THE DAYLIGHT WAR by Peter V. Brett — a Review

Looking at the covers of Brett’s books of The Demon Cycle, a reader will get a good idea of who the protagonists are. Arlen Bales, Ahmann Jardir, and now Inevera. Like the books before it, THE DAYLIGHT WAR retells events from a different point of view. As some events for retold the third time, this installment was repetitive and a little slower than the others. The third time was not the charm. However, despite these shortcomings, there are still plenty of charming, powerful, and astounding moments in this book.

Like the previous books, readers are treated to the cover character’s backstory. In this case, we learn about Inevera’s childhood and how a young girl became a powerful Dama’ting, and eventually Ahmann’s wife and Damaji’ting. Yes, this means we hear about events for the second or even third time. And to make matters worse, if readers got a dollar every time Brett used a lodestone-based simile, they’d get their purchase price back and then some.

Despite all that, Brett excels at transforming, confounding, and refining our understanding of characters. Whereas Inevera previously appeared mysterious, devious, and sinister, Brett humanizes her and makes her sympathetic. Ahmann looks more dependent and less the strong leader. Abban becomes more Machiavellian and spiteful. Rojer becomes a man (for fans of Robert Jordan’s Eye of the World, is it me, or does Rojer remind you of Mat?). And the Warded Man remembers what it means to be human, to be just Arlen Bales instead of the Deliverer.

I have heard complaints that nothing happens in THE DAYLIGHT WAR. I disagree. I think a lot of very important things happen during this installment. To use a chess metaphor, I think all the pieces are finally in place for the end game to commence. After this volume, things are going to change dramatically.

And speaking of dramatic moments, I can’t remember the last time I read a cliffhanger like THE DAYLIGHT WAR. It left me slack-jawed and wide-eyed. I have some theories, but I want to keep this spoiler-free. Let’s just say that Brett sure does know how to keep readers hooked and salivating for the next volume, THE SKULL THRONE.

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