On the night of the new moon, the demons rise in force, seeking the deaths of two men both of whom have the potential to become the fabled Deliverer, the man prophesied to reunite the scattered remnants of humanity in a final push to destroy the demon corelings once and for all.
Arlen Bales was once an ordinary man, but now he has become something more—the Warded Man, tattooed with eldritch wards so powerful they make him a match for any demon. Arlen denies he is the Deliverer at every turn, but the more he tries to be one with the common folk, the more fervently they believe. Many would follow him, but Arlen’s path threatens to lead him to a dark place he alone can travel to, and from which there may be no returning.
The only one with hope of keeping Arlen in the world of men, or joining him in his descent into the world of demons, is Renna Tanner, a fierce young woman in danger of losing herself to the power of demon magic.
Ahmann Jardir has forged the warlike desert tribes of Krasia into a demon-killing army and proclaimed himself Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer. He carries ancient weapons–a spear and a crown–that give credence to his claim, and already vast swaths of the green lands bow to his control.
But Jardir did not come to power on his own. His rise was engineered by his First Wife, Inevera, a cunning and powerful priestess whose formidable demon bone magic gives her the ability to glimpse the future. Inevera’s motives and past are shrouded in mystery, and even Jardir does not entirely trust her.
Once Arlen and Jardir were as close as brothers. Now they are the bitterest of rivals. As humanity’s enemies rise, the only two men capable of defeating them are divided against each other by the most deadly demons of all–those lurking in the human heart.
I want to start off this review by asking what the hell happened? The first book was so good. The first half of the second book was fantastic. Even the second half of the second book was pretty good. What happened here?
To start with, maybe someone should have pointed out to Brett that just because the first two books were 600+ pages doesn’t mean the third book must also be 600+ pages. If you only have 400 pages of material (I’m being generous here) please don’t stretch the book out with needless recapping and sappy, out of character, b.s.
I both loved and hated this book. Probably because this book had all of the things I both loved and hated about watching Dragon Ball Z. Cool characters? Check. Interesting fighting concepts? Check. loooooong battle scenes where the winner was NEVER, not in a million years, in doubt? Check, check, check.
I have two main problems with this book. This is, ignoring the smaller third problem that all of the sex and tension-less battle scenes sound like they were written by a 14 year old who has never met a girl before.
First, I now hate most of the characters. This is probably because Leesha, Arlen, and Renna have all become massive Mary-sues and Gary-stus.
Example: Renna is able to take down a Krasian warrior. This is so beyond ridiculous that I don’t even know where to start. She’s been fighting for maybe 6 months? And somehow she defeats a guy who has trained his entire life to fight? She shouldn’t have been able to even get close to him, let alone win a fight.
And if your answer to this is that, “well, she eats demon meat so she has the strength of a demon,” I don’t want to hear it. Eating demon meat would not give her an advantage over a guy who has spent his entire life training for, fighting against, and killing the thing she ate.
I have less of a problem with most of the Krasian characters because I feel like all of them actually worked to some degree in some fashion to be where they are. Of course there is the “extra specialness” about them, but only to the acceptable degree you’d expect in a fantasy book.
So let’s compare Leesha and Inevera: both are intelligent, beautiful women but Inevera worked to get where she is using cunning and magic whereas Leesha is just so pure and amazing how could she not have become the leader?
I think it also helps that if you said “hey, you’re a power-hungry troublemaker” to both women Inevera would look at you blankly, reply “and?” and then smugly have you killed whereas from Leesha you’d get a long lecture about how “that’s not true! I’m super nice! It’s not my fault everyone else isn’t as smart and logical as me and that I’m the only one who knows whats best for everyone!”
Inevera also actually loves Jardir where Leesha bounces from guy to guy while continually making excuses for herself and being upset when any guy isn’t paying attention to her and only her – even after she rejects them. She is furious as Rojer when he decides to go along with getting married after telling him he had no shot. Apparently he’s supposed to do nothing until she’s decided how he should live his life because she always knows best. Someone please give me a break from this woman.
My second problem follows on the heels of the first one. All of the focus on relationships just kills this book. Arlen especially feels incredibly out of character from the man we’ve watched grow up once he gets together with Renna. I don’t have a problem with him being affectionate, but the constant crying because he just loves her so much? That was wildly over the top. The most overused line was “love you.” It was hard to believe in their relationship when Brett was so constantly trying to tell us about this TRUE love rather than show us naturally throughout the story.
I’m torn on whether or not to read the next book. On the one hand, I am very interested to continue reading about the Krasians, especially given the cliffhanger ending. However, I’d rather be dead then have to sit through one more page of Renna, Leesha, or Arlen – or worse, all three of them at once.
I would have given this book 2 stars had it not been for the Krasian side. The end of this book has me torn still about kicking it down a star.