic, and/or high fantasy), but whatever the case, the blend of the standard pre-industrial age + magic fantasy world and real world demonology . . . was utterly captivating.

Nearly four hundred years ago, demons rose for the first time in three thousand years. The world population was decimated.

Science and technology had made belief in anything not immediately tangible practically obsolete, and if the scientists had not dug out texts cataloging things considered to be make-believe, humanity might have disappeared entirely.

I already love advanced civilizations that have been tossed back into the dark ages b/c HUBRIS, but when the root cause is something supernatural vs. some type of modern self-destruction, so much the better.

SO. Various elemental-type demons: fire, water, rock, wood, wind, etc. rise from the earth every evening as the sun sets, wreaking havoc until sunrise. Houses have stone foundations and tiled roofs covered in glyphs. Wards surround all buildings like a circle of protection, but like any circle of protection, it must be perfectly maintained--any flaw can render the protection useless, and that means a painful death at the claws (and sharp, pointy teeth) of a demon.

And as is often the case, this world is on the edge of a precipice. Things have to change and change drastically if humanity is to avoid extinction, which brings me to our three main characters: Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer. Each has an important role to play, each discovers knowledge vital to the struggle against demons, and their individual journeys toward their inevitable meeting are as fantastic as the world in which they live.

I loved the world, the story, and the characters, but what pushes THE WARDED MAN into the top tier of books I've read is the pertinence.

I can point to really good, really interesting books all day long. But it's when the author manages to unobtrusively weave a message with real world implications that pushes it over the edge to GREAT, and Brett does exactly that . . .

In a book with demons as the major antagonist, it would be easy to get preachy.


It doesn't. Not even a little bit.

Instead you're presented with people and circumstances that encapsulate the hypocrisies of organized religion: rumormongering, pots and kettles, complacency, etc. The MCs confront this kind of small-mindedness while readying the masses for the looming confrontation. Sometimes gently, sometimes not-so-gently, and it's a breath of fresh air. Even if you weren't raised with religion and its subculture shoved down your throat, many of the principles explored are applicable, and, again, unobtrusively approached.

The people of this world are in a steady population decline b/c they've been cowering behind wards, waiting for the "Deliverer" to appear and save them . . . Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer will teach them to get off their butts and save themselves.

Believe me when I say it's worth the read. Highly recommended.

Jessica Signature

My other reviews for this series:

The Desert Spear (Demon Cycle, #2) by Peter V. Brett
The Daylight War (Demon Cycle, #3) by Peter V. Brett
The Skull Throne (Demon Cycle, #4) by Peter V. Brett
Profile Image for Mohadese.
365 reviews944 followers
March 19, 2023
دچار حس خلا بعد از تموم شدن یه کتاب دل‌چسب شدم،
تو این یک هفته به‌اندازه چیزی حدود ۲۰ سال با آرلن و لیشا و راجر زندگی کردم.
فعلا ۵ستاره میدم تا بیام نظراتم رو بگم.
آرلن آهی کشید و گفت: "قبلا آره. الان دیگه نمی‌دونم چی رو باور کنم."

کاب گفت: "به بزرگسالی خوش اومدی. همه‌ی بچه‌ها بالاخره یه روز می‌فهمن که بزرگ‌ترها می‌تونن ضعیف باشن و مثل هرکسی اشتباه کنن. بعد از اون روز، تو هم یه بزرگسالی، چه خوشت بیاد، چه نیاد."

• نوشتن از این کتاب برام کمی سخته، چون قلبم پس از پایان این کتاب پر از شادی، حس غرور و زیبایی ذات انسان‌های خوب و فداکار شده و من نمی‌دونم چطوری باید همه این‌ها رو در قالب کلمات بیان کنم.

مرد محروز روایتی از ۲۰ سال زندگی ۳ شخصیت اصلی‌ کتابه و من به‌عنوان خواننده باهاشون بزرگ شدم، شخصیت‌هایی از مکان‌هایی متفاوت و دیدگاه‌ها و سرگذشت‌های متفاوت اما هدفی مشترک: نجات انسان‌ها
آدم‌هایی که نمی‌خواهند سرنوشت رو بپذیرند و تسلیمش شن و درست همون‌جایی که باید بهم می‌رسند تا منجی بشن.

داستان دنیایی که شب‌ها شیاطین باد و آتش و سنگ و چوب و... از دوزخ بیرون میان تا انسان‌ها رو شکار کنند.
(به نظرم توضیح پشت جلد خیلی خوب و جامع و کافیه)

سیر روایت کتاب رو خیلی دوست داشتم، فکر می‌کنم کتاب در زمره فانتزی‌های شهری هم دسته‌بندی شه. (در واقع فانتزی حماسیه) اوایل کتاب که به کودکی شخصیت‌ها و توضیح کلیات می‌پردازه، خبری جنگ و اتفاقات هیجان انگیز نیست اما شیوه روایی بسیار جذابی داره و توصیفات بسی زنده و قابل لمسه. از بین سه شخصیت کتاب آرلن و لیشا رو بیشتر دوست داشتم، ولی خب چه کنیم که وجود راجر هم لازمه و سرگذشت خاص خودش رو داره.

پایان کتاب هم خیلی مورد علاقه‌م بود! من در حالیکه که با چشمان قلبی و آخی گویان در قلب داشتم می‌خوندم، صفحه رو برگردوندم تا چند جمله پایانی رو بخونم، و همراه با این برگردوندن صفحه نویسنده هم ورق رو بر‌می‌گردونه و خواننده رو با این حس که "لعنتی! من همین الان باید برم سراغ جلد دوم" رها می‌کنه... (حقیقتا اگه پروسه چاپ طول بکشه احتمالا برم زبان اصلی‌شو بخونم. و خب ترجمه خوب بود)

پ.ن۱: این جلد مقدمه مجموعه‌س و همه چیز از جلد دوم شروع میشه.
پ.ن۲: دوست داشتم بیشتر در مورد چگونگی مرد محروز شدن اون عزیز هم بدونم، کاش تو جلدای بعدی در موردش گفته باشه. حدود ۲۰۰ صفحه آخر یکم ریتم تند شد به‌نظرم.

×من نه ویچر رو خوندم نه دیابلو اما میگن کسانی که این مجموعه‌ها رو خوندن این کتابم بخونن.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,908 followers
September 1, 2017
I'm easily super excited about this book and have no reservations about flying through the sequels.


Because we have an immersive epic fantasy world that focuses simply and easily on survival. The world is overrun with demons that pop out of the ground at night and are only held back by drawn or carved wards. Life is hard and harrowing, and if you make a single misstep, you die. The three main characters: Arlen, Leesha, and Rojen, are given delightful treatment in this world, from their childhoods to the heroic adults that they become.

Make no mistake, though, this is an origin story, building step by step to create the fabled Warded Man, the man who can step into armies of demons and decimate them all by himself.

For most of this book, no one comes close to having this ability, but that's the main joy in reading origin stories. We love to see them level up and discover that they're beast. :)

So yeah, I'm happy as hell and very satisfied with everything I've read here. I can almost see Arlen in that old video game Torment, picking up new tattoos that make him super-strong with each new design. Of course, we have to round out our characters, too, to make the final payoff all the more believable, and honestly, I thought it was a blast.

If I was going to complain about anything, however, it would have to be the heavy focus on sex... rather clichéd and black and white with no real growth between extremes. It makes for vivid characters, yes, but definitely not subtle ones, and it's rather interesting to see that in a novel that otherwise has a lot of great and subtle features in the world-building, the magic system, and the main characters themselves.

It's not a dealbreaker by any means, but it did annoy me.

As for the build and the payoff, I absolutely had a fantastic time, though. :)

Total action movie with a mix of kung-fu and demon slaying. :)
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
763 reviews3,490 followers
November 6, 2019
This is a unique writing style that can be compared to Brandon Sanderson, Tad Williams and Jim Butcher, a dark and extremely cool story told with the elements of badassery and stylish magic. The mixture of classic fantasy elements with perfectly, script-like action sequences and new impulses to classic ideas make it an absolute must-read, one of the best fantasy novels I have ever read. It is not just absorbing, it beams one inside the book and excludes reality like just really good stuff can do. A cynical world full of fear and demonic possession, far away from the happy and innocent parts of the fantasy genre.

Tropes show how literature is conceived and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
1 review1 follower
January 24, 2011
Hmmmm... well I get the feeling I'm on my own here given the reviews, but here goes:

The warded man/painted man is set in a kind of alternate future where after the age of science, the world has been thrown back into a dark age, where ancient elemental demons known as "Corelings" have once more risen from the earth to feed upon mankind. Man's only salvation rests in the magical properties of "wards", magical symbols that can be written on homes, and earth to keep the creatures at bay. The story has three protagonists altho it centres mostly on Alren a young boy who's mother is killed in a demon attack and sets out to seek a way to fight the Corelings. Then there's Rojer, a crippled musician who discovers that music itself can be a weapon against the demons, and Leesha, a healer who learns that what can cure can also cause harm. We follow each character from childhood to maturity across a sizeable time span. Although adhering to the traditions of the hero's journey, Brett does a nice job of avoiding the cliches that a lot of epic fantasy books fall into, however the book has many problems that really detract from what would have been an - if not massively original - at least, very enjoyable and entertaining read.

The first and probably worst of these is that Brett's writing is surprisingly amateur and limited, to the point that it actually becomes incredibly intrusive. He uses endless adverbs in his dialogue tags (he said angrily, she said hopefully, etc) as well as an awful lot of "Arlen said", "Leesha returned", "Bruna snapped", "Steve went on", which are really superfluous and distracting. Brett's vocabulary seems noticeably small, resulting in naturally repetitive descriptions and unimaginative prose that fails to evoke any lasting impression. I lost count of the number of times someone's "eyes bulged", someone "gasped" or someone "spat on the floor". Sometimes there's so much spitting and gasping in a conversation that you wonder if Brett has ever observed a real conversation. In fact every time someone hears something they don't like in the world of the Painted man, they lean over to spit somewhere. Women, men, children... I'm surprised that even the corelings didn't flob at things when they couldn't get past a magical ward! I genuinely wondered through the first few chapters whether I was reading a children's book (which would be no bad thing at all), and when the first adult subject matter came up it actually seemed starkly out of place.

The second point, is that it's slow, and boy is it really, painfully slow. You can boil the actual happenings of the first 8 chapters and summarise them on a post-it note, in fact you can even boil down the entire dramatic content of the book and scribble it on an envelope. I find it immensely hard to stick with books that seem so obsessed with 'world building' that they basically end up being nothing more than meticulously crafted settings looking for a story. The Painted man is probably one of the worst offenders for this I've read in a while. Brett writes hundreds of pages of mostly directionless village based drama with characters who exist purely to impart back story directly to the reader. There's the continually inviting questions of the 11 year old Arlen to permit older characters to prattle on endlessly about the world, there's Hogg, the shopkeeper who wastes the best part of a chapter pointing out how village trade works, and the Jongleur, whose sole purpose is to describe some 300 years of history, which he bizzarely and very handily does every year!

I appreciate there's scope, but it's hardly complicated or broad and even if it were, you only have to read something like George Martin's: A Game of Thrones to see how complex historical threads and richly detailed world building can be seemlessly integrated into an unfolding story. Brett always steps way beyond the line of what the reader needs to know at that moment in the tale and what they don't, which cripples pace and really sucks the pleasure to be had out of reading the book. Also Brett always seems to be ahead of his action, often relating exciting or interesting scenes retrospectively through character chatter or paragraphs of narrative. There are great opportunities in the book for hugely dramatic conflicts, excitement, and drama which end up being watered to a trickle and it's so frustrating to read!

The third problem is characterisation. The Warded/Painted Man is populated with characters that are either so one dimensional that it's like being hit over the head with them or so contradictory that they lack any kind of realism. Pretty much without exception, they are the most unsympathetic, downright unlikeable cast of characters I've ever read. I'm still not sure whether this was intentional or just a result of Brett favouring the use of events to drive character, rather than the other way around. Shopkeepers are greedy, mothers are verbally and physically abusive, fathers are cowardly, downtrodden and in one instance even sexually abusive. Wives are harlots and liars, husbands are subservient, young men are reactionary thugs who chop wood and little else, and sexuality itself is regarded with a base disdain that Brett seems to continually impart in lots of really superfluous dialog about "bloodied sheets", "de-flowering", "slapping stomachs", "budding breasts" and endless insults about various things "between legs". In fact his uneccessarily detailed accounts of the the sexuality of young girls and lecheous ways of women is either purile or decidedly uncomfortable, and the entire thing is so utterly pointless in narrative terms that you wonder why any of it had to take up so many pages.

To me great fantasy always has a basis in reality. If you make the characters, families, societies, conflict, troubles etc as human as possible, you'll capture the heart of the reader. At the end of the day fantasy is just a setting, the human condition is universal. It's very tough to care about the characters in the warded man, because they're victims of a poorly constructed story. They have so little of worth fighting for and so little to care about that I found them impossible to connect with. It's that connection that what makes you champion your heroes, understand and fear for them, cheer and love them. The only flashes of such empathy I had, came from much lesser characters and even in some cases, the Corelings themselves. But unfortunately even as the protagonists are pretty basic and unappealing, the antagonists are like clunky blundering monsters from straight out of a computer game.

And this leads to the novel's main theme: The demons. The story basically has little to offer other than this constant threat, which is pretty much the identical device used in the film "The Village". They ring bells to announce the arrival of the night, they paint symbols on things to keep them at bay etc. Obviously there's a more to Brett's interpretation, but because this is the central conflict, it becomes old very quickly and the drama that underpins it is nowhere near enough to cause any kind of page turning excitement. In fact it's pretty much the opposite. And then of course Brett even manages to pretty much ruin the main dramatic twist by the title of the book!

I really desperately wanted to like this book - especially as I heard it's just been optioned for a film - and I thought that from the synopsis it sounded like it could really have something good going on. Clearly for many people it does, but personally it was a real disappointment. I don't think Brett is exclusively to blame here, and I think you have to allow a certain slack to a first time writer. He clearly has some great ideas and some desire for interesting characters but somehow they never really take form in a succinct, dramatic or sympathetic way. It's like there's something good here trying to get out, and with some refinement, reevaluation, or even a restructuring it could well have been, but as it is, this was a really unrewarding chore to read. I think possibly if Brett had envisioned a single story rather than a trilogy (which so many fantasy writers seem so obsessed with) it might have worked better. It actually amazes me that there's a quote from Terry Brooks on the front of the Warded man, when if you read Terry's "sometimes the magic works", Brett seems to be a prime example of all of the writing pitfalls that Terry rebells against! Anyhow, regardless of my disappointment, Brett is clearly onto a very good thing with his demon trilogy and I wish him the best with it. Sadly there was nothing in this novel to make me want to read anything more.
Profile Image for seak.
429 reviews474 followers
March 9, 2012
Not only did it rise above the hype, but the hype looks like an ant from up here. This is traditional fantasy done extremely well and with its own unique elements. The Warded Man (The Painted Man in the UK) is exactly the type of fantasy I love.

Goodreads summary:
As darkness falls each night, the corelings rise - demons who well up from the ground like hellish steam, taking on fearsome form and substance. Sand demons. Wood demons. Wind demons. Flame demons. And gigantic rock demons, the deadliest of all. They possess supernatural strength and powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards - symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and mystery, and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile...
Sounds great so far right?

All of this in a world that's fully realized and well plotted; you're almost afraid to go out at night yourself. Each day I couldn't wait to put my headphones back on and get back into this world where wards are life, where becoming a good warder could save your life and making a mistake could get you killed.

We are introduced early on-ish to three main characters, Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer (hope I got that right - no spelling on the audio for some reason). They live in three separate and distinct places and Brett does a great job showing how each part of the world deals with the problem of the corelings. Some tend to ignore them until problems occur. The smaller hamlets are constantly being attacked. But, almost everyone is on the defense and almost no one fights back.

Arlen is sick of living in fear and his dream is to become a messenger, one who braves the night while traveling in between the cities and towns to deliver well, messages, along with trade goods. This dream is only spurred by Arlen's cowardly father who's always taught Arlen to run and hide.

I thought Brett did a great job using traditional epic fantasy elements to create his own unique world. Of course there's a prophecy and a boy from nowhere who goes through a huge change, but the end result is unexpected. I was also entranced with the magic of the wards, which was very unlike traditional magic in fantasy and made for some great action especially toward the end.

When Should You Read The Warded Man?

This is the perfect page turner (at least I assume - should I say track turner?). It's full of action and really sucks you into a wonderfully imagined world full of danger and hope. I loved every bit of it, so I can recommend it for anywhere at anytime...but especially if you're in the mood for that great traditional feeling.

5 out of 5 Stars (Yup, that just happened)
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,892 reviews10.5k followers
March 10, 2011
Three survivors of demon attacks spend their younger years learning to fight the corelings in their own ways. Rojer becomes a Jongleur, a wandering minstrel whose fiddle playing can ward off the demon's attack. Leesha becomes a healer and herb gatherer. And Arlen walks the path of a Messenger. At least at first...

Wow. I have to admit I wasn't expecting a whole lot with this book. Fantasy in a pseudo-European setting? Yawn city. Imagine my delight when the book proved to be a breath of fresh air in the stagnating fantasy genre. Demons rising from the core of the planet every night, killing anyone who isn't behind protective wards? Great stuff.

The Warded Man follows the lives of three young characters, switching viewpoints quite often. All three are well drawn. Arlen's anger at his mother's death and his father's cowardice are believably done, as are his later obsessions. Leesha's fear of opening up to people because of the way her mother treated her and Rojer's insecurities about his missing fingers are likewise well done.

While most of the towns depicted were standard fantasy pseudo-Europe, I did enjoy Krasia, Brett's version of the Middle East. The Krasian's attitudes toward fighting the corelings was a nice contrast to everyone else's.

Things really took off in the last third of the book. The Warded Man of the title is a very interesting character, so much more three dimensional than most fantasy heroes. Tattooed, angry, and eating demon flesh. The way the three main characters came together was well done and not contrived.

If you are looking for fantasy with a different flavor, give this a shot.
Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
673 reviews593 followers
December 7, 2017
There's nothing I love more in a book than when it exceeds my expectations, and this book did just that. This book has it all, a great plot, amazing characters, good writing, religion, sexism action,magic you name it. The author created a whole new world that is broken and on a brink of being destroyed by demons. As much as I love this book, I have a few issues with it, I feel like some things were unnecessary because it adds nothing to the plot whatsoever. This book is not predictable at all, most of the things that happened were jaw dropping.

World building and Writing
That world building is everything, I love the world save for the demons that rule the night. All the locations in this book are amazingly depicted, Since the MCs didn't meet till like 80% of the book and tend to travel a lot, the book has lots of different locations that is perfectly incorporated in the story.
This book is so well written and the author didn't use contemporary terms that tend to ruin some epic fantasy for me, He use old words and made up ones to tell the story. The book is easily comprehensible and lack unnecessary repetitions. The story is told in the third person multiple POV of Arlen,Leesha and Rojer.

This is the only book so far that none of the character's POV didn't annoy me, I was happy to read about them all, was even more glad when they met. I still can't picked a favourite from the MCs. The book started with them all as kids, so there is a lot of information about them growing up and how and why they ended up the way they did.

Arlen He was 11 when the book started and 25 when it ended , so there is basically nothing I don't know about him, I didn't agree with all his decisions but totally understood his reasons. I'm still shocked by how he turned up, like I so do not like what the obsession is turning him into.. He has always been quiet and dedicated, some of the reasons I love him. Arlen is a warder( a person that draw wards that prevent demons from entering people's houses to eat them) and a messenger, a cross between emissary,post man and merchant.

Leesha was 13 when it started and 27 when the book ended. I really love her, she is a feminist and refuse to be just a housewife despite pressures from people especially her mother. Leesha is a herb gatherer, and can cure basically everything, even demon inflicted injuries and fever, A herb gatherer is very important given that demons hunt and eat people at night.

Rojer the youngest in the group, only 17 years old, he was 3 when the book started. He became a jongleur, a sort of entertainer and storyteller/musician. I really like that he is super kind and loyal to Arrick, that sort of thing is rare, His character has the least chapters in the book, hopefully the author will rectify that cause I want more Rojer. I just find the fact that he lies about his age funny.

“Myths have power,” Rojer said. “Don’t be so quick to dismiss them.”
“Since when are you a man of faith?” Leesha asked.
“I believe in hope,” Rojer said. “I’ve been a Jongleur all my life, and if I’ve learned one thing in twenty-three years, it’s that the stories people cry for, the ones that stay with them, are the ones that offer hope.”
“Twenty,” Leesha said suddenly.
“You told me you were twenty.”
“Did I?”
“You’re not even that, are you?” she asked.
“I am!” Rojer insisted.
“I’m not stupid, Rojer,” Leesha said. “I’ve not known you three months, and you’ve grown an inch in that time. No twenty-year-old does that. What are you? Sixteen?”
“Seventeen,” Rojer snarled.

This is the first book totally about demon hunting people and not the other way around,I love the way the author portrayed it so much. The people of Thessa has being hunted by demons of different species that comes from the ground as soon as night falls for 300 years now and the only thing keeping them from annihilating humanity is the wards that is drawn on houses to keep them out, even that fails sometimes when it wears out. So far nothing can kill them, the wards that could kill them got lost in time as humans thought they defeated them some millennias ago before the demons made a major comeback. With humanity at the brink of annihilation, the warders search for the old wards to kill the demons, the herb gatherers brew herbs that can hurt them and
April 19, 2011
At times, I believe that humanity is doomed to destroy itself. Actually, I feel that way a lot, although it saddens me. Which is why I prefer reading fiction that is hopeful, or with humans triumphing over the destructive forces within them or around them. Tales in which the monster of the story is a fantastical beast of the inhuman variety, defeatable, even if it requires cost and sacrifice on the part of people.

I couldn’t even imagine living in a world in which every night, demons take over, and prey on humans. Fear becomes the primary motivation. One’s life is lived around the rising and setting of the sun. The only thing that protects humans from the demons is the wards, which must be assiduously maintained. That is the existence of the characters in this book, and it affects them all in different ways. Surprisingly, despite this ever-present menace, people still manage to have their own little dramas, squabbles, and tendencies to treat each other poorly. You would think that human spirit would triumph in these dark circumstances? Not so much. Or maybe it does. You’d have to stay tuned to see.

The Warded Man focuses on three main characters: Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer. Both Arlen and Rojer lost their mothers to the demons, their lives and futures shaped by these ugly experiences. Leesha’s mother is like her own personal monster. She’s harsh, cruel, amoral, selfish, and scheming. Leesha has vowed to be nothing like her. She finds a calling as the apprentice to the Herb Gatherer (the healer of all diseases and wounds) in her town, a way to find meaning in her life, other than being wife to the man who told lies on her and ruined her trust and her reputation along with it. Her decision to work with Bruna, the ancient Herb Gatherer for her little town, will lead her onto a path that intercepts with Arlen and Rojer’s path, and it won’t be an easy journey for any of these three people.

Although this story started out slow, and I was dismayed at depictions of human nature at its worst, ultimately I was vanquished by this engrossing story. It was a slow conquest initially. I found myself wanting to keep reading, and after a while, I couldn’t stop reading. The demons were very scary, and their attacks on the humans downright horrific. The sense of entrapment, fear, and the lack of options in the face of a supernatural threat that seems unbeatable really got to me. I wanted to see someone find an answer. I wanted someone to step forward and to find a way to prevail against the demons.

People have been waiting for the Deliverer to come back to protect them from the demons. Will the Deliverer come, or will the people have to save themselves? This story might be about demons on the surface, but deep down, the real theme of The Warded Man is the everyday sort of courage. The courage that keeps a person going without losing hope, and giving in to the darkness. A very important lesson that this book taught me is that the hero is within you. You can’t always wait on someone else to save you. You have to save yourself. And once you’re ready to do that, you might find that you can help others to do the same for themselves and for those who are in need of help and who truly are incapable of fighting for themselves.

This could have easily been a loss for me had the story been written differently. Bloodthirsty demons preying and always destroying people, seeing the good guys never win, doomed to continually destroy themselves and each other, and unable to triumph over the obstacles that they fight against, has no appeal to me. But seeing people fight back, taking back the night and renouncing the power that fear can hold over a person, now that interests me.

And I have to admit, the Warded Man was absolutely cool as all get out. He was a total bad*ss, a man who created himself from scratch, and wears the scars to show for it. Together with Leesha, and Rojer, they make an awesome team. If I ever had to fight demons, I will call them in for my reinforcements. They are my kind of demon hunters. This story inspires me to fight my own demons in my everyday life. And that’s the kind of hopeful message I need right now.

Profile Image for Kat M.
28 reviews2 followers
January 4, 2015
Not great writing, poor characterization, poor pacing, and gratuitous gang rape. If you're going to have the only notable female in your novel get raped, make her trauma last more than 2 paragraphs. Her rape did nothing to further the story and about 5 minutes later she's chomping at the bit to have sex with the protagonist. Peter V. Brett made a big deal about how Leesha was a virgin well into her twenties, then she gets gang raped, then after a brief period (a day? two days?) of feeling like she wants to die, suddenly she cheers up and unsuccessfully tries to bone the main character. That doesn't work out because of HIS hang ups. WTF?

If you, as an author, decide to go down the rape road it has to meet at least one of two very basic criteria: 1. it furthers the plot, aids world building, or adds to characterization in a way that only rape could, 2. you write it with sensitivity. If this event resulted in a transformed Leesha, I'd understand why rape had to be used (instead of say, her being beaten). But getting raped just made Leesha horny. Rape is not a light, simple plot device. Gang rape is even worse. Why do I have to explain this?

I'd give it a solid 2.5 stars if it weren't for the rape nonsense.
Profile Image for Terence.
1,107 reviews345 followers
December 26, 2015
Welcome to a world where every person knows what time the sun sets. Sure it's partially because when the sun sets is quitting time, but it's mainly because people are trying to avoid being torn to shreds. When the sun goes down evil literally comes out. Some call them corelings others call them alagai, but their name doesn't matter when they come out. All that matters is being behind the wards, well that and making sure the wards are fresh and clearly drawn. In this insane world three survivors of demon attacks stand up to fight back against their seemingly indestructible enemy.

The Warded Man was an outstanding surprise for me. I read the premise and thought it sounded promising, but I didn't intend to fall in love with it. This book captured my imagination and left my heart thumping every time someone stepped outside their wards. I read late into the night and ignored all sorts of responsibilities to read The Warded Man.

The book focuses on three protagonists Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer. We meet them all as children and watch their exploits as they grow into adulthood. Arlen is a fierce young son of a farmer who wants to see the world and is willing to fight the demons to do it. Arlen is also such a strong warder that his father trusts him with the families wards. Maybe it doesn't sound like much, but if a family's wards fail the family dies in a gruesome manner so his the trust in Arlen is significant. Leesha and Rojer's stories unfold a bit more slowly, but they are each incredibly important.

The world of The Warded Man is one in which demons have stalked the night for hundreds of years. The flashes of light and horrible sounds of demons slashing at wards are as common a sound as owls and crickets are for us. All the free cities except Fort Krasia have given up fighting against the demons and the people huddle behind their warded homes to wait out the night...every night of their lives.

I could ramble on for days talking about The Warded Man, but I'll just say it's an astonishing debut novel for author Peter V. Brett. I've already lost count how many times I've read this book.

My original review
Profile Image for Orient.
255 reviews207 followers
July 15, 2017

This book turned my attention after reading a great review of Gavin :) I’ll try and put my incoherent rambling to match at least 1% of his great review.

My journey started when the author led me into the world of monsters that rise in the night and attack humans who hide behind wards, fascinating old times with herb-gatherers, jongleurs and messengers, who are the only ones who dare to travel far despite danger to bring messages and goods for exchange. Interesting for sure! And the symbols in the beginning of the chapters, I loved them, so interesting and unique :)

However, for some reasons, I’ll mention soon, the book is a strange blend of fun interesting world and some fuzzy stuff.

The ordinary life of ordinary people was described in a great, interesting way, I could imagine the small villages, the bigger towns, with their own traditions, culture, guilds, governing system and people. That’s cool as I’m more a character driven reader and worldbuilding goes on the second place to me when I read a book, worldbuilding rarely gets praises from me. Though, I must confess, I had some issues with it in this book. I mean religion. It vaguely reminded me of , but it wasn’t clear, more in the shadows and that’s not very good as the legends in the book are based on it. I hope I’ll get more information on that in further books. Also I needed more info on wards and monsters, maybe an additional glance into the world of monsters (), some going back a century to see how the wards were created (there was a small sneak peek, but I was a bit disappointed that the further explanations ended with it).

Now, my most awaited part. Characters. This book is a journey of three protagonists, who discover their roles in life, though being different personalities with different POVs, but they all understand: to live, means to fight.

The main character and the main reason for this book is a difficult person. I liked the way he traveled to reach his goal, not always accepting his decisions (), but the outcome, wow. He’s a character I can def root for. His transformation was expected and I was so eager to dive into it with him, but for some reason the author skipped this. Dang it!

I enjoyed his sidekick a lot, too. His back story, his development, extraordinary skills and down to earth character really charmed me. Woot for Halfgrip! :)

My most awaited characters, kick-ass heroines! But the thing what concerns me is the way women are portrayed. If I’m correct and the author tried to fit the cliché of the masculine power world, it’s clear why some kind a

To sum up, I expected a lot more from this book as it’s a starter for the series. It is a good book with interesting worldbuilding, peculiar characters and cool action scenes with monsters. I really liked the fighting scenes and how gripping they were. But also it has some holes that need to be filled, hope the next books provide that.

Profile Image for colleen the convivial curmudgeon.
1,155 reviews286 followers
July 11, 2010
I don't have much to say for this book. I thought the premise was interesting, but there was something about the execution that just didn't grab me. Like Sandi, I found it pretty preditcable and straightforward. Unlike Sandi, I didn't connect with the characters enough for me not to care.

The characters I did like the most were secondary - Bruna, Ragan and Elissa, Master Cox - but after they fill their roll to the main characters, we don't see them anymore. This is has it 'should be', as it were, for it's not their story, but a bit of a disappointment when I enjoyed them so much more than the leads.

I think one of my problems is that there are so many plot elements which felt forced - things that seemed over-the-top, like they wouldn't happen, or happen so obviously 'in real life', and that they were overly dramatic here to make a point. I'm being vague to avoid spoilers - but the whole of Elona is one part, and the part with Arlen and his dad when they needed succor for the night, are good examples.

I was annoyed by the constant references to the fact that the only role women are really important for is child bearing. I understand that this is a world where people are more scarce than our own, but I got really, really tired of it - especially the fact that no one ever really challenged the notion.

And I didn't buy Leesha's reactions towards the end, after their attack on the road. She seemed less of a real person in that whole last section - like as soon as she got on the road with the men. Another reviewer said that Brett just doesn't seem to get women, and maybe that person is right.

**ok, some small spoilers - though it's really not a spoiler since it's obvious from the first page**

Arlen also became much less interesting as soon as he became the Warded Man. I usually like action scenes, but I got tired of the repetitiveness of them. It was like every fight went the same route - he'd get hurt, be on his last reserves, and then turn the tides and win. It's like every bad 80s action movie. It's the 'Harry Dresden' complex. It can be fun, sometimes, if well written - but I started glossing over the fight scenes, which is rare for me.

** end spoilers **

Rojer didn't really do much for me at all. Maybe the music thing reminded me too much of Kvothe? *smirks*

Anyway - as I said in a status - as I was reading it, I didn't mind it. There were parts that annoyed me, as above, but it was written well enough to keep the story moving along (except, at the end, it jumped time oddly (I mean, it jumps all over the place, but the end was particularly old) and then after spending a lot of time setting things up, it just all end too quickly. There should've been more to the battle at the end. The way that it was presented, there was little to no emotional impact at what was happening.)

But when I wasn't reading it, I wasn't looking forward to my reading time. While I didn't loathe the thought of picking it back up, I didn't relish it, either... so it can't really get more than 2 or so stars.

(I guess I had more to say than I thought... Perhaps it would've been better if I remained brief. *laughs wryly*)

I'm glad that this story is mostly a stand alone - or, at least, that enough is tied up that I don't feel like I have to read the next if I don't want to. I haven't decided, yet, whether I want to or not.
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