Book Review: "The Daylight War" by Peter V Brett
Per tradition, here is your spoiler warning. This is the third book in a series so there will be much more spoilers than usual. If you plan to read Brett's series, and have not reached this installment of the Demon Cycle Series, click out of this page now. I mean that extra this time, because I will be talking about this book's ending, and the events of previous books which obviously means MAJOR spoilers. On to the review:
On the night of the new moon, the demons rise in force, seeking the deaths of two men, both of whom have the potential to become the fabled Deliverer, the man prophesied to reunite the scattered remnants of humanity in a final push to destroy the demon corelings once and for all.
Arlen Bales was once an ordinary man, but now he has become something more—the Warded Man, tattooed with eldritch wards so powerful they make him a match for any demon. Arlen denies he is the Deliverer at every turn, but the more he tries to be one with the common folk, the more fervently they believe. Many would follow him, but Arlen’s path threatens to lead to a dark place he alone can travel to, and from which there may be no returning.
The only one with hope of keeping Arlen in the world of men, or joining him in his descent into the world of demons, is Renna Tanner, a fierce young woman in danger of losing herself to the power of demon magic.Ahmann Jardir has forged the warlike desert tribes of Krasia into a demon-killing army and proclaimed himself Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer. He carries ancient weapons—a spear and a crown—that give credence to his claim, and already vast swaths of the green lands bow to his control.
But Jardir did not come to power on his own. His rise was engineered by his First Wife, Inevera, a cunning and powerful priestess whose formidable demon bone magic gives her the ability to glimpse the future. Inevera’s motives and past are shrouded in mystery, and even Jardir does not entirely trust her.Once Arlen and Jardir were as close as brothers. Now they are the bitterest of rivals. As humanity’s enemies rise, the only two men capable of defeating them are divided against each other by the most deadly demons of all—those lurking in the human heart.
Book #3 of the Demon Cycle series
There's always a million and one ways I could praise Brett's books, but I'll keep it focused on what was incredible in this one, specifically. The Daylight War gives us an intimate, in-depth look into Jardir's illustrious wife, Inevara. Her past, her involvement in the events of the previous books and the true nature of her motivations. This is once again where Brett demonstrates his masterful ability to write excellent characters his audience can't help but stand behind.
When I read the second book of The Demon Cycle, The Desert Spear, I sang the same tune about Jardir. I hated Jardir due to the impression Brett gave me from the character's appearance in the first book. The brutal Shar'Dama Ka who betrayed Arlen and stole the spear of Kaji couldn't possibly be redeemable...until Brett used the second book to justify Jardir's actions with a polite reminder to his audience that all of his characters have mankind's survival at heart.
Now the same can be said of Inevara. I once found the diabolical Damajah to be a headache every time she flaunted across the page. Now however, Brett has helped me reach the understanding that Inevara is what this doomed world needed to save it. She climbed the ranks of a society that objectified her, manipulated the circumstances to bring her doomed world a deliverer and did everything in her power and more to ensure her husband, Jardir, every advantage he would need to fight the corelings and unify their country. She's quite literally the self-made woman behind the "deliverer man."
Understanding Inevara's motivations and the decisions she made up to this point was exceedingly important to the end of this book, especially since we end up seeing how both ultimately render the events at the end of this book completely unavoidable. Jardir's inability to stifle his better nature results in his sparing Arlen's life. We learn in this book that it was Inevara who told him that his becoming the deliverer depended upon his taking Arlen's life. For all her fortune telling through her dice, Inevara could not predict that her husband would give in fully to his role as the deliverer as she did his guidance. As a result, we are faced with the brutal and heart wrenching ending that literally left me in tears.
Let's talk about that ending. (If you're still here after the spoiler warning, It's all on you) It's always a win in my book when I'm grieving for a character I had initially been made to hate. When it came down to Arlen and Jardir finally facing each other in battle, I had no idea what was going to happen at the end. I personally was hoping for a coreling prince to interrupt them but sobered from that hope really quick. That being said, when Arlen set to utilizing his ability to evaporate during this duel, I had a pretty good idea of how it was going to end. Being correct saved me no heartache. Jardir dying is horrible, I love Arlen to death, but it always hurts when one beloved character kills another.
Although I'm definitely ready to read the next book in the series, I'm relieved that I will have the time to recover from this tragedy Brett has put me through. All joking aside, another phenomenal book from Brett and I'm ready for more.