One of my good friends has been trying to get me to read The Warded Man for well over a year now.
I’m ashamed it took me this long to get to it.
As I’ve been thinking about this book, one word that keeps coming to my mind is “heartfelt.” The Warded Man is both epic and dark, detailing the struggles of humanity as it fights for survival against a horde of demons that appears every night. Within that setting, though, are a cast of characters who care deeply about the world around them. Some are obsessed with fighting against the demons while others focus on healing.
I think special mention needs to be given to the character arc of the titular character, Arlen. Through the novel, Peter Brett lays the groundwork for one of the most interesting character arcs I’ve read in a while. It reads as a starkly realistic, yet hopeful transformation in the face of an overwhelming challenge.
Beyond the impressive character development, The Warded Man gives us a tour of a fascinating world, introducing us to different cultures and lands that respond to the worldwide crisis in different ways. Like much of my favorite fantasy, there are hints of greater, lost civilization in the ruins of the current one. I found the magical system to be wonderful and am very eager to see it develop in future stories.
Finally, credit must be given to the writing and structure of this story. While it is clearly the first book in a series, it tells a full story and keeps the pages turning one after another. I think I read this book in two or three days, which is much faster than I read most books.
This is a story I’d highly recommend.