The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett


Rating: 3 Stars

The great horn sounded.


At night, the world turns into a nightmarish place. As soon as the last rays of the sun disappear, the corelings rise, demons whose only goal is to kill humans. Humans hide behind wards, praying they won’t fail and let the corelings in.

Once, humans were able to fight back, but the wards of power have been lost and now humanity is on the brink of destruction. Arlen, a survivor of a demon attack, works as a messenger, braving the night, burning with the desire to fight back.


I liked this book. It had a great idea, some really good characters and a world I’d love to explore. However, there were three things that really annoyed me.

Arlen is just a bit too good at what he does. People die after just a few minutes outside with the corelings, but when he was just a boy he survives a bunch of nights. When he learns to fight them, none of his errors have any consequences, he’s just a natural at beating deamons. I guess it was just a tad too easy for him.

The tactic worked against the demons, though, for it allowed Arlen to focus upon them one at a time. As the first reached for him, he stepped right up, inside its grasp, and boxed its ears.

Every woman is always in danger of being raped. There seem to be zero nice guys around (except our intrepid heroes). It was horrible reading about every single man gaping at Leesha – and worse.

I am saving him from himself, she thought each time she dosed his food, for what man wished to be a rapist? But the truth was, she felt little remorse.

Also, the writing style was sometimes very disconnected. It was difficult getting the emotional distance to the characters closed and there was a lot of infodumping. A lot.

“As always,” Ragen said. “Euchor needs Angiers’ wood to fuel his refineries, and grain to feed his people. Rhinebeck needs Miln’s metal and salt. They have to trade to survive, but instead of making it easy on themselves, they spend all their time trying to cheat each other, especially when a shipment is lost to corelings on the road.”

Nonetheless, the world was interesting, with every city having its own character. I really liked the idea of the wards and the demons. And I absolutely adored Bruna. Leesha’s teacher, the oldest woman in the world, she was the best character ever. She was funny, she knew what she wanted, she was deliciously grumpy.


Interesting characters in an interesting world. Looking forward to the next in the series.



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