The Desert Spear - Peter V. Brett I just realized my review of The Desert Spear is going to sound overly critical, but that isn't to say I disliked the book. Despite a slow start, I ended up enjoying it quite a bit, but it still paled in comparison to how I felt when I first picked up The Warded Man, the book that came before.

I'm not going to reveal more than what anyone can read for themselves in a synopsis of the book found on any bookseller website, so I think it's safe to say that it was clear from the start that Jardir, the Krasian leader we met back in the first book, is going to be the Warded Man's rival. Given the circumstances of how the last book ended, Jardir's character wasn't exactly likable, and to flip open The Desert Spear only to have it start off immediately with the story of his life was a disappointment to say the least. I'd wanted more Arlen, more Leesha, more Rojer!

After finishing the novel, however, I can sort of see why the author might have chosen to begin it this way. Still, in my opinion, devoting the entire first third of the book to Jardir was a bit too much. Getting through the first part was a trying experience; as fascinating as Brett made the Krasian culture, I soon grew tired of the stereotypes and the pages and pages of testosterone fueled raging.

But when I finally made it to where we catch up with our three Thesan heroes again, I was shocked to see how two-dimensional they had become. I was most disappointed with Leesha, who had been my favorite, because she seemed to have become supergirl overnight: beautiful and desirable beyond belief, adept at everything she puts her skills to, perfect in every way. Rojer irked me too, and I realized that what had made him interesting to me in the first book was his relationship with Arrick, his mentor. I remember Rojer's story of how he and Arrick first encountered each other was so powerful and touching that it brought tears to my eyes. No Arrick here meant that the dynamic was gone as well. Then it occurred to me that I felt much the same way about Leesah and Bruna.

Arlen fared better. I still think he's a great character, even though everyone else around him seems to have deteriorated into cliches. The less said about any secondary or support characters the better -- some of them, like Gared or Elona or even Jardir's wife have little depth to speak of.

Now the good stuff: I liked how Brett provided several "primer" moments to remind readers what had happened in the first book, good for people like me who forget certain details easily, even though it's been barely two weeks since I read The Warded Man. He could have done it more subtly, perhaps, but I appreciated not having to wrack my brain trying to remember something important.

And the best part of the book: the last 5%. While I felt the Warded Man had a strong start but fizzled out a bit at the end, I felt the opposite was true in the case of The Desert Spear. The ending Brett left us with is really good, full of action and crazy events that happen both in the north and in the south, and was almost enough to bump my rating up a full star to 4 out of 5. My excitement for this series had waned a little in the beginning, but thanks to the awesome ending, it's now back and I'm looking forward to the next book.

Edit: Oh...one more thing I want to add. Forget movies, this series would make a friggin' awesome RPG.