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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
7
3.1 out of 5 stars
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on 22 April 2009
The Warded Man is one of those books that I heard good things about from its UK release last year but never got around to. Some of the reviews I had read at the time were great, yet as a fantasy book I tended not to pay it too much attention - what a mistake that was! Within the pages of this fantasy is a great story, excellent setting and wonderful characters.

The world that Peter V Brett has created here is wide in scope and full of character. From the vivid descriptions of the small towns on the outskirts of the cities, where night is always a dangerous time, to the cities themselves - huge and strongly warded against the corelings - there is much to admire. These places felt real, the rundown and ruined houses always a constant reminder of what can happen when wards fail. The cities have their big, luxurious houses while the images of despair that are brought to mind when the lowly shared shelters are mentioned add to the clear distinction of class. Despite all of this and how much I enjoyed the world every time I opened the book, the characters steal the show - and quite rightly too.

We follow our three main characters - Arlen, Leesha and Rojer - from a young age. This allows us to grow with them, feel their fear and desires and aspirations. What is good about these characters is their individuality, the way each one feels completely different from the others, yet there is a strong and wilful element that will not just lie down or continue on the road expected of them.

Arlen, our main character, is the most enjoyable to read. His story is simple and entertaining and his motives are clear. There is also a sadness to his character which drives him throughout the narrative and gives him determination to succeed. It's fairly obvious from both the title that Arlen is the Warded Man, but it is the journey to this point that is so enjoyable. Although staggered, the years that we share with him bring him much closer to the heart as a character that you want to succeed and to be the one that fulfills legend and brings hope to humanity.

The sadness that the characters live with is a theme in this novel with both Leesha and Rojer suffering at a young age which changes their lives and outlook forever. Although not at the forefront as much as Arlen, they both have purposeful roles in the story and are equally enjoyable to read. Leesha is the village healer that has the problem of being the focus of some unsavoury gossip that makes her life more difficult and awkward than needed. Meanwhile, Rojer loses both parents while still very young and is raised by a renowned Jongleur, a profession he himself ends up following, but the hard times he faces from day to day because of this mean that many things are stacked against him. As all three characters are introduced while they are still in their early teens or younger we get a look at the years that shape them and can look forward knowing how enjoyable the story will be with them in.

The only issue I have is slight and relates only to the US release: the title. While The Warded Man clearly tells you what is going to happen, The Painted Man is vaguer and more subtle. I personally prefer The Painted Man, but that's neither here nor there. What matters is the story contained within the pages, and regardless of the title it is a readable, page-turning and thoroughly engrossing novel.

The Warded Man is Peter V Brett's debut, a stunning character focused fantasy novel set in a vividly realised world. This is the first volume in The Demon Trilogy and has such great promise to deliver an excellent story arc over the three novels. I am seriously excited about The Desert Spear and can barely wait until it's August publication in the UK - I'm now officially a fan for life!
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on 29 March 2010
I understand that this book was previously titled "The Painted Man".

What a wonderful reading experience this book was for me. This is my first Peter Brett book, but you can certainly be sure it won't be my last. I was fascinated by his invention of the corelings, demons who rise every night from the core of the earth after the sun has set, because they were such unusual creatures to encounter. There are wind, rock, wood and fire demons and any human caught outside a warded area after sunset has no defenses against them. The setting of the book is not placed in any defined time frame, but there is no mechanization in this fantasy world. It reminded me very much of medieval times.

The way this book was written was also of particular interest to me. It definitely kept me on my toes and therefore, never bored with it. I had absolutely no idea where the story was headed. Meeting Arlen, Leesha and Rojer at such young ages allowed me to see their life for a long time before they ever meet for the first time and reached the climactic areas of the novel. Yet none of the history surrounding these young characters seemed contrived, it was all very important for me to read about so that I would understand how the corelings had impacted their lives every minute of every day. It was pivotal for the reader to understand how the corelings controled the lives of all the humans and to make me wonder why only magically warded spaces had ever been used as a defense against these demons. I really liked the way a specific symbol was attached to each character and by displaying the symbol at the beginning of the chapter I could know which characters would be involved without the author giving away any of what was to happen.

The situation Arlen found himself in at Krasia really made me mad! I've seen that the next book in this series, [[ASIN:0007276168 The Desert Spear (Demon Trilogy 2)], will feature Jardir, Shar 'Dama Ka, from Krasia prominently through the first portion of the story. I'm definitely going to get that book, hopefully to see him get some payback for the way he treated Arlen.
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on 8 February 2014
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 created 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. But I just cannot give the book more than 3 stars.
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on 19 March 2011
This book is also under current release under the title of the painted man, nowhere does it tell you that it is the same story so you pay twice for the same story. In future don't buy books by an american author as they seem to release the same story under different titles. Is this just a money grabbing scam?
Alistair
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on 30 July 2014
Im a huge fan of these types of book and this one under either name is top- notch, one of the best fantasy writers around. eagerly awaiting the fourth book in the series.
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on 22 September 2010
its annoying when you buy a book and when it arrives it turns out that its the same book with a different name, originally brought as "the painted man" and then changed. Good book but not worth buying twice.
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on 15 July 2009
Dont be misled and think this is a new offering by Peter Brett. The Warded Man is the american title of "The Painted Man". Brett fans will have to wait for Desert Spear for their next fix
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