It is always hard to write a review for the later books in a series without giving spoilers, yet still having the review make sense. So be forewarned this review might give a few subtle hints away. OK now that the warning has been given………
Can you fucking believe when Inevera gets killed in book 3? I thought that was a brave but strange move by the author. Even more so to have her die from falling over her shoe laces and breaking her neck while she was about to have a baby? ! I mean wow I did not see that coming.
What? Was that not subtle? I am just joking of course everyone knows that right? No? Well I was kidding about the death and the pregnancy. Speaking of pregnancy though, I really want to know how much of the Core was written while Peter’s wife was pregnant. In the book three characters are pregnant and the subtle ( About as subtle as I just was) jokes about eating and temper had me laughing out loud. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they had him sleeping on the couch.
But back to the review. I read a lot of books so I couldn’t remember off hand who was alive or pregnant or anything else so in preparation for The Core the fifth and final book of the Demon Cycle series, I did a complete re-listen to the Graphic Audio versions of the first 4 books. I have got to applaud the epic fucking awesomeness of all GA books but this series just blows me away with the quality of the voice cast and recording. I can’t wait to get the Core in GA so I have the whole series. I did however think that Pete Bradbury did a great job with the regular AB. The recording would get louder and softer sometimes like the microphone was moved, but it wasn’t jarring or anything. https://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-Core-Audiobook/B06Y6G8NZW
But for those that haven’t just caught up like me and those sad, sad people that haven’t even started the series I will do a bit of a recap by posting the blurbs for each book and then once we are caught up I’ll talk about book 5.
The Warded Man
As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.
The Desert Spear
Legends tell of a Deliverer: a general who once bound all mankind into a single force that defeated the demons. But is the return of the Deliverer just another myth? Perhaps not.
Out of the desert rides Ahmann Jardir, who has forged the desert tribes into a demon-killing army. He has proclaimed himself Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer, and he carries ancient weapons–a spear and a crown–that give credence to his claim.
But the Northerners claim their own Deliverer: the Warded Man, a dark, forbidding figure.
Once, the Shar’Dama Ka and the Warded Man were friends. Now they are fierce adversaries. Yet as old allegiances are tested and fresh alliances forged, all are unaware of the appearance of a new breed of demon, more intelligent—and deadly—than any that have come before.
The Daylight War
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 him 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.
The Skull Throne
The Skull Throne of Krasia stands empty.
Built from the skulls of fallen generals and demon princes, it is a seat of honor and ancient, powerful magic, keeping the demon corelings at bay. From atop the throne, Ahmann Jardir was meant to conquer the known world, forging its isolated peoples into a unified army to rise up and end the demon war once and for all.
But Arlen Bales, the Warded Man, stood against this course, challenging Jardir to a duel he could not in honor refuse. Rather than risk defeat, Arlen cast them both from a precipice, leaving the world without a savior, and opening a struggle for succession that threatens to tear the Free Cities of Thesa apart.
In the south, Inevera, Jardir’s first wife, must find a way to keep their sons from killing each other and plunging their people into civil war as they strive for glory enough to make a claim on the throne.
In the north, Leesha Paper and Rojer Inn struggle to forge an alliance between the duchies of Angiers and Miln against the Krasians before it is too late.
Caught in the crossfire is the duchy of Lakton–rich and unprotected, ripe for conquest.
All the while, the corelings have been growing stronger, and without Arlen and Jardir there may be none strong enough to stop them. Only Renna Bales may know more about the fate of the missing men, but she, too, has disappeared…
OK so for those of you not taking notes I did a casting call and found a few goblins to fill the rolls of the main characters. We have Arlen Bales
who is Married to Renna
and Ahmann Jardir
who is married to Inevera, (and like 15 other wives)
Rojer Inn and his wives
and Leesha Paper
And I couldn’t help myself from casting this last one even though she is not a major character.
ALL CAUGHT UP NOW?
I cringe when most authors have a made-up language that is used a lot in their books. In this series there is the Krasian language and yes, I suppose I did cringe at first with this series but Peter did two very important things to make it not only easy but fit the story perfectly. First Before a single Krasian word is said we are invested in the characters. It’s not until book 2 that much is said Secondly, he made it sound familiar even though it is made up. It has a strong Arabic taste to it so it was easy to pick up on.
There are however, 2 words I think he kind of messed up with Ala = the name of the planet/dirt. I thought they were talking about god for the longest time. The one that really confused me was Inevera. It translates to gods will/fate or something Inevitable. So, if you knew a thing would happen you might say it was Inevera. That part is fine it even makes sense, but it is also the name of Jardir’s wife. When Inevera says its Inevera or someone says it’s Inevera to Inevera, the first few times I was like what the fuck?
I made this animation to demonstrate how awesome Graphic Audio is and so you can hear a bit of the Krasian tongue. This is the story of creation told in book 2 The Desert Spear.
Here is a link to the GA series.
Now let’s talk about The Core. You know the book I am supposed to be reviewing here. (Just trying to remind myself) This one had a pretty grim feeling to it. Like humanity could be wiped from existence at any moment. That’s fitting since in the book …… humanity could be wiped from existence at any moment. Yes, the plan to go down to the core leaves the people up top in a pretty bad position and a lot of people die. I liked the tension that brought on and for about 9/10ths of the book I didn’t see how the series was going to be able to be finished in this book. That brings me to the one thing I didn’t like. The ending felt a bit rushed. Don’t get me wrong I actually liked the way it ended but it just felt like it happened to fast. How can a book that is 29 hours and 22 minutes long feel rushed, you may ask. It’s hard to explain but you will understand it when you read it.
Speaking of people dying there was a death at the end of book 4 that I had convinced myself for over a 2 years that it was faked. The person was being held as a prisoner and the faked death could have gotten him out of the city. I had convinced myself that was what had happened. But I was wrong. So, with such a long time assuring myself they were still alive the funeral was pretty emotional for me. What? Don’t look at me that way. I know it wasn’t a real person but….. fuck you it was like I lost a friend.
Give me a sec I need to collect myself now.
OK where was I? Oh yeah. One character that I didn’t like in the previous books was Briar. But his parts really stood out in the end and he became one of my favorites. I think that’s one of the things I loved about this whole series. How just about everyone grows so much. From the days when people had to hide in their homes behind the wards every night terrified they would fail to the bad ass warriors we see in this book is just awesome. Then at the end we see the worst of them (you will know who I mean when you read it) risking and/or giving their lives to save those they would have happily watch die before, is inspiring.
While the very ending could have had a bit more detail I think the series as a whole, ended pretty spectacularly. The Core was almost 30 hours of action that I finished in about 40 hours after starting. I couldn’t put it down. or turn it off whatever. While not quite the best book I have read this year, I will say this series as a whole is in my top 10 I have ever read. So, you should definitely pick up book one if you haven’t already, and if you have I really don’t need to say anything else. Once you know The Core is now out I am sure you will want to go get it. I give The Core by Peter V. Brett 5 out of 5 stars. This was truly a great series and I not only recommend it, I insist that you go read it!