My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement. Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers. Continue on at your own risk!
The Daylight War is the third book in the Demon Cycle series by Peter V. Brett. This was my most anticipated book of 2013. I decided to approach this book by reading slowly and savoring the story, instead of rushing through to see how it would end. Although I thought the action was slower than the first two books in the series, the story did not disappoint. Writing is an art, and this is a wonderful example of someone who has crafted something beautiful and presented it to the world.
Here’s what I thought…
In The Warded Man, the people of the green lands cowered in the night, while one man (Arlen Bales) rose to fight the demons. In The Desert Spear, we learn of another people (who live in the desert) that fight demons every night. Their leader, Jardir decides it’s time to unite the people against the demons and moved to start conquering the Greenlands. This book seemed to mostly be preparation for the conflict between the two ‘Deliverers’, and the initial confrontation of a stronger demon force.
Some parts of the plot were slow to me (partly due to my insistence of reading and enjoying every word of this book). I feel like we haven’t moved forward much in the bigger story- we still don’t know who The Deliverer is (or if there is one), the people are still not united (and Krasia has not moved beyond Everam’s Bounty) and the demons still require defeating. I will say that I found the last third of the book very hard to put down (I was even reading at the gym, up until the minute my class started).
Plot Score: 3/5
Location, Location, Location
This book takes place in, what I imagine to be, a post apocoplyse Earth. I love when there are little remnants of civilization – roads, technology lost, etc.
There are many types of Demons – sand, rock, snow, mind, flame, clay, wind, lightening, field, stone, swamp, and they (normally) match the geographical location in which they rise.
There are two distinct people in the book- the greenlanders (which have a European culture), and the Krasains (who have a middle eastern culture). The balance of cultures is so interesting- you really get to see and understand each culture, the differences and the similarities.
Location Score: 4/5
Characters and Relationships
Arlen- is the underdog that I cheered for, he seemed more accepting of who he is in this book. He has gone back to being called Arlen Bales, and “Don’t believe the Deliverer exists at all, save perhaps as a symbol all may aspire to.” I hope he does realize that the people need a strong leader, and even though he doesn’t want it, he may have to step up and be that leader.
Renna-is the underdog I wanted to go away. It’s not that I don’t like her, it’s that I don’t like her for Arlen. I’m still holding out for Arlen and Leesha. Renna is a little too country (growling at people for looking at her) and she just makes bad decisions (like eating demon meat after Arlen told her not to- then hiding it from him). Her view of magic seems a little naive, as she thinks that “magic always left things better than it found them”, but I think magic comes with a price, and she should be ready to pay.
Inevera- when reading her backstory, I rooted for her, but it was like watching a train wreck, you see the exact moment she turns that corner from innocent child to power hungry dama’ting. Perhaps if she had one friend, or if her brother had lived, things could have been different.
Abban- this guy has a master plan. If he wasn’t so selfish I’d think he was the deliver. I like his perspective on the religion- he knows some of the reasoning behind the laws against eating pork (Someone attempted to poison Kaji with pork), and drinking (Kaji’s warriors lost a battle because of a hangover).
Rojer- he is a star. I was as amazed as Leesha at his growth. From awkward to awesome, his mastery of his fiddle and the embracing of his situation made him a strong character. His relationship with his wives is great, love the compromises they make for each other.
Citizens of Hallows Creek- I felt so proud of Hollows Creek, they took everything they learned and started taking control of the night. However, there concern for each other at times delays the story. For example, when the Hallow goes out to battle the demons at waning, there is a lot of time spent arguing about who is going to do what. Seems like they should spend less time arguing and more time fighting.
Corelings- We learn that there are 7 princes (and one is the consort) and 1 Queen. Since two pricelings died in the last story, the 7 princes came up to put the humans in their place. It was interesting to see they had their own political battles and hierarchy.
All the characters are all very complex, and beyond simple caricatures. They each have strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes you root for them, and sometimes you just want to slap them. I believe this is one of the best books I’ve ever read for developing real people, and not cariactures of people.
I did feel there were too many characters. I can barely keep up with all of Jardirs family (and obviously, he can’t keep track of his 70+ kids). Next time I will bookmark the dictionary section so I can refer to it as needed (Although I have ordered an autographed copy, I read the book electronically).
Characters Score: 5/5
Life Lessons (fka Bigger Meaning)
I think there are two major themes to this book, one deals with cultural tolerance, and the other with religion:
– Cultural warfare. “Their holy book, the Evejah, is the basis for their entire culture, and as he Krasians conquer the south land, they press Evejan law in its people…….taking away their children to be indoctrinated fully. Even if they cease their advance now, in a generation everyone in their territory will be Evejan, quadrupling their numbers.” This reminded me of how slavery in America was so devestating- because in addition to the physical domination, there was mental domination. In this situation, the Krasians did not make the Greenlanders slaves, but they did take their kids to indoctrinate them.
– Religion. Everyone is focused on identifying the deliverer. It’s human nature to want something bigger than us that will protect us and our loved ones when we can’t do it. We find deliverers in Jesus, Mohammad, Krishna, etc. I think Arlan has the right idea- “The Deliverer is not born. He is made” We have to find strength within ourselves.
Here were some of my favorite quotes in the book about religion (that ring true in the ‘real’ world):
“Krasian holy book is the same as in the Canon, and like us, some of them are preachier than others…and some are hypocrites”
“Not much difference between Holy Men and Jongleurs..They spin the same old ale stories and tampweed tales over and over, bedazzling bumpkins and half-wits to help them forget the pain of life”
Bigger Meaning Score: 4/5
Opening Line: Inevera and her brother Soli sat in the sunlight.
This book is beautifully written- I actually felt a passage in the book, that describes Rojer’s playing, reflected how this book was built:
“He started slowly, a long improvisation around the opening notes of the tune. It was soft at first, but as he layered in more and more of the true melody, he let it grow louder…When the melody was complete, Rojer let the fiddle grow quiet again, and began assembling notes anew…he built the complexity and volume back to its former height and beyond…”
Style Score: 4/5
– Origin story of demons. Why do the wards work against them?
-Is Jardir really dead? I am hoping that Arlen has done some trick to take Jardir to the Core, so he can see what they are up against and agree to work together.
-I keep wondering why Everam won’t help his people? The true battle is between Everam and Nie (if they exist at all), and it seems silly to make their creations fight it out.
-Is anyone else annoyed at the Renna and Arlen pairing? Now that they are married, Renna would have to die for Arlen to end up with Leesha…but it seems like she’s going to be tied to Jardir, but I can’t see her being one of his many wives, and he probably won’t give up Inevera
Total Score and Recommendation
20/25- Without a doubt, read it!