The Painted Man
Eleven-year-old Arlen lives with his parents on their small farmstead, half a day's ride from the isolated hamlet of Tibbet's Brook.
As dusk falls upon Arlen's world, a strange mist rises from the ground; a mist that promises a violent death to any foolish enough to brave the coming darkness, for hungry corelings - demons that cannot be harmed by mortal weapons - materialize from the vapours to feed on the living. As the sun sets, people have no choice but to take shelter behind magical wards and pray that their protection holds until the creatures dissolve with the first signs of dawn.
When Arlen's life is shattered by the demon plague, he is forced to see that it is fear, rather than the demons, which truly cripples humanity. Believing that there is more to his world than to live in constant fear, he must risk leaving the safety of his wards to discover a different path.
Reviewed on 21st September 2014
Peter V Brett's first Demon Cycle book sets up the world impressively, introducing the demons that emerge from the ground at night, and a variety of characters whose lives we follow.
At first, the characters feel a little similar, but soon one seems to become the main focus and the others shift into supporting roles until the climax. I felt that this balance could have been managed a little better throughout - either sticking to the pattern from the start of long segments with each, or alternating more frequently throughout.
The narrative is a little simple in places, and often big moments of change for the characters occur during brief moments of introspection rather than feeling entirely natural.
Overall though I found this really enjoyable and am looking forward to catching up with the rest of the series.