The Painted Man (The Demon Cycle, #1)
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The Painted Man

by Peter V. Brett
Release date: August 31, 2008
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: fantasyhigh fantasy

Published in the US as The Warded Man (2009).

Sometimes there is very good reason to be afraid of the dark…

Eleven-year-old Arlen lives with his parents on their small farmstead, half a day's ride from the isolated hamlet of Tibbet's Brook.

As dusk falls upon Arlen's world, a strange mist rises from the ground; a mist that promises a violent death to any foolish enough to brave the coming darkness, for hungry corelings – demons that cannot be harmed by mortal weapons – materialize from the vapours to feed on the living. As the sun sets, people have no choice but to take shelter behind magical wards and pray that their protection holds until the creatures dissolve with the first signs of dawn.

When Arlen's life is shattered by the demon plague, he is forced to see that it is fear, rather than the demons, which truly cripples humanity. Believing that there is more to his world than to live in constant fear, he must risk leaving the safety of his wards to discover a different path.

In the small town of Cutter's Hollow, Leesha's perfect future is destroyed by betrayal and a simple lie. Publicly shamed, she is reduced to gathering herbs and tending an old woman more fearsome than the corelings. Yet in her disgrace, she becomes the guardian of dangerous ancient knowledge.

Orphaned and crippled in a demon attack, young Rojer takes solace in mastering the musical arts of a Jongleur, only to learn that his unique talent gives him unexpected power over the night.

Together, these three young people will offer humanity a last, fleeting chance of survival.

"The Painted Man works not only as a great adventure novel but also as a reflection on the nature of heroism." - Charlaine Harris

"Peter V. Brett is one of my favourite new authors." - Patrick Rothfuss

updated 2015-06-05

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Reviews (1)

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Two thirds of the book is spent on backstory and character-building, and the book ends when things are finally getting interesting. Brett is also too obvious when moralizing, not clever when borrowing inspiration from the real world, and some of the things his characters do does not make sense, although we've spent almost two-thirds of the book getting to know them! It's basically Dragon Age: Origins, but not as fun or interesting.
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