Archive for Demon Cycle

kingdoms of dust [book review]

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , on May 13, 2017 by xi'an

Kingdoms of Dust is the third (and last?) book in the Isyllt Iskaldur (Necromancer) series, written by Amanda Downum. I had enjoyed very much the previous two volumes and was not aware of the existence of a third one, existence I only realised a few weeks ago when I prepared a bulk amazon associate ordering for my trip to Harvard. While being reunited with several characters from the previous books made reading Kingdoms of Dust definitely enjoyable, I found the plot too dry [no pun intended!] and the civilisation exposed through the story fairly caricaturesque, an almost Disneyesque Arabian universe whose economics remain unspecified. Which seems to happen a lot these days with the theme of warrior desert tribes with proto-Muslim religion(s) taking a share of the fantasy literature (as in the Demon Cycle and the Godspeaker trilogy). What I appreciated more was the psychological evolution of the main character Iskaldur from depression to an almost Christ-esque role, liberating most of the other major characters in the story. And the feature that somewhow there was no superlatively evil enemy to defeat, but a conjunction of ill-timed events to unravel.

The Daylight War

Posted in Books with tags , , , on April 27, 2013 by xi'an

This book by Peter Brett is the third in the Demon Cycle. It is so long (656 pages) that when a friend brought it to me here in the hospital I first thought it was a new trilogy! Then I imagined the book was long to allow the author to conclude. Only to realise at the last sentence that it was not the final volume!!!  This was not clear for me before starting reading The Daylight War… Even though I would still have gone through the book if only because this is an easy sickbed read.

There is so little action in this volume that one wonders why it took the author so many pages! And it seems that most of the space is taken by the same characters bickering again and again, and by the repetitive and boring details of their sex life… What happens is that Brett again chose to tell the same story but from another character’s point of view. This time it is Innerva, who is indeed a central figure in the series, but because she is very close to Jadir, on which the previous volume was based, the current feels very repetitive and not that necessary. I dread the incoming volumes if the author continues in this vein..! (I fear one book will be set from the demon’s viewpoint, when the structuration of those demons still is the weakest point of the novel.) The novelty in the plot is not much (warning, spoilers!): the Southern army led by Jadir does not make any move, settlers in the North not-led by Arlen (The Painted Man) are creating greatwards to protect their new cities and reluctantly fall back into a feudal system run by a far-away ruler, and the demons are getting much better organised (but only at full moon!) While Innerva gets a depth and consistence that the other female characters (like the ludicrous Leesha Paper) miss, and while the female counter-power in the sexist desert society is explained through her story, it does not bring much excitement simply because there is so little action. Furthermore, the nice scenario trick of having two prophetic saviours in competition somewhat wears out as they both grow into new powers that make both of them fit for the descriptions found in the holy books. The very final scene (spoiler!) fells very wrong because of those powers: what is the point in having a “fair” fight if your opponent can draw at will on his superpowers?

Hence, The Daylight War is not a terrific book in my opinion, even though it could have been, had the author built more on the complex societies he had devised and less on rather caricaturesque characters that have not deepened enough since the beginning of the series. Read at your own risk, considering that two more volumes are in the making!