The Desert Spear continues the story begun by Brett in The Warded Man. Only, this time, we see the tale from the perspective of self proclaimed Shar’Dama Ka, Jardir. We met Jardir in The Warded Man, and we saw him attempt to murder Arlen, and we came to hate him for it. But the second book of the Demon Cycle series gives us a human look at Jardir, his beginnings, and we begin to empathize with him.
The book begins with Jardir conquering Fort Rizan and subjugating its people. It is hard to miss the connection between the Krasians and the Caliphates of the Middle Ages and Crusades. Brett does a good job of making these sorts of connections and it helps the reader to do two things. Firstly, it centers the reader so that they can more easily connect to the story. Secondly, it does make an inference to, what I suspect, is the fact that Thesa is actually Earth. We will see. From there, we go back and forth between the present and Jardir’s past.
Brett does a fantastic job of giving us different Points of View. In The Desert Spear, he does a much better job of those transitions than I thought he did in his first book, in which some of those POV transitions seemed disjointed—I didn’t know who we were suppose to be watching. I can tell that his writing has evolved. The story, whether it is Jardir’s, Leesha’s, or Arlen’s, seem more comfortable and because of this, I was able to really settle in to the characters.
Definitely one of Brett’s strengths would be his ability to write action. Scenes of war and fighting are exciting, riveting, and there were some moments when I was truly sitting on the edge of my seat. He also does a very good job of creating tension in relationships with his character. I do feel like Brett is a student of people. These characters, in many ways, feel real.
My criticisms—the time change, in my opinion is a cardinal sin of writing and in many ways doesn’t work. I would like to have seen a chronological progression from past to present. Even if we start with the present, and then go back, just keep moving forward. Brett is a student of people, but some interactions and reactions do seem a little unrealistic, especially concerning Leesha Paper. She is the one main character that I have a hard time understanding and getting into. Her attitudes, her actions, they all just seem very forced.
Despite these minor criticisms, The Desert Spear was very enjoyable. It opens up the world that we discover in The Warded Man, even in terms of the demons. We suddenly found out there are many more demons. And I think what this does is it shows the reader that many of the people in Brett’s story are just as blind as maybe we are in The Warded Man.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is into good, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, classic fantasy, or just a good adventure story with a little mystery sprinkled in there.
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