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The Demon Cycle #2

The Desert Spear

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The sun is setting on humanity. The night now belongs to voracious demons that prey upon a dwindling population forced to cower behind half-forgotten symbols of power.

Legends tell of a Deliverer: a general who once bound all mankind into a single force that defeated the demons. But is the return of the Deliverer just another myth? Perhaps not.

Out of the desert rides Ahmann Jardir, who has forged the desert tribes into a demon-killing army. He has proclaimed himself Shar'Dama Ka, the Deliverer, and he carries ancient weapons--a spear and a crown--that give credence to his claim.

But the Northerners claim their own Deliverer: the Warded Man, a dark, forbidding figure.

Once, the Shar'Dama Ka and the Warded Man were friends. Now they are fierce adversaries. Yet as old allegiances are tested and fresh alliances forged, all are unaware of the appearance of a new breed of demon, more intelligent—and deadly—than any that have come before.

579 pages, Hardcover

First published March 27, 2010

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About the author

Peter V. Brett

98 books11.8k followers
Peter V. Brett is the internationally bestselling author of the Demon Cycle series, which has sold over four million copies in 27 languages worldwide. Novels include The Warded Man, The Desert Spear, The Daylight War, The Skull Throne, and The Core. Other works include the Red Sonja: Unchained graphic novel and the Demon Cycle novellas The Great Bazaar, Brayan's Gold, Messenger's Legacy, and Barren. The Desert Prince, the first installment of his Nightfall Saga, published in August 2021. The sequel, The Hidden Queen, is due early 2024. He lives in Brooklyn.

Twitter: www.twitter.com/PVBrett
Instagram: https://instagram.com/pvbrett/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PVBrett/
TikTok: @PVBrett

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Profile Image for mark monday.
1,678 reviews5,253 followers
May 13, 2019
Someone at the door: "Knock Knock!"

Peter V. Brett: "Who's there?"

Someone at the door: "Rape!"

Peter V. Brett: "Come on in Rape! You know you're always welcome in my house. Take a seat next to my other favorite tropes, Muslim Fanatic and Incest Farmer and Slutty Bitch and of course Tragic Backstory. They all love Rape too, almost as much as I do!"

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pages 1-210: central character Jardir is reintroduced; he trains as a warrior, undergoes many painful trials and tribulations, achieves much honor, after much scheming and many deaths unites his nation under his rule, decides to conquer the known world in his quest to fight a holy war against demons, always beset by antagonists left and right. it's tough being a guy with problems!

page 213: central character Leesha is reintroduced; she complains about her mom who is nagging her about turning into a spinster and then frets about a crush a boy has on her. it's tough being a gal with problems!

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okay, I gotta get this yoke off my neck, I give up. so many cardboard characters and so many boring, predictable scenes. that feeling of running in place. the repulsive and stereotypical depiction of Middle Eastern culture including some of the most grindingly repetitious dialogue I've ever had the displeasure of reading. no depth, no nuance, no style. the sheer bloat of it all. Once Upon A Time the author wrote a sharp, no frills, high thrills, high concept but in a good way fantasy novel (and a couple short stories). it had its issues, mainly in its depiction of women. but overall it knew what it was doing. but then that author tried to focus on building his world and deepening his characters, usually laudable goals. unfortunately, what really came into focus was his flaws and biases.
Profile Image for Petrik.
688 reviews46.1k followers
March 11, 2021
The Desert Spear is a totally different kind of sequel from what I expected after my experience with The Warded Man, luckily, still in a good way.

Anyone who has read this book will know that there’s no way I’m not starting this review without talking about Jardir’s POV. Brett really took a risk with his storytelling direction here. Most authors—unless it’s a standalone series—almost always continue their sequels from the POV of the previous main characters; could be immediately or years after what happened in the previous book. Brett instead did a polar opposite by introducing a new coming of age story for Jardir, a character that was briefly seen in The Warded Man.

Picture: Jardir in the French edition cover by Miguel Coimbra

Honestly, I enjoyed reading a lot of part on Jardir’s background; it provides a lot of depth to his character and most of all, his eventual importance in the main story that really required an in depth exploration of his personality. Plus, his POV also expanded the world-building of the series by giving detailed information on the city of Krasia’s (The Desert Spear) culture and its citizen’s way of living. From sharusahk (Krasian martial art) that has the touch of aikido or judo, to their Medieval Eastern inspired culture, and to their faith which totally resembled extreme Muslim, I found all of them unique and intriguing to read in a high fantasy series. Do note that I said unique and intriguing to read, it doesn’t mean I completely loved it because their culture is highly misogynistic; the people of Krasia treated anyone who isn’t a man or a warrior really harshly, either by enslaving or raping (both gender) them repeatedly. It’s even written in their law to follow this tradition and I found it incredibly hard to empathize with the citizens and kept on wishing for them to die.

Picture: The warrior of Krasia vs the Demons by Sassar

Another problem that I had with Jardir’s POV, it’s too long, seriously, way too long. Jardir’s POV surmounted to a total of 200+ pages of the book, that’s more or less around 30% of the whole book, without any break from the start. This means that we won’t see the previous main characters POV for quite a while. In my opinion, there were quite a lot of parts that could be cut down to improve the quality of the pacing, or even better, mixed Jardir’s POV with the other characters instead of doing it in a full burst.

Once Jardir’s history came to an end, the rest of the book was a smooth sailing for me. Brett’s characterization towards his characters remained his main strength as an author and I thoroughly love reading the developments of almost all the previous characters, except Leesha which has become incredibly stupid and naïve in my opinion, especially with her attitude towards forgiving rapist.

Unlike the previous book where we only have three POV to follow, we now have eight. This is a great change because it gave more complexity and voices to the story. Arlen’s and Renna’s POV were definitely my favorite storyline of the book. Reading Arlen’s poignant contemplation on his decisions and what he has sacrificed in order to gain his power; Renna’s rise to independence—despite all the injustice that she faced—is something that I can’t get enough of. Not to mention, there’s a new POV from the perspective of the Demons that made the story and the upcoming sequels more interesting.

Picture: Mimic and Mind Demon by Dominik Broniek

As a reader, in the books I read, I’m immune to all the things I’m going to mention soon, they don’t bother me. However, as a reviewer, I must state all the trigger warnings that could be disturbing for some readers to read, here it goes. This book contained sodomy, heavy parental abuse, forced incest, plenty of rape and as I mentioned before, misogynistic attitudes; these are all necessary for the story Brett is trying to tell and the characters developments, but I want you to know that these scenes are here when you decided to read this book.

In the end, surprisingly I still think of The Desert Spear as a great sequel despite some of the problems I had with it. There’s simply no doubt that I enjoyed reading it; this is due to Brett’s improvement in his prose which never fails to engage me even when some of the character's decision can be quite infuriating to read. Although inferior compared to The Warded Man, The Desert Spear is still a solid installment in the Demon Cycle series and I can’t wait to read the continuation to these characters story.

You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest
Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 65 books233k followers
February 10, 2010
Good Stuff. Brett's series continues to surprise me. I like books that don't go in the direction I expect them too while still providing an interesting story.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,536 reviews9,963 followers
October 22, 2018
I loved it and I'm so glad! There are so many mixed reviews, although, I'm trying to stay away from those and decide things for myself.

I did enjoy the back story of Jardir and Abban, but I was glad to get back to the peeps I love the most; Arlen, Renna etc!

I hope I love all of the books but we shall see!

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,261 reviews8,752 followers
September 8, 2017
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads


Second Book Syndrome . . . thy name is THE DESERT SPEAR.


I had a lot of issues with this book. A lot, a lot.

The first third of the book is told from an entirely new POV. By itself, that would've made me cranky, b/c, yeah, I get that Jardir is important, but I missed the old POVs. The POVs who won me over in the first place.

In addition to being stuck with Jardir, the section didn't keep to a timeline. The chapters jump chaotically to the present from various points in Jardir's life, beginning at age nine when he is tossed into warrior training early b/c depleted ranks, ending, once again, in the present. Several times I didn't realize we'd jumped forward for several paragraphs, not catching on until something happened to make Jardir's change in status evident.

ALSO, the vocabulary was confusing and hard to track. Too many prefixes and suffixes combined with too many (and similar) base words. Every character could be called half a dozen names/titles. Understanding who was who and in what context was a task that constantly tore my focus away from the plot, and I was successful only a fraction of the time. What that fraction was . . . I'm still not sure. I just plodded along.

There was also a dramatic increase in sexual violence.

Anytime I read fantasy, especially epic fantasy, with various people groups, some of them inevitably barbarian, I'm prepared for that which happens in war: graphic violence, wanton destruction of property and resources, etc.

Different authors handle the subject matter different ways, but as ugly as it is, I'm usually more tolerant b/c "raping and pillaging" go hand-in-hand historically, and I can't fault someone for being realistic.

BUT. There is a limit.

Book 1 was difficult for me, b/c realistic or not, I don't like or want to read about women as "spoils of war." Even without war, I know that rape and sexual abuse happen everyday. Doesn't mean I want to read about it for fun. So book 1 was occasionally uncomfortable.

This time, however . . .

In the book, Leesha worries about Gared's new roll as a leader:

"The Cutters follow Gared without question, but does he lead them in defense of the Hollow, or out of love of carnage?”

And I can't help but wonder the same thing about Brett. Speculation aside, enough is enough. This went so far past realism, I'm surprised I didn't just DNF it. I guess I held on b/c I was so impressed with THE WARDED MAN that I kept reading "to get to the good part."

But even after the horror and violence, there was. So. Much. Drama.

All the boys love Leesha, and all the girls love Arlen, but Leesha and Arlen love each other, but they can't be together b/c reasons, BUT Leesha and Arlen are also strongly attracted to at least one of their other interested parties, and then the political implications of alliances with other interested parties come into play and . . . Oh. My. GAWD.

Traditionally girls are the ones thought to be drama queens, but there are guys who could make the the biggest female drama queen I know look rational and pragmatic, and I'm beginning to suspect that this guy could give them ALL a run for their money. That thing at the very end? If you've read it, you know what I'm talking about. Not only was it OTT drama, but it felt like a huge ripoff of THE WAYFARER REDEMPTION by Sara Douglass: I felt like I'd been deliberately led astray, but ultimately the switcheroo was warranted. This time . . . not so much.

SO. Not a stellar followup to the stellar beginning. Introducing new POVs is important, but the way this was written was almost like tacking a separate novella onto the beginning of the actual book. Add to that the confusing terminology, the escalation in graphic sexual abuse, and the dramallama, and, well . . . I'm not sure whether I should call THE DESERT SPEAR a mulligan or THE WARDED MAN beginner's luck. Next on the dock is #3, so I guess we'll see . . .

Jessica Signature

My other reviews for this series:

The Warded Man (Demon Cycle, #1) 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 Anton.
90 reviews75 followers
May 17, 2010
The Warded Man was a pretty good debut, but this sequel just didn't live up to my expectations and left a bad taste in my mouth.
To be honest, the story is pretty good and could be developed quite well. However, the negatives for me far outweighed the positives:

1) The structure was just off. I almost stopped reading after the first 100 pages. Brett spends a quarter of the book presenting Jardir's backstory. It just feels out of place and unnecessary.
2) Sex, sex, and more sex. Everyone is doing it or talks about doing it in every other paragraph, slipping into some strange ren fair-esque jargon when they mention anything about female anatomy and sex. There is also some strange preoccupation with rape and incest. It seems like every other character gets raped. I understand he wants to create a picture of a very grim, back-to-medieval-times world, but it's just too much.
3) A number of reviewers mentioned this last point, and I have to agree. The women are pretty much all horrible. They all either sleep with everybody in order to gain control, or they blame other women for getting raped, or seem to lose their mind and moon over the nearest 'handsome' guy. By all means, write some evil female characters, but they can't all be manipulating hussies.
Profile Image for Dana Ilie.
404 reviews351 followers
January 30, 2019
Surprisingly, I think I'm the only one that loved The Desert Spear more than The Warded Man, if that it's possible.

It would have been easy for the author to continue the second novel on the heels of the first, and continue the narrative, intercut between his point of view characters as he did the first. Arlen, Rojer and Leesha provide three interesting, and different perspectives. However, redounding to his credit, Brett decides to expand the field by “promoting” a couple of characters to full point of view status, primarily Jardir of Kresia. In contrast to the back and forth cutting between Arlen, Rojer and Leesha in the first novel, seeing how they rise to adulthood and prominence, but The Desert Spear takes a very different approach with Jardir.

A good third of the early part of the novel is a single shot look at Jardir, bringing him from youth to his current position and rank. I loved the backstory of Jardir and discovered him with another eyes. Not coincidentally, this also allows us to get a view of Krasia culture and society from the inside, and we get a much more rounded view of it, and some of the characters we briefly glimpsed in Arlen’s visit there in The Warded Man. In particular, Inevera, who becomes Jardir’s first and primary wife, leaps off of the page as an interesting person.

One unusual innovation in the novel, though, is getting a POV from the enemy, and I so love this kind of POV's.... We get into the mind, as it were, of a Demon Prince who is extremely curious as to what Arlen has been doing, what he has learned, and his efforts against the Coreling forces. This point of view gives us a new window into the conflict. We also get to see new kinds and new subvarieties of corelings.

Overall, shows that Brett is not a one-trick pony, and is willing to try new things, and develop and grow as a writer rather than rewriting books in the same way every time. This suggests good things in store for readers of the subsequent novels in the Demon Cycle.
Profile Image for Nataliya.
785 reviews12.5k followers
April 27, 2023
Unexpected! From page one, this book has sped up in the direction so very different from what I anticipated after finishing The Warded Man. Result = WHIPLASH! Which is fun, by the way.

(From Peter Brett's site, the gorgeous illustrations for the Polish edition of this book. Absolutely beautiful!)

We get a full 180 degrees turn on the atmosphere of this world. Suddenly the corelings go from being the overwhelming menace of the night to little more than a nuisance - WHIPLASH! (Well, at least until we get a better taste of the Coreling Prince, but at this point that's more of a faint promise of the future threat). Instead, this book focuses on the people. And this change of direction works.

Jardir suddenly goes from the evil backstabbing bastard to a Unifier (per Coreling Prince) with a strong feeling of honor and purpose, and his evil is not as much evil as a very different belief system from that of Arlen. WHIPLASH! Is he a likeable villain or a misjudged good guy? Still not sure. Oh, and nice insight into Krasia and Krasians - good backpedaling from borderline xenophobia of the first book. I respect them quite a bit, even if I don't quite love them.
“Don’t hate the Krasians,” Arlen said, and then paused. “Not all of them, anyway. But their way of life, making slaves of everyone who ent a man and a warrior… it ent right. ’Specially not forced on Thesans at the end of a spear.”

I missed Arlen of the first novel. In this book he is way more brooding and self-hating - and yeah, he has his reasons for that. But hopefully Renna will help him get over the depressive period. Speaking of Renna... (oh hi, Renna! *waving happily* We missed you for several hundred pages!) I love what you are becoming, but you're getting there so fast and kinda out of nowhere that all I can say is WHIPLASH!

Leesha! (Did I mention how much I adore Leesha?) Leesha goes from a capable leader and awesome healer to TRIPLE BADASS with skills that almost rival those of Arlen. All in a super-short time. Sorta whiplash. But I love Leesha, and so that's cool, Mr. Brett.

Overall, Desert Spear is an enjoyable book that takes a sharp turn from its predecessor and delivers an interesting story full of great characters. It sets up the stage for future confrontation between the Core and two potential Deliverers very well, and I am sure that nothing will play out the way I expect it. Desert Spear has its drawbacks, but it delivers such fun reading experience that I am gladly willing to overlook its flaws. And so the wait for The Daylight War begins.
Profile Image for Kyle.
168 reviews59 followers
August 7, 2016

Not as good as the first book in the series but I still enjoyed it.

In The Warded Man, the first book in the series, the plot revolves mostly around Arlen who eventually becomes the Warded Man, or in the second book, the Painted Man. I really found myself relating to that character and hoped that The Desert Spear would continue that storyline. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The first half of the book concentrates on Ahmann Jardir, the character that betrayed Arlen and stole his magic spear in the first book. Jardir has now proclaimed himself the Deliverer and has moved to attack the communities to the north. All this is done in an effort to unite everyone against the demons.

My favorite characters from the first book, Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer still play a big part but it took a lot of reading to get to their characters. I think a lot of people were disappointed in the second book and I think that is why. You fall in love with characters and learn to hate others. When you pick up a sequel and have to spend half the time reading about one of the characters you learned to hate it's really not a pleasant process.

I have to give the author credit for a very complex and engrossing story. Even though Jardir is a character I dislike, you have to respect what he stands for. I just really hope that in book three Arlen kicks his ass. :)

Push through the first half of the book and the last half makes it worth reading.

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

Book One: The Warded Man
Book Three: The Daylight War

Profile Image for Gavin.
886 reviews398 followers
May 29, 2017
This is a super tough book to review because I still managed to enjoy it despite the fact that I hated a lot of things about it. The biggest plus for this series is Brett's writing style. I just find it super engaging. It is easy to get caught up in the happenings even when they are driving you mad!

The worst bit of this second Demon Cycle instalment was that the first third of the book was told from an entirely new POV. That was a problem as the new POV character, Jardir, is super unlikeable. After the events at the end of The Warded Man Jardir has proclaimed himself the Deliverer and has united the Krasians and sets about the Daylight War. He seeks to subjugate all of humanity before he turns the combined force on the demons! A lot of his story was actually flashbacks to his life as a child and his rise to the position he found himself in when Arlen met him in The Warded Man. I found this a real struggle early on as Jardir and the Krasians are total scum. I need someone to root for in a story like this! I did eventually get sucked into Jardir's tale but my early lack of enthusiasm for it has definitely cost this book a star in the ratings.

Luckily the last two thirds of the book bounced between character POV's and was a lot more enjoyable. We got some more Krasians like Jardir and Abban but we also got the stars of the first book Arlen, Rojer, and Leesha. Then we got a few new POV's like Rena and a new demon! Pretty much all the characters had interesting and engaging story arcs but the only characters I really felt had good books were Arlen, Leesha and Rena and even they had their annoying moments. No wonder this series reminds me of a dark WoT so much!

My biggest moan about The Desert Spear is the fact that I felt like Brett was trying to make the reader sympathize with Jardir and the Krasians in general. The whole lot of them are bigoted, murderous, rapists! The only thing I'm hoping for when they are around is that everyone gets cored by the demons!

My second biggest moan is the the general misogyny that taints the series. Any scene involving sex or Brett's version of "romance" is totally cringeworthy. If it is not the books main POV character lamenting the fact that some annoying religious law forbids him from beating and raping his main wife whenever the mood takes him it is another character blaming herself for nearly being raped and then thinking about giving the rapist a second chance. Unfortunately that stuff is just the tip of the iceberg.

That said, despite all my moaning, I did still enjoy this one. Brett has an engaging writing style and it is easy to get caught up in the story.

I know this instalment is titled the Desert Spear but I shall forever think of it as All the Guys Love Leesha!

Rating: 4 stars.

Audio Note: Pete Bradbury does a good job with the audio.
Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
737 reviews1,263 followers
June 13, 2017
[2.5 stars] With every passing week since finishing The Desert Spear, I find myself more and more dissatisfied with it. Something about many of the elements within the story just aren’t sitting right with me, and I’d be the first to state that I’m getting really tired of every other character having a backstory that includes rape, incestuous rape, and sodomy. I don’t know if Brett is trying to make a grander point on who the real “demons” are, or if it just gives him kicks to write about that stuff, but I think it’s too much. Furthermore, it’s not even the sheer volume alone that bothers me, but the forgiving attitude towards the rapists.

And here’s where you’re going to raise an eyebrow at me – I thought a good portion of the book (that following Jardir – whose POV I actually liked more than most) could’ve been a lot grittier. O_o? What Brett says happens in this hostile desert society and what he shows happening were on opposite ends of the spectrum. Not that I want to read about that stuff in detail, but from an analytical standpoint, the inconsistency drove me crazy.

So here I sit, complaining of an issue with subject-matter while also kind of saying that other parts weren’t as graphic as the story required. Do you get an idea of why it took me so long to compose this review? I think the crux of the matter is that, no matter which end of the spectrum I’m considering, I had issues with a lot of things.

That said, and to be even more contrary, I actually enjoyed the process of reading a lot of this book. I find the demons fascinating, and every scene that gave me a glimpse into their true nature provided me that spark I needed to keep reading. I am morbidly curious to see where all the human storylines are going and am hoping to come out of this series with a lot more satisfaction than I got out of The Desert Spear. Now that the story is finally starting to clip forward, I find myself somewhat reaching for the third book… but I may wait a few more weeks to give myself time to simmer down.

Overall, after this mess of a review, all I can say is: I’m enjoying the good elements of the story enough to continue on, but would be hard pressed to recommend it because of all the negative ones. ;P

[Thank you to my GR friend, Gavin, for helping me pull together my thoughts on this book!]

Other books you might like:

The Last Stormlord - Glenda Larke
The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss
The Wayfarer Redemption - Sara Douglass
Furies of Calderon - Jim Butcher
Red Sister - Mark Lawrence

Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.NikiHawkes.com
Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
681 reviews620 followers
December 18, 2017
This book did not disappoint. I was scared it might not live up to the first one but I was so wrong. This author adapted a very weird style that I must admit I disliked at first. The book started with the backstory of a minor character that was introduced in the first book, which is now among the MCs . His backstory and POV took the first 30% of the book with no mention of the previous MCs till his story was over.

Unlike the first book that was fast paced this is quite slow, the whole book took place within a duration of just a couple of months. There is a more magic here than the first book and the action is amazing, both that of the Krasians, Arlen and the Hollowers. There is also more romance here than in the first book.
Trigger warnings, Krasian culture feature sogonomy,misogyny, sexism and prejudice against anyone who is not a warrior. Rape is a normal thing as long as the woman in question is not married or the guy cannot fight them off.

World building and Writing
The author did not disappoint, there are lots of improvements, not that the one in book one was bad but this is way better. The Krasian world building told from Jardir’s POV and the culture was so well depicted, I love it so much even as I hate the culture and religion. The world building of the other locations in the book is also perfectly done. I adore the writing style, the author really know how to narrate a story. The book is written in third person multiple POV of Arlen, Leesha and Rojer the original MCs and the additional Jardir and Renna with occational few POVs from Abban.

I love the characters so much and the character development of all the characters is amazing, apart from that of Leesha which I don’t know the direction the author is going with her.

Arlen is still my favourite in the book. I love every single one of his POV in this book and wish there was more. I get to know more about how the incident at the desert affected his decisions to start warding himself and how he really felt about himself. Even with all his confidence he still feels he is not good enough because of the negative effects the wards are having on him. His relationship with the other characters is one of a kind.

Leesha, I seriously do not like how the author is ruining her character. She was amazing in book one even after the ordeal on the road, she was doing well at the behinning of the book then it all changed when she focuses more on her sex/love life. If no guy wants her I would have understood but basically all the guys wants her but she refuses them because of her self rightousness while all the while whinning about how she needs a man, fucking pick one already ugh. Like the demons hunting at night is not enough issue to worry about.

Rojer did not disappoint me, his character just gets better and I can’t help but love him more. His fiddle magic is better than ever and he finally made peace with Arrick and his Parent’s death, that is no longer weighing on him. His friendship with Leesha is so cool even though she doesn’t deserve his loyalty and she barely listens to him half the time but still his loyalty is commendable.

Jardir, I must admit he is not as horrible as I thought, he has his flaws but he is honest, blunt and is doing what he thinks is best. His backstory and childhood really helped in understanding the Krasia culture better and it is worst than I imagined.

Renna is another promising female character, I just hope her character don’t go downhill cause she is the only badass female in the book so far and I love her.

Wonda is amazing, I really hope Leesha gives Gerad another chance and I just want to know what it is Inevera wants.

There is a new breed of demons that can read minds and also control people, among other stuff that are spoilers.
The Krasians are invading the northern part of Thesa to recruit for an army to fight demins and to also dominate the northeners with Jardir as their leader. Leesha and Rojer is trying to keep the Hollow safe from demons with Arlen’s help and is also helping the rufugees from towns the Krasians took over. Arlen is distributing the fight wards to hamlets and free cities to make people able to defend themselves against demons.
Profile Image for Will M..
304 reviews625 followers
December 7, 2014
No matter how much I push myself, I can't seem to give this one a 5. It wasn't bad, but it didn't have the same impact The Warded Man had on me. The characters were still great, but some were present way too many times than necessary.

I promise not to write a really long review this time. I think I've written way too long reviews for the other Fantasy novels that I liked.

Let's start with what I found enjoyable:

Jardir. If I thought that The Warded Man was really badass, well, now I've read about Jardir. At first I really didn't like him, but in the end he felt more badass than the Warded Man. He has the same scars, and he has this really cool spear. Weapons wise, I'm actually not a fan of spears, but Jardir makes it look so badass. I wanted to become the Warded Man before, but now I think becoming Jardir would be better. More women to begin with, okay that was a joke.

Renna. Everything that happened to her in this novel was a page turner. I'm not gonna spoil anything don't worry, but she just became my third favorite character because of everything that happened. She could be like the warded woman or something. Okay maybe not, but she was badass for me.

The action and violence in this novel. Brett just took it up a notch in this novel, and I freakin' love him for that. I read The Warded Man because I heard that it was full of action, and I loved the first novel for that. I might be turning a bit contradicting because I didn't rate this a 5, don't worry, I'm getting to the explanation part. While this had more action, I just didn't feel like I was fully engrossed in the world of The Desert Spear. It's quite similar to the first novel, but this one had a few flaws I didn't seem to like that much.

Now that I'm thinking things through, I believe I was a bit too new to the genre when I read The Warded Man, and that's why I enjoyed it so much. I've read more than 10 really good fantasy novels, and now I'm a bit more subjective when it comes to the genre. I really don't want to be, but it's there already. If I read this series first, then I believe this novel would've received a 5, but sadly, that's not going to happen.


I have one major problem with this novel, something that I'm still annoyed about up to now. The fact that the back summary stated that there's this new breed of demons that is way more superior and dangerous. Yeah, we get a glimpse of them in the prologue, and their next major appearance was in the last fucking chapter. I enjoyed the drama and all of the middle part, but the main thing I wanted to read about was technically not even evident in this novel. The interview at the back states that the author said that more of the mimics, but I wanted more of them in this novel. This rage of mine just makes me want to read the next novel as soon as possible though. This problem's probably the main reason why this one didn't get the 5 stars.

4.1/5 stars, still recommended to fantasy fans of course. This series is rapidly becoming one of my favorites. Read this if you can stomach some gut wrenching violence that I seem to love so much.
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
3,005 reviews10.6k followers
December 30, 2014
The Warded Man continues his work, spreading the wards of the ancients and the ability to fight demons, denying that he is the Deliverer. A new Deliverer rises in the southern desert, seeking to unite all of the world in the Daylight War. Can he do it? Can Leesha resist his charms? And what does the Warded Man think of it all...

Wow. If The Warded Man turned the awesomeness knob up to ten, this one turns it up to eleven. The first third of the book is an expansion of Arlen's time in Krasia in The Warded Man, only told from Jardir's point of view, covering Jardir's origins. The Krasians are given more dimension and more insights to Krasia's culture is given.

The relationships between the three main characters continues to develop. Leesha has grown into the leader of Deliverer's Hollow. The Warded Man contiues to fight his slide away from humanity. Old threads are tied up and new ones are introduced.

The Desert Spear is more demon-killing goodness in the vein of The Warded Man. I can't wait for the next volume. There's going to be hell to pay when The Warded Man and the Deliverer finally cross paths.
Profile Image for Theresa Ijachi.
103 reviews69 followers
May 22, 2018
I loved this book so much. Review to come when I can write one😁. Review slumps are the worst!!
Profile Image for Terence.
1,117 reviews352 followers
November 21, 2017
Not content with merely having the means of killing their centuries old adversary, Fort Krasia makes it move to conquer their northern neighbors. It's intent goes beyond mere conquest as they intend to forge all of mankind into the weapon that exterminates demon kind. Krasia has a new leader, ichor and blood forged Ahmann Jardir. Krasia isn't the only one setting out for the first time in centuries. A very old enemy of mankind has come from the core to deal with the demon killing Warded Man and the new Shar'Dama Ka Ahmann Jardir.

The Desert Spear was an exciting yet very different sequel than I expected. When The Warded Man ended, my hope was to see the treacherous Jardir and his accomplices crushed, but Peter V. Brett had a very different purpose in mind for Arlen's ajin'pal. Unbelievably Brett made me not only understand Jardir, but actually like him. The unfortunate part of that was Brett took the first 200 or so pages to chronicle Jardir's life from entering the sharaj (where boys are taken to learn to fight demons) to the point he leads his people on the trek through the desert north to Fort Rizon. I honestly had mixed feelings about Jardir's lengthy history on my first read, but I've come to enjoy it immensely with subsequent reads.

Fans of Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer breath easy, after the history of Jardir, book ones protagonists return in a big way. The Hollow is being rebuilt thanks to Arlen's wards into a greatward which allows people to be free to travel The Hollow at night. With word of Krasia coming north, the trio work hard to alert and prepare the Free Cities and the Hollow.

My favorite part of The Desert Spear is the arrival of the ancient enemy that few outside of Krasia even know exist. They are known by many names Alagai Ka, Mind Demons, and Demon Princes, but the fact remains demons become far more dangerous when they arrive. We also meet their bodyguards the changelings that can shape shift into anything they can imagine. Their arrival changes the fight immeasurably. I love their addition because no longer must mankind attempt to exterminate an incredibly powerful mindless foe, but rather they must fight an army and its deadly generals the mind demons.

The Desert Spear ups the ante of the danger mankind is in while continuing to build strong characters and abilities.

My original review
Profile Image for Choko.
1,221 reviews2,598 followers
May 29, 2022
*** 4.35 ***

This is a very uncomfortable, challenging series to read, but it is very well written and so unique, it is totally worth the discomfort this dystopian, misogynistic and violent world brings to the reader. My fellow buddy readers had a difficult time with the way women are treated in it, and I totally agree and understand. However, this is the authors' intent and he does a great job of it! The way humanity regresses to it's worst, in times of danger and, in this case, in a time when demons rome the nights, feeding on the helpless humans who are away from warded shelters, is the core of the story. Those who rise above their most base needs and urges, those who think about more than themselves and their own, they are our heroes, the possible Deliverers, who have been prophesied to come one day and lead the leftovers of the scraps of humanity on their path to freedom from the rulers of the Night...

It is a very unique series, delivered to us in a stark, vivid way, by an author who is committed to his characters and the world they are trying to survive. It is dark, and it has a lot of violence, rape, murder and everything you could think of, so I would caution young readers and try not to read it before the age of at least 16... For those who are not squeamish, I would say, give it a go! I find it worth the time and money 👍😎
Profile Image for Apatt.
507 reviews807 followers
December 26, 2015
If Peter V. Brett were to use a pseudonym it should be Peter P. Turner. The Desert Spear kept me turning the pages to find out what happen next, even during the parts of the book I don't like. The Desert Spear is the second book of the Demon Cycle series, apparently five volumes are planned. The first book The Warded Man is very entertaining and also a page turner extraordinaire, I would recommend that to anyone looking for a fun, fast-paced fantasy read. This book is similarly compelling but more ambitious in term of world building, it does not exactly carry on where The Warded Man left off, however.

Fans of the fist book who started reading this volume immediately after finishing the first one may feel disorientated by the first third of the book which goes a little backward in the timeline of the first book and a switcheroo of POV to Jardir the "Shar'Dama Ka" (that's deliverer, for those who didn't pay attention in their Krasian class). During this first third of the book the author takes a lot of time to create the Krasian culture, which appears to be mainly based on the Middle East nations. It is a rather harsh culture and deliberately politically incorrect. Fans of the first book is advised to stop wondering about where Arlen the Warded Man has got to and just kick back and enjoy Brett's world building and attention to details. Mr. Warded will show up to kick some asses before too long. Jardir is not only a self-proclaimed Deliverer, he is also a self-proclaimed protagonist where the fate of the world revolves around him, he could break the fourth wall he'd tell you that this whole damn Demon Cycle is all about him and disagreeing with him may be detrimental to your health.

Jardir does not seem to have a lot of depth to his character and suffers from an acute case of Gary Stu-itis , he did not leave much of an impression with me in The Warded Man, and in this second volume Brett spends a lot of pages developing him, and clarifying his motivation but he still does not appeal as a protagonist. This is partly because every line of dialogue he utters tend to be rather hackneyed, a lot of the time his dialogues remind me of He-Man from Masters of the Universe cartoons. During his years of training from average guy to total bad-ass I kept imagining the song "Eye of The Tiger" playing in the background. His femme fatale missus Inevera is more interesting, but even she is fairly one dimensional. It seems to me that most of his characters tend to have only one facet to them, they rarely ever do anything surprising or "out of character" once their individual character quirk is established. None of them seem like well rounded real people I can really care about.

Once the narrative switches to characters in Thesa / Green lands we are back with the main characters from the first book Arlen, Leesha, Rojer etc. Unfortunately, the author also spends a lot of time developing the character of Renna Tanner whose back story concerning her incestuous Dad reads like a fairly distasteful melodrama. I feel that this part should have been left on the cutting room floor, by all means give her this back story but without going into unnecessary torrid details. As for Arlen the Warded Man he is beginning to seem like a character from The Marvel Universe, maybe he should be called "The Warded-Man", with a hyphen.

On the very positive side from around page 200 onward the story is very fast paced and I read the second half of the book much more quickly than the first. Those pages just flew by and I did not want to put the book down (except to pee). The fight scenes mostly between demons and humans are very well written and thrilling, the plot just gallops along at a breakneck speed.

In conclusion, I believe Peter V. Brett is an excellent storyteller, his ability to keep the reader turning the pages is top notched. However, his prose style and characterization are still catching up with his considerable plotting and narrative skills. The Desert Spear seems to be longer than it should be due to the inclusion of some unnecessary melodrama but at the end of the day it is a highly readable book. I am not entirely certain I will read the rest of the saga, but I had many hours of entertainment from reading this volume.
Profile Image for seak.
434 reviews473 followers
January 12, 2015
Mankind finally has a way not only to defend themselves from the demons that have taken over the night, but they have the ability to combat their enemies. Arlen, aka the Warded Man, wants to distribute the combat wards he found to everyone in the world so they don't have to suffer at the hands of the demons as he did when his mother died.

Compare this to the Krasian method of enslaving all mankind and forcing them to fight in alagai'sharak, the Krasian's name for their nightly battle with the demons.

In this respect, I couldn't help but compare The Desert Spear to The Matrix Reloaded. Not because there was a decrease in quality like the Matrix films, but moreso because suddenly the demons aren't as scary just like the agents lost all their spunk in the second and third films.

There are so many ways and means that have been found, especially by Leesha and those of Deliverer's (formerly Cutter's) Hollow, to either combat the demons or make oneself invisible to them that it's almost like the demons aren't even there anymore. This was a little disappointing especially in a series that is all about groups of people coming together for the cause of warring with demonkind.

Luckily, there's enough going on that this isn't too big of an issue, just something that was a little disappointing.

The Desert Spear, book 2 of the Demon Cycle, begins by following Ahmann something something something Jardir, who we met in The Warded Man, and exclusively deals with the events in Krasia and Jardir's history...and this lasts for about a quarter of the book.

I know many have complained about this aspect of the book, that the book takes far too long to get to Arlan, Leesha, and Rojer, but I'm a firm believer that delayed satisfaction does in fact make you appreciate your favorite parts.

But, I can't really say that I even loathed reading the first part. The more I read/listened, the more I found I was sucked into Jardir's past/present and the effort that went into creating this society.

Not only are new wards created/found, but we find out there are more demons than we have seen so far, one of them being the Mind demons, who rule all of demonkind. These guys make a couple of appearances and prove that although most demons aren't much of a threat, there are still some that could pose some difficulties, especially since they have the ability to think and reason like man.

Leesha and Rojer have become mainstays in Deliverer's Hollow where many refugees have fled to escape the flood that is the Krasians. This is where we also find out the advancements that Leesha has made on warding. Many have mentioned that Leesha is a bit of a wonder woman in this book and while that's true to an extent, I think a lot of this comes from the fact that we see Leesha through the eyes of Ahmann Jardir, who has a bit of a skewed perspective of her.

The issue of The Deliverer, or Shar'Dama Ka in Krasia, is central to The Desert Spear. While Arlan does everything he can to fight this distinction, the people of the north will believe what they want to believe, and many times to Arlen's frustration.

On the other hand, in Krasia, Ahmann Jardir not only convinces himself and Krasia that he is the Shar'Dama Ka, but takes his unified Krasian army to the north to force the people of the north to fight demonkind.

Audiobook Commentary

I realized I haven't been that good at discussing the audio portion of the book when I do an Audiobook review, so I wanted to add this section so that the review will actually be handy to those who were debating on whether to listen or read, having already made the decision to obtain this book.

Pete Bradbury does a great job in both The Desert Spear and The Warded/Painted Man audiobooks. He has a gruff voice, which works well for Arlen, Jardir, all of Krasia, Messengers, etc. But, at the same time, it doesn't even sound weird when he does the female characters' voices. The Audiobook is really well done and definitely recommended.

When Should You Read The Desert Spear?

The Desert Spear continues on the same level as The Warded Man, which I highly recommend and while the characters are great, the world that Peter V. Brett created has created a huge fan in me.

4.5 out of 5 Stars
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,644 reviews1,511 followers
September 1, 2019
How do I feel about The Desert Spear?


In some ways I liked it more than the Warded Man. In others less.

It starts off really well. In the prologue we find that the Corelings seen to date are just the tip of the iceberg and there are others out there that think, plot and strategize and they’ve just taken an interest in the happening’s topside. Then we jump back in time and learn all about Jardir’s training as a boy with the Dessert tribes. We follow that tale and how he became the man that eventually betrays Arlen and leaves him to die.

This was an interesting side to the story. The switch up completely from the PoVs of the Warded Man was a little hard to take since I really wanted to see the old gang again. But we spend the first third of the book with the backstory of the Krasians and the rise of Jardir. It was interesting and almost felt like a different tale. Jardir’s wife who makes him the man he is today was also captivating. I wasn’t sure if she was more power hungry than him or just a believer. Either way she is a powerhouse and extremely devious. This culture too is brutal and I’m not a fan of their conquer the land rape all the breeding age women to create more sons to battle mentality. Historically accurate, probably. Fun to read, not really for me, it made me hate their culture.

I loved it when we finally got back to the trio of PoVs from the first book. But then all the drama started to happen. I’m not sure why a lot of male fantasy writers don’t do relationships in their stories well. The Desert Spear suffers from the main characters Arlen and Leesha being wanted/loved by everyone they meet and again Arlen is put in a situation where someone that was recently raped it throwing herself at him. *shakes head* no just no. It really turned a little into a sad parody of a drama. I’d rather all of the relationship stuff got left out and just focus on the main plot if you’re bad at them.

For Arlen the good things were:

The changes he is going through because of the tattoos on his skin.
Seeing the foster family that raised him and getting some closure there.
Traveling between lands to spread his wards.
The fight with a Coreling Prince.

The bad things were:

Every freaking relationship he has with women.
His refusal all the time of being the Deliverer.

For Leesha the good things were:

Her strides forward in warding and leading the village.
Coming to terms her mother being awful and sometimes wise, but usually in an awful way

The bad things:

Her total lack of sense when Jardir shows up
The drama llama that is her relationship with Jardir *ugh*

I really like the plot and fight against the corelings but the side plots of murder, rape and mayhem just wasn’t my thing and I cringed every time Leesha and Jardir talked. The sub plotting of jardir’s wife against Leesha was interesting but again I could have done without that bit of drama in the book.

Overall the world building and main plot to destroy the corelings is interesting but I think that Brett could would on interpersonal dynamics a little. Also, tone down the raping and pillaging while you are at it. Did we really need another scene with Renna and her father, like the one we got? I get it, you don’t have to rub my nose it in anymore.
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews926 followers
June 11, 2022
"For all suffer the Plague, righteous and sinful alike. And all must band together to withstand the night.”

Summary Bibliography: Peter V. Brett

In The Desert Spear, Peter Brett presents a much bigger world than we saw in The Warded Man. Despite cultural differences, the wider world is no brighter, no less brutal. It is fascinating, however. The story begins with the training of a youth named Ahmann Jardir, who eventually proclaims himself "the Deliverer." He rides out of the desert and begins conquering the northern lands we saw in the first book. Many believe, however, that that the Warded Man is the Deliverer. He is also a major character in this second book. Despite really wanting characters to die in this book, I enjoyed the read and am just about ready for the next installment. 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Althea Ann.
2,233 reviews1,047 followers
April 19, 2015
The second lengthy entry into the Demon Cycle series...

There are 4 distinct sections to the book.

If you came into this one directly from 'The Warded Man,' you'll have to change gears rather abruptly. In the first section, we switch to the viewpoint of a minor character from 'The Warded Man,' the Krasian merchant Abban. We follow him from childhood up through the events we saw from Arlen's perspective in the first book.

In principle, this sounds like a good idea. I complained that in the first book, Krasia was too much of a two-dimensional place based solely on stereotypes about the Middle East. You would think that getting inside their culture would help. Unfortunately, it's more of the same. It continues to feel stereotypical, and becomes even more tedious when it's just a retread through events we already know about... at length.

The second section starts 1/3 of the way through the book, and finally returns us to where we expected to be at the end of The Warded Man, following Leesha and Rojer. The third section concentrates more on Renna, and the last section brings us back more to Arlen (Mr. Warded Man himself) and demon fighting.

The latter three sections are an improvement over the first, but they still haven't won me over. After some consideration as to the reasons - I know this is a widely acclaimed series - I think the main thing, for me, is that the book tries to address some serious issues for its characters, and creates some complex, difficult situations (including some involving rape, incest, abuse, murder, etc...) But - the way it handles those situations just feels to me rather shallow and awkward. It's earnest, but not wholly convincing.

However, there is definitely a compelling aspect to this saga. I can understand why many fans of huge, sprawling fantasy tales endorse the series.

Some of the sections, on their own, would have gotten three stars, but the parts set in Krasia, and the those involving Renna's family, bring this down to two for me.

I'm not totally writing off continuing with this series, but I think I'll give it a break for a while and try a different epic fantasy next...
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,107 followers
September 2, 2017
For a full first third of the novel, I had to calm myself down and wonder why so much time and effort was being put into humanizing Jadir, the man who had betrayed Arlen so brutally in the first book, but I eventually got over it. The world is a big place and there have to be burly warriors to defend it. I didn't mind so much how crazily stereotypical Muslims are portrayed here because EVERYONE is heavily stereotyped in these books.

Hell, that's okay simply because it's a really harsh world overrun with demons that come out every single night and people have to be hard and crazy to survive it. If that means going weird cultural directions to taking things to an extreme in order to unify or cow the people, then so be it. This is a fantasy, after all.

That being said, the world-building is pretty fantastic all across the board. The devil is in the details or in this case, the Core, but more importantly, this is a novel all about the people in it. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Arlen and Leesha and the one-time weak Renna play big roles in this book, too, never fear. Arlen revisits his past and there are all kinds of awesomeness here, but what is most surprising is how cool Leesha has become, from a young wise-woman healer to a whirlwind of change to love interest of a certain warrior. Color me surprised! It just goes to show. Trust certain writers to get you there. Have faith. I do, now. :)

But who was the most surprising?

Renna. Meek, oft-abused Renna, subject to so much injustice... and then she's given a real chance. I think this is the point where I go from liking Arlen's martial prowess and his scholarship less and where I start viscerally appreciating him. :)

And, as always, demon fights, demon fights, demon fights. :) Gotta love them. Really over the top cool. :)
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11.2k followers
July 26, 2010
4.0 to 4.5 stars. I really enjoyed The Warded Man, the first novel in Peter Brett's Demon Trilogy, and was really looking forward to reading this sequel. Even with high expectation, Brett does not disappoint with this second entry. Without giving away any spoilers, I will just talk about those aspects of the book that I really thought were fantastic.

First, one of the things I like about epic fantasy trilogies is when the plot begins fairly small and then develops into a larger and larger story as the novel unfolds. An example of this is Martin's Song of Ice and Fire which begins with a dispute among rival houses and soon escalates into a civil war and imminent invasion from without. This novel certainly has the requisite escalation of scope and tension.

Second, I really like world-building and descriptions of other societies and customs and Brett does a superb job with his detailed narrative of the Krasians. The Krasians are brutal and many of their customs and ways are sadistic and cruel, but Brett still manages to make them three dimensional and provide an understanding (if not a justification) for their actions. Add to that the strong "hint" that the ancient past of the world was a lot more "technological" than the present and you have the makings for many more surprises to come.

Third, I like larger-than-life characters and this book has several with the two most prominent being the Krasian leader, Jadir, and the Warded Man, Arlen. I must say that one of my favorite characters by the end of the book was Abban who begins the story as a greedy, cowardly individual and yet by the end of the story you have a tremendous amount of sympathy for him and the hint that he might have a larger role to play in the battle to come (I hope so).

Fourth, I like intersting fantasy elements and this book has that taken care of in the form of the demon "corelings" whose number and type expand in this story.

Overall, an excellent read and looking forward to the final book in the trilogy....so MAKE IT FAST PETER!!!!
Profile Image for Eon ♒Windrunner♒  .
435 reviews484 followers
June 3, 2015
The second book in this series is almost just as good as the first, but not quite.

The story is still fantastic, but the POV’s are littered with jumps between past & present and it just doesn’t feel right. There is nothing wrong with the past views, I loved the back story, but I think it would have better served in a prequel and felt like it detracted from the overall story. Every time I got into the present story, SHIFT, back to the past. Aaaarrgggh!

Still, a page-turner and definitely recommended.

Profile Image for نیما اکبرخانی.
Author 3 books121 followers
January 31, 2021
خیلی هم خوب.
جلد دوم مجموعه شیاطین که به تازگی در ایران ترجمه و منتشر می شود. در حال حاضر مجموعه کامل نیست و همین دوجلد آمده و اگر بخوانید مثل من باید منتظر سه کتاب بعدی باشید. انتهای کتاب هم نوید انتشار جلد سوم را به خواننده می دهد.
اما من تا اینجای این مجموعه را خیلی دوست داشتم. بیشتر از این رو که منطق و فرم جادویش با هرچه تا به حال خوانده ام فرق دارد . با نویسنده ای طرف هستیم که شجاعت کافی داشته تا نخواهد وام دار آثار بزرگ تر این ژانر باشد و برود دنیای خودش را خلق کند.
دنیایی که خیلی باحال است، جذاب است ، بی رحم است و پر از جادو و خون و طلسم است.
من خیلی زیاد منتظر جلد سوم یا همانطور که انتهای کتاب نوشته بود نبرد روشنایی روز خواهم بود.
تاکید می کنم اگر اهل این هستید که یک مجموعه را کامل بخرید و ببلعید الآن زود است ، کمتر از نیمی از آن ترجمه شده است.
ترجمه هم به نظرم خوب است . بخرید و بخوانید و لذت ببرید.
Profile Image for Mark.
417 reviews66 followers
December 7, 2016
As good as the first book but for different reasons.

THE DESERT SPEAR takes an about face as we leave Deliverer's Hollow behind and head for Fort Krasia and a whole new POV. The first time I read this book I was so pissed when I didn't immediately return to find out about what Arlen was up to that I didn't enjoy Jardir's story as fully as I did this time. It's a bit of a slap in the face at first but Jardir becomes just as interesting and crucial to the story.

That along with the addition of Renna Tanner to the story make this sequel an enjoyable return to THE DEMON CYCLE world.

Profile Image for Cameron.
Author 22 books15 followers
October 29, 2012
The Desert Spear isn't terribly written, but it is ultimately derivative and uninspired. Thankfully, the worst part of the novel is dealt with straightaway in its first third - specifically the mind-numbingly unoriginal Krasians, who appear to be naught but carbon copies of Islamist culture, down to their caste system and the way they treat their women. Men and women die gleefully for the glory of their God in combat. Women are kept wrapped up in shrouds. Men unable to take part in combat are sneered at. Sound familiar? Yup, it did to me too.

It really doesn't help matters much that Jadir, the secondary protagonist to the Warded Man, is far and beyond the worst stereotype in the bunch. It's a shame, too, because the world as detailed in Warded Man had great potential. And while the first novel featured three very eye-rollling Mary Sues, at least their origin stories were fascinating enough to make them likable characters. Here, the unique world feels diminished and most of the characters lack any real progress - and some, as in the case of Leesha, seem to become even more marionette-like. I'm not sure who would find the Leesha-Jardir love story at all likable, but it certainly wasn't me.

I say "most characters" because Desert Spear does a good job with two characters - the continued adventures of the Warded Man as well as his love interest, Renna. Renna's story in particular brings back flashes of the original's interesting and decidedly more adult moments. Whereas Rojer, Leesha, and Jardir end up feeling and acting like angsty teenagers by the end of the novel, Renna and Arlen's story develops nicely. The brutality visited upon Renna is described in broad strokes, often to the benefit of the novel (as was the case with Leesha in the first). It doesn't trivialize the matters any - it just makes them easier to read, easier to stomach. There's a good sense of how far Renna's mind has stretched, and in some cases, shattered.

I can't recommend The Desert Spear. It's too derivative and is a disappointment after the first. However, given that there are several more books left in the series, perhaps the author can turn things around. I certainly hope so. The world still has potential, if the author is willing to shy away from typical romantic and fantasy conventions.
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