After a break of almost five months between finishing The Painted Man and starting The Desert Spear, it was off to a good start. I enjoyed the extra exploration of Krasian society, and thought the flashback and flash-forward combination worked well, though I was waiting for quite a while for the characters of the previous book to appear. I must admit, I had fears of it being something of a disparate series. I needn’t have worried however. When it did return to the Hollowers, I thought it was fantastic. Above all it was certainly worth the wait to get back to the titular character of the first book. While it wasn’t an issue after a while, there were a lot of switches between the use of the names Ahmann and Jardir, which confused things a little bit.
Aside from these few issues, I found it a fantastic read. I began to emphathise a lot more with Jardir – whom I had disliked for his actions in the first book. The epic nature of this second book is probably a reflection of the strength of the world-building at the start of the first book. What I thought was slow at the time has just laid the way for madness, with a load of ‘warded berserker’ types running around, new types of demons, and ‘warding grenades’ all making appearances. The crowning climax of this book came in the last five pages however. It was awesome. There has been a gradual reveal of a more intelligent enemy than was first thought, and I like the idea of a central hive, of intelligence rather than just mindless enemies. Overall, I think there was no sign whatsoever of the dreaded middle-book syndrome. It was better than The Painted Man, taking the strong foundations and just exploding in all directions.
‘The Desert Spear’, by Peter V. Brett is the second in The Demon Cycle.