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92 of 101 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One for Gemmell fans
The Painted Man tells the tale of Arlen whom we meet as a 11 year old boy in the aftermath of a demon attack on the village of Tibbet's Brook. Arlen lives in a world where the coming of night brings the rise of the coreling , demons of various flavours ( wood near forests , stone in the highlands / mountain ranges and sand in the desert , you get the picture ) Humanity...
Published on 17 Oct 2009 by Allan Wells

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Painted Man, Peter V. Brett- Book Review
The novel takes place in Thesa, a world of magic and ancient legends. By day, the inhabitants of Thesa are driven hard to scratch a meagre living out of the earth and by night are tormented by the evil Corelings. Corelings are magical demons that appear every night to hunt humans. The Corelings come in many different forms such as fire, wood, wind and rock and the only...
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92 of 101 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One for Gemmell fans, 17 Oct 2009
By 
Allan Wells "The rusty dog inn" (Annan , Scotland) - See all my reviews
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The Painted Man tells the tale of Arlen whom we meet as a 11 year old boy in the aftermath of a demon attack on the village of Tibbet's Brook. Arlen lives in a world where the coming of night brings the rise of the coreling , demons of various flavours ( wood near forests , stone in the highlands / mountain ranges and sand in the desert , you get the picture ) Humanity has chosen to hide behind magical wards that these coreling cannot cross , living sheltered lives only during daylight hours.

Without spoiling the story tragedy strikes and Arlen leaves home, determined to not be cowed by the coreling , angry at humanity's inability or lack of willingness to take back the night .

The story is also told through 2 other POV's , Leesha is a 13 year old girl at the start of the book and lives in the woodcutting town of Cutters Hollow . Her fairytale existence is shattered with public humiliation and she ends up apprenticed to the hamlets healer, a crone almost as fearsome as the demons themselves.

The third and final POV is that of young Rojan , when his parent wards are breached his family is slaughtered and he is taken in by the a wandering jongleur ( master performer be it in music / magic or song ) He is taken to the city of Fort Angiers and becomes apprentice to Dukes own minstrel.

Now so far it all seems so far so farmboy/girl saves the world , and i guess in part it is, but the books strength lies in the characterisation, we see Arlen , Leesha and Rojen grow up in little vignettes , skipping forward a few years each time, we get to see Leesha become a woman and an accomplished healer ( and carrier of knowledge protected by the women of her trade) we see Rojen's struggle to support himself and his alcoholic mentor and we get to see Arlen grow to become a skilled ward maker who struggles to fight his inner demons (his desire to fight the coreling ) and eventually embarks on a career as a messenger , hunting for ways to fight the demons when he has the chance.

All in all the books has all the usual fantasy tropes , its largely predictable and it does absolutely nothing new...... However the strength lies in the way Brett has painted these characters and the absolute perfect pacing of the book . It rarely lets go from the first page , Arlen and co are very likeable , the character motivations are plausible and the corelings are suitably frightening . The Painted Man is very much a book in the mould of David Gemmell , anyone who loves a book that is simply a good fast paced story with likeable character need to read this
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Painted Man, Peter V. Brett- Book Review, 3 Mar 2013
This review is from: The Painted Man (The Demon Cycle, Book 1) (Paperback)
The novel takes place in Thesa, a world of magic and ancient legends. By day, the inhabitants of Thesa are driven hard to scratch a meagre living out of the earth and by night are tormented by the evil Corelings. Corelings are magical demons that appear every night to hunt humans. The Corelings come in many different forms such as fire, wood, wind and rock and the only thing that protects humans from the demons are magical `Wards'. Wards are painted over door frames and on walls to stop demons getting into houses. However, many of the secrets of Wards have been lost over the centuries and many humans are killed nightly because their Wards are not strong enough.

Out of this terrible world, three stories emerge. The first is that of Arlen who is a very skilled Warder, even though he is still a young boy. After the death of his mother at the hands of a Coreling, Arlen runs away from home. He vows that he will fight the demons one day and to do this he becomes an apprentice warder. With his new profession, Arlen hopes that these new skills will help him become a `Messenger' and ultimately, help him kill Corelings.

Leesha is a young girl who is abused by her mother and told that she will never become something. However, after a Coreling attack, she finds herself helping the local Herb-gatherer Bruna. Bruna sticks up for Leesha and takes her on as an apprentice, teaching her secrets that many healers have forgotten. After seven years, Leesha finishes her apprenticeship and travels to the city to further her knowledge about the art of herb gathering. After spending a few years in the city, Leesha hears of a flux that is affecting her home village of Cutter's Hollow and returns as quickly as she is able, with a Jangler called Rojer.

Rojer, like Arlen, is the victim of a savage Coreling attack in which his mother and his father are murdered and in which Rojer loses some fingers to a Coreling's bite! Rojer is taken in by a famous Jangler called Arrick who agrees to raise Rojer after the murder of his parents. However, because of his weakened hand, Rojer is seen as a poor Jangler as he cannot juggle. However, his skills with a fiddle gain him recognition and even gain him the nickname of Rojer `Half-grip'. His skills are so great that when on the road between the hamlets and the city, Rojer's fiddling even manages to calm Corelings. Unfortunately, on this same trip, Rojer's mentor is clawed by Corelings, forcing him to return to the city in which he meets Leesha and agrees to travel with her to Cutter's Hollow.

This was a good novel and I really enjoyed it. It did start a little slow for me and I don't think it really picked up until `The Painted Man' was introduced. Nevertheless, from then on is really fast-paced, action filled and exciting! I can't wait to read the second book in the series The Desert Spear, however, I think I will actually read that book instead of listening to it as an audiobook.

I would suggest this book to anyone who is a fan on fantasy novels such as The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, Prince of Thorns by Marl Lawrence or It Began with Ashes by D. E. M. Emrys as they all have the same fantasy feel to them and they are all great books!

For more book reviews google adam-p-reviews.
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120 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb debut, and one of the best fantasy novels ever!, 22 Sep 2008
By 
Mr. L. N. Taylor "lntaylor3" (Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Superb debut novel from Peter V. Brett. This is the first instalment of the Demon Trilogy, a real thrill ride of a read. The novel places the reader into the world of "Tibbets Brook", where the night is inhabited by seemingly immortal demons, and the inhabitants have to protect themselves and pray for the first light of day. The novel tells the story of Arlen, Leesha and Rojer, each of whom is equipped with very different skills, but together may be able to save civilisation. The book is very character driven, and the deveopment of these characters is done extremely well. There are so many authors writing in the fantasy genre, but Peter Brett offers a completely new take on it. The story moves along at a cracking pace, and never lets up. I read this in one sitting (9am - 6pm), it really is that gripping. I can't wait for the second part of the trilogy! One of the best books I've read this year, and one of the best fantasy novels ever!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully crafted fantasy!, 27 May 2014
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This review is from: The Painted Man (The Demon Cycle, Book 1) (Paperback)
The Warded Man is a book that had been sitting on my shelf for a while, forlorn and untouched as I went through a phase of reading little else outside of the YA and UF genres. But after a little too long of those, I found myself craving good old fantasy, the likes of which I hadn’t read in a while. So I plucked The Warded Man off the shelf and plunged headfirst into the familiar-but-not world of The Demon Cycle.

The book tells us the story of three people, starting from their childhoods and taking us all the way to their adult years as the plot progresses and thickens. It gave the book a rather slow start but never did it feel as though things were dragging; instead as a reader I felt like I really got to know the characters and their stories.

The world of The Demon Cycle is a dangerous one: every night demons rise from the core of the earth to hunt and kill anyone who is not safely tucked behind wards. The wards the humans possess are nothing compared to the ones they once had, in a time when they didn’t simply huddle away in fright of the corelings but stood tall in the night, fighting.

Arlen has been taught all his life that being out at night is certain death and that there is nothing that can be done about it: under no condition should anyone leave the safety of the wards at night. But despite all that, when at the young age of eleven he sees his mother nearly being cored after she tried to rescue someone whilst his father stands and watches, only to be eventually prompted into action when Arlen threatens to join the fray, Arlen can’t help but feel that there is something awfully wrong in the world.

So, when his mother dies from her injuries and the ignorance of all those around him, Arlen leaves. He braves the night and survives, following which he makes up his mind up to become a Messenger—a man who travels between the cities and villages, unafraid of the night. Helped by a veteran messenger, Reagan (who is an awesome character!), Arlen sets off on a journey that will change his life.

Leesha Paper lives in a small village and her life is ahead of her, achingly simple: at fourteen she already knows that she will get married, have children, and look after her father’s paper-making business alongside her husband. But not everything goes to plan, and when her virginity is questioned after a night spent with the boy she is promised to (although they did nothing), Leesha’s world is thrown upside down. Miserable and alone, with a mother with whom she cannot get along, Leesha feels like she has lost everything she had. Until, that is, the old herb-gatherer takes her in as her apprentice. Leesha proves to be a good student as she slowly starts to become a fully fledged herb-gatherer.

Rojer is but a child when the story starts, who loses everything to the corelings, including two of his fingers. But Rojer survives, taken in by the Jongleur, Arrick. Despite being a cripple and lacking the singing skills required to become a fully fledged Jongleur, Rojer works tirelessly through the years by his master’s side. That is, until the day he discovers his skill lies in playing the fiddle. As Rojer is going to discover, his skill doesn’t simply lie in charming crowds, after all.

Brett manages to juggle three very different POVs and a constantly moving timeline (each chapter starts with a date, which helps the reader keep up) that jumps back and forth in time a couple of times. Despite what could have been a confusing set-up, the book moves on at its own steady pace, never losing the rhythm that it has set itself. I personally really enjoyed getting to know the characters through their childhood, letting the grand plot sit in the background and wait for its turn—but then again I am a fan of slice-of-life (as the Japanese would say). There was something wonderful about entering Brett’s world through the eyes and lives of the children growing in it, and I think it gave a unique perspective on the society they are in and its problems.

I must say that The Warded Man reminded me in its ethos of books like The Name of the Wind, although instead of having Kvothe doing everything, Arlen, Rojer and Leesha share the limelight which only brings the story more to life and makes it stronger. Brett knows how to write people and the conflicts, both internal and external, that define them. They are just as engaging as his world and suck the reader into their adventures effortlessly.

There is something simply magical about Brett’s work, something just right about the fantasy he writes: it’s like nothing I have read before and yet carried all the familiarity of a fantasy story. It sated my craving for the genre and gave me something else more. It also made me want to jump into the sequel right away. Bar one series (The Dresden Files) I have never gone from one book to its sequel straight away. I did for this, and that in itself says more than most of the praise I could write in a review. Definitely a book I think all fantasy fan should read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slicker than your average swords and sandals epic, 21 Nov 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Painted Man is a slightly different beast when it comes to the fantasy I remember reading in my youth. Unlike the fantasy I read when I was younger 'The Painted Man' is refreshingly character driven and doesn't have scads of maps, glossaries or a character play list for the reader to have to wade through. The style of writing is stripped down and almost noirish.

I particularly liked the characters Arlen, Rojer and Leesha as they each had a magical gift that would need to be utilised to fight back against the darkness in society. The main plot and setting reminded me in some ways of Pitch Black but with demons! In the Painted Man's setting demons are real and they rule the land between sunset and sunrise leaving the normal folk at their mercy huddled in their settlements protected only by ward signs. A definite plus to this novel is that the world building and use of magic is very strong, nothing comes easy so that each of the protagonists has to struggle to learn to harness their powers which I felt added a nice note of realism (one of the reasons I stopped reading fantasy was the plethora of kitchen boys who became the most powerful magicians in the land in the space of a tea break!)

I would definitely recommend this for its characterisation and world building alone and given how much I enjoyed it I suspect that you wouldn't necessarily have to be a fantasy fan.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic and quite original, 12 May 2013
By 
JPS - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Painted Man (Kindle Edition)
This is the first volume of a trilogy set in a fictional world where demons that only appear at night, just after sunset, have terrorized and massacred humanity for over three centuries, returning after three thousand years of absence. Hence, all dating is A.R. that is "After the Return" (of the monsters). What is left of humanity is being slowly culled every night by the various types of demons that kill and eat them, with demon-types associated to the elements (such as fire demons or air demons) or types of vegetation and landscape (such as sand demons in deserts, rock demons in mountains or wood demons in forests). Humanity is organized in five main cities and a scattering of towns and villages. Humans have little protection against the almost invulnerable monsters at night, except for magical wards inherited from a distant and barely remembered past that repel rather than kill them. So they almost all hide behind them and wait in terror until dawn.

There are two exceptions in this world of despair and terror. One is the warrior who will get to be known as the Painted Man. He has vowed to dedicate his life to fight and kill the demons, and a number of other characters who the reader gets acquainted with in the book will, over time, join him. The other exception is made of the inhabitants of one of the five cities whose militant religion promotes "Holy War", and of their chief warrior and war leader in particular.

Contrary to what I was afraid off, this volume is not exclusively targeted at young adults, although, unlike some other reviewers, I would hesitate to make comparison with David Gemmell's works. The characters are not entirely implausible, including that of the Painted Man whose talents are acquired after much effort and suffering. The story is rather exciting, and, even if hardly unpredictable, it reads easily. The story, and how bits and pieces of lost knowledge are preserved and shared, found again and redeveloped, is an interesting one, while the monster attacks and the fights against them are, at times, quite gripping.

Contrary to another reviewer, I would not go as far as to qualify this book as "one of the best fantasy novels ever", but it is certainly a very good "debut" and I can only hope that volume two, which I am just about to start, will be at least as good. Four solid stars, definitely worth reading and highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A superior debut., 11 Sep 2008
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Painted Man (aka The Warded Man in the USA) is the first book of The Demon Trilogy and is this year's big debut fantasy series from HarperCollins Voyager. I hadn't heard of it prior to receiving my Amazon Vine review copy, which is a shame as it's an excellent debut novel that can stand alongside a number of other recent high-profile debuts quite comfortably. I enjoyed it more than Ruckley's Winterbirth, and at about the same quality of enjoyment as Abercrombie's The Blade Itself, for example.

The Painted Man is set in a world where people live in terror of the night. When the sun goes down, demons - or 'corelings' - from below the ground emerge on the surface to kill and feast on human flesh until morning comes. Humanity has discovered powerful defensive magic in the form of wards which can protect their homes, or even patches of ground, but this magic is not always perfect and the different varieties of demons have different ways to overcome the wards.

Eleven-year-old Arlen lives on his parent's farmstead, but a coreling attack leaves his family decimated and many friends and neighbours dead. Despising his father's cowardice for getting his mother killed, Arlen runs away from home, surviving by carving wards into the dirt every night. Eventually he reaches safety in a big city and finds a new, loving family...but memories of his childhood continue to haunt him and he becomes obsessed with the idea of leading humanity to an ultimate victory over the demons, to stop cowering in fear behind walls and wards and go on the offensive.

Meanwhile, thirteen-year-old Leesha is set up for a prosperous life, ready to inherit her father's business and marry one of the most popular boys in her village. However, her mother's bitterness and her betrothed's error in judgement instead leads her on a very different path as she learns the arts of herblore and healing from the town's wise woman.

An entire town is obliterated by a coreling attack, leaving only a single survivor: a three-year-old boy named Rojer. A visiting Jongleur decides to take Rojer her his wing as his apprentice, setting them both on an dangerous path.

The Painted Man is a page-turning book. Whilst at heart it doesn't necessarily journey too far from established tropes (it even starts in a village), it mixes them up nicely. The land of Thesa owes as much to Westerns in its scenery than to traditional epic fantasy, whilst the ward magic is notably different to the wizards 'n' warlocks found in other works. The notions of paranoia and fear, and the price of overcoming that, are also explored in-depth. The characters are likable and interesting. To some extent they follow the traditional 'callow youths come good' model, but the central character of Arlen takes a rather different course and there are hints that his dark and dangerous journey have left him a scarred and bitter character, for all that he finds some happiness at the end of the book. Brett's worldbuilding is pretty good, best exemplified when in a sequence lasting just a few chapters he takes Arlen into a burning desert kingdom and is able to paint it in as much detail and bring it to life as well as does the Free Cities and surrounding villages where the bulk of the narrative takes place. The plotting is also nicely done, with a huge amount of incident and character-building set up in the book, along with a reasonable amount of exposition. The book also comes to a definitive climax rather than a cliffhanger, meaning that whilst there is clearly plenty more to come you're not left hanging in mid-air for a year for the next instalment.

The Painted Man (****) is a most enjoyable novel with an interesting premise that is well-developed and explored. I look forward to reading the sequels. The novel is available now from Voyager in the UK, and will be published (as The Warded Man) in the USA by Del Rey in March 2009. The sequel, The Desert Spear, will follow next year.
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46 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, and original, debut, 26 Aug 2008
By 
The premise of The Painted Man is relatively simple. Mankind is menaced by demons - or Corelings - which rise at dusk and are not banished until sunrise. Symbols, known as 'wards', are used to keep the demons from entering human dwellings, but they can do no more than keep them at bay (and sometimes, not even that), as the old fighting wards have been lost to history. Enter Arlen, Rojer and Leesha - three very different protagonists, whose individual skills could prove crucial to the survival of humanity.

The Painted Man takes the main elements of traditional fantasy and refashions them into a wholly engrossing and innovative world. I finished the book the day I got it, completely gripped by Brett's creation. Rather than the straightforward 'sword and sorcery' story that often seems to be synonymous with fantasy, he has instead created intriguing, multi-faceted, characters, and a fresh (and exciting!) premise.

I'm already eager for the next instalment of the trilogy, and can't recommend this book enough!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas, poorly executed., 8 Feb 2014
By 
Lola (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Painted Man (The Demon Cycle, Book 1) (Paperback)
Interesting ideas, poorly executed.

The book I finished/somewhat struggled through was "The Painted Man", although it is also published under the titled "The Warded Man", which I think is much more suitable for it with all the wards etc.

Anyway, I am not a big fantasy follower, but "The Painted Man" was chosen as a next read for our book club and I happily obliged. I quickly became disappointed (although I am not as harsh as some of my fellow book club members, who gave this book one star). My complaints, which a lot of other reviewers seem to agree with:

- Peter V. Brett's writing is very amateurish, often the book reads like a screenplay, a few words on the setting and then goes the dialogue. Brett, it seems, can never "show", but he tells, sorry, "talks" a lot. Oftentimes, the dialogues are repetitive and tiresome. The editors did a poor job (just as an example, p. 303: "Arrick looked at Rojer, his face a mask of irritation as the crowd began chanting 'Halfgrip! Halfgrip!' Arrick looked to Rojer, his face a mask of irritation." One too many masks of irritation, don't you think? The book is full of such mistakes and repetitions, which could have been easily edited.

- The vast majority of characters are very poorly drawn. There is a skeleton of three main characters, Alren, Leesha and young Rojer, but Arlen gets the majority of Brett's attention (understandably, since he is the core hero in the narrative). Whilst Leesha is given a fair number of pages, Rojer barely appears in a few chapters prior to his meeting with Arlen, to tell you the truth I felt that Rojer's place in the narrative is somewhat redundant.

- The story is quite laboured, especially the beginning - the first 10% or so of the book (which is around 600 pages) nothing seemed to happen. I understand that Brett had to set up the premise and explain to his readers the workings of the universe he created, but it just felt tiresome. Numerous characters (all spitting, swearing and obsessed on sex) are introduced throughout the book only to never appear again. And the whole sex craze - the men populating the world of "The Painted Man" have their brains between their legs, it seems, and most of the conversations are about sex, having sex or fathering children. Although when it comes to the real deal (describing the one and only sex scene in the book), Brett fails miserably as his heroine "arches her back in pleasure". Cringe! It seems Brett is busying himself with all this sex, because the central fight of the book, the climax, is just about a chapter long. Now, let the men populating the world Brett creating go back to talk about sex.

DESPITE ALL OF THE ABOVE, the book was a page-turner and I am contemplating starting the second book in the series, but I just could not overlook the poor style of writing. It is Peter V. Brett's debut novel and here's hoping he became better (or were assigned better editors, at least!). I liked the three different [main] characters and their coming of age stories, like a preset for further adventures to come. I liked the diversity in plot, the various storylines, the forming of their friendships.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars hmmm, 28 May 2013
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This review is from: The Painted Man (Kindle Edition)
well it was interesting enough, but I think that some of the "mystery" was just too obvious from the beginning :S and the style of the story changes near the end, which felt a little uncomfortable
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