I’m a notoriously picky reader. Ask anyone I critique for. If there’s a major flaw in a book I can’t get past, I stop reading.
So when a book comes along that exceeds my already high expectations, I can’t help but shout it out to the world. That book is Peter V. Brett’s debut novel, THE WARDED MAN. Yes, this is Peter’s first published book. They got almost everything right.
Why did I like it? The answer may surprise you. It’s not overdone. The writing is simple, crisp, and seamless. Peter doesn’t get all flowery and overload readers with literary extravagance. His writing is rugged and accesible for everyone. His characters jump off the page, even those we barely get to know. I found myself identifying with many of them and nodding my head in approval. We understand their frustrations, and fear with the world they’re forced to live in. We also understand why they want to change it. Readers are treated to a well planned and flowing story. By the end of The Warded Man, I couldn’t wait to read the Desert Spear, it’s sequel (which I immediately ordered).
The only minor complaint I had was the use of sex as a weapon. Not an easy topic to address. Something I understand first hand. I recently changed a near rape from my WIP because it didn’t feel right. While I understand Peter’s dilemma–creating a world where re-populating it means more than cultivating it–I just wish he would have found a few different ways to get these points across without the constant threat of rape. Most of the time I didn’t have a problem. But there was one spot where I felt uncomfortable. That’s saying a lot from a horror writer/movie lover. I’ve seen it all. If you plan on reading and are uncomfortable with sexual situations, you’ve been warned. To be fair to Peter, it’s his world and he can do what he wants. The threat of rape is a very real thing in any world, ours included. If nothing esle, it’s up to each author to decide how to approach such a sensitive topic. I plan on reading, and enjoying, the rest of the series. I hope you do too.
Stodgy Epic Fantasy purists may have a problem (no long winded world building here) with Peter’s direct writing style, but I found his voice refreshing. Readers looking for a great story that will captivate their imaginations won’t be able to put this book down. Plus, there’s demons–scary, sharp toothed, want to kill everyone demons! Being a writer, I find the best books don’t just captivate me, but inspire me to tell better stories. The Warded Man did just that. That, my friends, is magic. Pick up a copy today. You won’t regret it.
Peter’s official website can be found here: petervbrett.com
Click on this link to find Peter on Twitter. He’s a pretty cool guy to talk to. Just don’t get all stalkerish or he’ll summon some corelings to eat your face.