Title: The Painted Man
Author: Peter V Brett
Published: 1st Sept 2008
No of Pages: 563

Hello my fellow wordsmiths and page turners,

Today we are going to be having a look at The painted man by Peter V Brett. This particular book has been so critically acclaimed by most of the people that I know,  so I had particularly high expectations going in. But, worry not as it certainly delivered and lived upto the hype.

I found the concept of this novel fantastic, think The Purge but with magic and demons.

The setting is your typical fantasy world but, when the sun sets, Demons (corelings) rise from the ground to wreak havoc upon the human world. As you can imagine this is less than ideal for its human populous.  Every night is a battle for survival and the demons are relentless in their desire to kill, and for the most part seem pretty much unstoppable. The only form of protection the humans have is to ‘ward’ their properties with ancient archaic symbols which keep the demons at bay until they return to the earth come the morning. But despite these ward defences the human race is ever dwindling, ever more crippled by fear as the years go by. 

Please be warned that this is not a cheerful kind of novel. It is a story ripe with darkness and despair. Each night is a new raw nightmare and each day a new trial for the people who struggle to rebuild what was ruined during the night. There does not seem to be much hope of things ever getting better for these disheartened folks.

This simple but brilliant setup gives the world noth a harrowing and morbidly fascinating nature. 

The story touches on a number of interesting issues, such as:

“When should you fight and when should you hide?”

“Is living behind wards really living?” 

and the most poignant question of all, “what’s the point of fighting if you’ve forgotten who you’re fighting for?” 

Throughout the story we see the effects of living a life in this harsh world, and we see this through our three main protagonists: Arlen, a messenger , Leesha, a herb gatherer and Roger, a ‘Jongleur’ a travelling entertainer. The effects of living in this environment are illustrated brilliantly by all three POV’s of these characters and they are all complex and interesting. The novel spans a number of years showing the development and growth of each of these three protagonists.

As the novel progresses, the protagonists each embark upon his or her own hero’s journey in an effort to save humanity. 

My final thoughts are that I’m really glad I listened to my friends and finally got round to reading this book. I feel that the Coreling/Demon idea is really inspired and I really enjoyed the battles scenes. However I do have some niggling issues with the stories pacing, it was a really slow build to start, which set the scene and, emphasized the sheer bleakness of the world but in contrast to this the ending was far too fast in comparison. There were also a few scene’s within the story that annoyed me, one particular which surrounding Leesha’s anger I felt was not done particularly well. But, despite this I will be picking up book two to continue the story.

Until next time, read more books!

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