Daylight War by Peter V. Brett
In 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.
Daylight War brings us one step closer to the ultimate showdown between demon-kind and humanity. Marking the midway point in this 5-book series, Daylight War sets to prepare humanity and set the stage for the war that is now inevitable. We learn the past of Inevera, Jardir’s first-wife, the mounting tension between the invading Krasians and the northern Forts escalates, Arlen explores the depth of the magic he is only beginning to truly understand, and, of course, the two potential Deliverers, Arlen Bales and Jardir, meet for the first time since the latter’s betrayal in the desert all those years ago. Comparing the previous books to Daylight War is a lot like comparing a super-soaker to a nuclear bomb. Peter V. Brett has taken his writing to the extreme in every sense of the word.
When we last left the Demon Cycle books, the north was deeply entrenched from the oncoming flood of Krasians, warriors who lived by their spear and died taking demons with them in the night. Two Mind Demons, princes of demon-kind, had risen on the new moon and wreaked havoc on both Arlen and Jardir. Both of who only barely managed to escape with their lives. Now, Arlen travels with his promised Renna Tanner and Leesha and Rojer are busy trying to learn valuable intelligence about the Krasians by staying with Jardir in his newly established territory.
Daylight War wastes no time, beginning just as the previous volume left off with Arlen tending the wounds of his beloved horse Twilight Dancer after the attack by the Mind Demon. It’s here, in the beginning that the reader is treated to Arlen’s newly acquired skills in magic, as he is able draw magic from his body to power wards he draws in the air, a stolen trick from his battle.
One of the hallmarks of Peter V. Brett’s writing is his choice to explore the childhood/upbringing of characters in each of his novels. Desert Spear, the second volume, managed to alter my view of Jardir from the horrid, heartless man I thought he was from the first book to an understandable soul that I actually enjoyed immensely.
This look into the past continues in Daylight War offering readers a view into the life of Inevera, Jardir’s first-wife and puppeteer to a surprising amount of events. While it was unable to alter my view on Inevera such as it did with Jardir, nevertheless, these sections provided insight into many events that shaped Jardir from a new angle. This coupled with the detailed look into the once secret life of the Dama’tings, Krasian Holy Women who hold the power to predict the future in their demon-bone dice.
Of particular note is the relationship between Arlen and Renna Tanner. Arlen has been in a self-imposed exile the majority of his life, believing himself too tainted to be amongst regular folk. Renna Tanner is the first to break him from this prison and join him, even painting wards on her body to mimic the supernatural abilities exhibited by her promised. The relationship between these two is inspiring and beautifully written, conveying a true sense of love and trust that is hard to put into words, in this review let alone in the actual text. The fact that Brett was able to make me care about these people, and their status as a couple, should be applauded for it is truly the work of a master.
As I read there was one thing that I looked forward to above all else, the inevitable reunion of Arlen and Jardir. Once they shared a bond greater than brothers, until Jardir betrayed and attempted to murder Arlen for control of an ancient spear that signaled the Deliverer. Brett tantalized his fans by revealing they would reunite in this book and without giving away any spoilers, it was everything I hoped it would be. Deliverer fought against Deliverer for the right to lead humankind against the demons. To say Brett leaves thing at a cliffhanger is an understatement of magnificent proportions.
It says something that I was able to devour this book in a matter of only a couple days. All of my free-time went to these pages as I was ever-excited to turn the page and see what happens next. Brett has not only replicated the success of his previous novels but has surpassed them, creating a nonstop thrill ride to the end. It is mentally exhausting knowing that I have to wait as long as I do in order to get my hands on the next book. Although, I may just have to content myself with beginning the series anew, it’s that good.