Author: Peter V. Brett
Series: Demon Trilogy, book 1
Recommendation: A solid epic fantasy novel in full traditions of the genre.
Summary: Arlen leaves home at the age of 12 after his mother is killed by corelings, demons who hunt humans at night. He travels with a Messenger to the large city of Miln and apprentices to a ward maker in hopes to become a Messenger himself. However, his destiny may yet be much bigger than that.
Reactions: I have seen a slew of positive reviews when this book first came out and it wasn't a disappointment. The Warded Man is a very well-written debut in the traditions of the genre. The premise is simple.
Three children grow up in three different towns. Arlen is a farmer's son, who after witnessing his mother's death and his father's cowardice runs away from home to learn how to become a Messenger. The only profession that allows a person to travel at night. Leesha is pretty girl who gets apprenticed to the old Herb Gatherer, Bruna, to learn the healer's craft and other secrets. Rojer's parents are killed when he is yet small and he gets apprenticed by a Jongleur who was passing his village when the attack occurred. The three heroes grow and learn their trade, awaiting their role in the events to come.
The writing itself is engaging and snappy and I had no trouble finishing the book. Things progress well and there are adventures as well as character development which I enjoyed. The book is obviously planned as an introduction to a larger story with the world building and character introductions taking up most of the book. The real story is clearly meant to be developed in the next books in the series.
My biggest issue with the book is how much it is a staple of the genre. Child in obscurity grows up to learn of his/her power and take up the arms to save humanity from the great evil. It's like every other epic fantasy out there and while the world building aspect is interesting and slightly different, the book really doesn't have much to make it stand out among other epic fantasy novels out there.
I enjoyed the good prose, fast paced action, and the world building in the book, but the cliched nature of the characters and the story left me wishing for something more unique. I would recommend this book to anyone who's not as burned out on child-turn-prodigy epic fantasy stories as I am.