The Warded Man is the first in a planned five book fantasy series, The Demon Cycle, of which only two are out. It’s set in a world where there are demons called corelings that come out at night to destroy and plunder human civilisation. The only things that keep them away are wards – writings of power. If a ward is improperly set or happens to rub off, the demons break through immediately.
We follow three characters – Arlen, Leesha and Rojer, from various points in their childhood to maturity. They have very different lives, but they all eventually embark on a journey.
The world is pretty interesting – the frequent coreling attacks have reduced humans from a state of advanced technology to the dark ages. There are small hamlets everywhere, but also a few Free Cities, all with very different cultures. Very few people travel, since it’s hard to ward yourself when you’re not in a shelter.
This book had too much incidental sex-related plots for my taste – almost every encounter between a man and a woman has some sexual overtones, no matter what their ages or age differences are. Leesha is so beautiful that every man who looks at her wants to rape her (except the good guys, who are just attracted to her.) There’s a lot of incest, rape and general lasciviousness. I know that A Song of Ice and Fire is currently quite popular, but I’m not really a fan of such gritty stories.
Aside from that, the book is pretty decent. The world is the most interesting part, I really liked reading about the history. There are a bunch of likable characters, although no one stands out as particularly special. I found most of them to be extreme in one way or another.
I’m going to give the next book, The Desert Spear, a shot, but I’m not that excited. Hopefully I’m proven wrong.
- “Assassin’s Apprentice” by Robin Hobb
- “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss