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Werthead

The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett

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[url="http://thewertzone.blogspot.com/2008/09/painted-man-by-peter-v-brett.html"]From the blog:[/url]

[quote]The Painted Man (aka The Warded Man in the USA) is the first book of The Demon Trilogy and is this year's big debut fantasy series from HarperCollins Voyager. I hadn't heard of it prior to receiving the review copy, which is a shame as it's an excellent debut novel that can stand alongside a number of other recent high-profile debuts quite comfortably. I enjoyed it more than Ruckley's Winterbirth, and at about the same quality of enjoyment as Abercrombie's The Blade Itself, for example.

The Painted Man is set in a world where people live in terror of the night. When the sun goes down, demons - or 'corelings' - from below the ground emerge on the surface to kill and feast on human flesh until morning comes. Humanity has discovered powerful defensive magic in the form of wards which can protect their homes, or even patches of ground, but this magic is not always perfect and the different varieties of demons have different ways to overcome the wards.

Eleven-year-old Arlen lives on his parent's farmstead, but a coreling attack leaves his family decimated and many friends and neighbours dead. Despising his father's cowardice for getting his mother killed, Arlen runs away from home, surviving by carving wards into the dirt every night. Eventually he reaches safety in a big city and finds a new, loving family...but memories of his childhood continue to haunt him and he becomes obsessed with the idea of leading humanity to an ultimate victory over the demons, to stop cowering in fear behind walls and wards and go on the offensive.

Meanwhile, thirteen-year-old Leesha is set up for a prosperous life, ready to inherit her father's business and marry one of the most popular boys in her village. However, her mother's bitterness and her betrothed's error in judgement instead leads her on a very different path as she learns the arts of herblore and healing from the town's wise woman.

An entire town is obliterated by a coreling attack, leaving only a single survivor: a three-year-old boy named Rojer. A visiting Jongleur decides to take Rojer her his wing as his apprentice, setting them both on an dangerous path.

The Painted Man is a page-turning book. Whilst at heart it doesn't necessarily journey too far from established tropes (it even starts in a village), it mixes them up nicely. The land of Thesa owes as much to Westerns in its scenery than to traditional epic fantasy, whilst the ward magic is notably different to the wizards 'n' warlocks found in other works. The notions of paranoia and fear, and the price of overcoming that, are also explored in-depth. The characters are likable and interesting. To some extent they follow the traditional 'callow youths come good' model, but the central character of Arlen takes a rather different course and there are hints that his dark and dangerous journey have left him a scarred and bitter character, for all that he finds some happiness at the end of the book. Brett's worldbuilding is pretty good, best exemplified when in a sequence lasting just a few chapters he takes Arlen into a burning desert kingdom and is able to paint it in as much detail and bring it to life as well as does the Free Cities and surrounding villages where the bulk of the narrative takes place. The plotting is also nicely done, with a huge amount of incident and character-building set up in the book, along with a reasonable amount of exposition. The book also comes to a definitive climax rather than a cliffhanger, meaning that whilst there is clearly plenty more to come you're not left hanging in mid-air for a year for the next instalment.

The Painted Man (****) is a most enjoyable novel with an interesting premise that is well-developed and explored. I look forward to reading the sequels. The novel is available now from Voyager in the [url="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Painted-Man-Demon-Trilogy/dp/0007276133/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1220724703&sr=8-1"]UK[/url], and will be published (as The Warded Man) in the [url="http://www.amazon.com/Warded-Man-Peter-V-Brett/dp/0345503805/ref=/ref=cm_cd_f_pb_t"]USA[/url] by Del Rey in March 2009. The author has a website [url="http://www.petervbrett.com/news/default.html"]here[/url].[/quote]

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Well, I agree. I've seen very few advance reviews, which seems strange and something of a missed opportunity by Voyager. It's been a relatively quite arrival but one of the best epic fantasies I've touched in the last 3 years. It's really well-written, great style and atmosphere. I'm just a few chapters in but I really love some of the concepts he uses ( such as the Messengers and how Arlen becomes The Painted Man) and the world the people are living in. Because you move swiftly through the years of the characters lives the young starting age is not an issue.

I understand that the second book is called [b]The Desert Spear [/b]and will be out a year from now, or a bit sooner even.

The US release early next year should probably see this book get some major buzz.

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That's nice to hear, as I just received an autographed copy from Voyager. :)

Patrick

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One more thing: For those who bought the book ( unless the arc is the same), it's got a great feel to to it. It's a small hardcover, about 3cm shorter than all the other hardcovers, and seems to ohave excellent paper quality as well. It's a size I would actually prefer.

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I haven't seen that many advance reviews either which is odd considering how much Voyager say they want to push this one...
I didn't think I'd enjoy 'The Painted Man' as much as I did, it's not so different from any other trope ridden fantasy but I ended up getting a lot of the characters and what they were all about. I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for the sequel :thumbsup:

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I was planning on waiting for more reviews before I bought this one, but your review has pushed me to order it straight away.

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sounds interesting, hopefully a copy will come my way at some point, but Harpers Collins (at least in the US) seems to rely more on 'reader reviews' then sending out advance copies to bloggers.

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[quote name='kcf' post='1509580' date='Sep 8 2008, 12.08']sounds interesting, hopefully a copy will come my way at some point, but Harpers Collins (at least in the US) seems to rely more on 'reader reviews' then sending out advance copies to bloggers.[/quote]
[quote name='Werthead']be published (as The Warded Man) in the USA by Del Rey in March 2009. The author has a website [url="http://www.petervbrett.com/news/default.html"]here[/url].[/quote]

I saw one small blog post (probably FantasyBookCritic) showing a book cover and link to the author's page and was intrigued then.

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Ah, well Del Rey isn't a problem then, so I should get a copy in a few months.

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[quote name='kcf' post='1511007' date='Sep 9 2008, 12.11']Ah, well Del Rey isn't a problem then, so I should get a copy in a few months.[/quote]

I'd hazard a guess that maybe not even that long. I'm pretty sure I saw it on a list for next month but didn't really pay attention as I had the UK edition already.

I liked it but didn't love it. It is one of those books that I think work in hindsight better or worse once I've read the next one if that makes sense. Basically quite a bit of potential I'm still waiting to see be realized or squandered.

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After thinking about the book a bit more, I realised that there were some interesting similarities to the [b]Wheel of Time[/b].

On his blog, Brett points out to being a big WoT fan. As with Sanderson, it's interesting we are seeing authors influenced by Jordan (and, with Abercrombie and Lynch, GRRM) beginning to break through now. The main similarities would be a desire to use established tropes with a slightly different spin, the construction of a magic system with clearly defined, physics-like rules which uses pre-existing ideas but is recast as something different (with elemental magic becoming the One Power, and rune magic becoming the wards of Brett's work) and the creation of a home in rural idyll which certainly isn't perfect but is shown as something to be defended and protected (the villages of this book representing the Two Rivers and the Shire). The key point is that the author has to pay homage to earlier works without becoming derivative of them, and I think Brett achieves this quite well. The 'chosen one' hero goes down a very different (and much darker) path to what I was expecting.

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Adam, wondering if you had a chance to read Sam Enthoven's Black Tattoo, which is a Horror/Epic Fantasy hybrid (a cool concept, poorly executed) and how you'd compare the two. If you haven't read the Enthoven, would you consider Brett's novel a Horror/Fantasy hybrid?

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The fantasy elements are front and centre, but there could be said to be a horror element present, yes. I'm not sure if I'd go as far as saying it's a hybrid. The main characters take a proactive stance against the demons pretty early on, whilst for horror I think they'd have to be a lot more helpless against the threat.

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There's already a listing for The Desert Spear:

[url="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Desert-Spear-Peter-V-Brett/dp/0007276168/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221634079&sr=1-1"]http://www.amazon.co.uk/Desert-Spear-Peter...4079&sr=1-1[/url]

Comes out August 3rd.

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[quote name='kcf' post='1511007' date='Sep 9 2008, 12.11']Ah, well Del Rey isn't a problem then, so I should get a copy in a few months.[/quote]


Update:

I received my copy of [i]The Warded Man[/i] in yesterday's mail pick up but as it came to my office it might have been there on friday as I was out that day. So US review copies are out there now.

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[quote name='Calibandar' post='1508262' date='Sep 7 2008, 06.03']One more thing: For those who bought the book ( unless the arc is the same), it's got a great feel to to it. It's a small hardcover, about 3cm shorter than all the other hardcovers, and seems to ohave excellent paper quality as well. It's a size I would actually prefer.[/quote]

Oooh, so did [i]Map of Dreams[/i] and I loved the way that book fit in my hands. I wonder if the US version will be the same as the UK as far as size is concerned.

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I just saw [url="http://www.amazon.com/Warded-Man-Peter-V-Brett/dp/0345503805/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223321375&sr=1-2"]this[/url] on amazon for The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett to be released in March. Is this the same book but published under a different name?

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[quote name='beniowa' post='1544812' date='Oct 6 2008, 12.31']I just saw [url="http://www.amazon.com/Warded-Man-Peter-V-Brett/dp/0345503805/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223321375&sr=1-2"]this[/url] on amazon for The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett to be released in March. Is this the same book but published under a different name?[/quote]
Yep.

About 130 pages in, and liking it so far.

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Dude, Myshkin, get out of my head! I was looking for this thread, got distracted, and the next thing I know you've bumped it. :lol:

Anyway, I'm only about 50 pages in but so far it seems very simplistic.

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