For those who like epic fantasy, this is the fifth book in Peter V Brett’s Demon Cycle. I believe it is the final book in this series. I started reading this series in 2008, and have waited (with varying degrees of patience) for each instalment.
‘There will be swarm.’
The final war between humankind and demonkind is upon us. It has been inevitable since ‘The Desert Spear’ (Book 2), and while ‘The Daylight War’ (Book 3) and ‘The Skull Throne’ (Book 4) sometimes seemed to be taking a particularly circuitous route to inevitability, ‘The Core’ (Book 5) provides a near perfect finale.
I first read ‘The Painted Man’ (aka ‘The Warded Man’) (Book 1) in 2008 and have read each of the other novels as they’ve been published. Originally, I was expecting a trilogy but was happy to learn that there would be more.
But what is it about the Demon Cycle series that appeals? In this world, demons have ruled the night for centuries. Those humans that remain, scattered across the world, depend on fragments of magic to protect them. Those fragments – magic symbols tattooed onto the body of Arlen Bales (known as the Warded Man), and on the weapons of Ahmann Jardir (known as the Deliverer) provide the men with the means to fight back. But they need to work together. And, as the middle three books in this series show, there’s betrayal and distrust to be overcome. Can they win Sharak Ka (the final war against demonkind)?
‘The Core’s about to rise up again, and you need to be ready to fight, not just for Hollow County, but for the entire human race.’
In the Core, the Queen is breeding. A swarm is about to happen. Arlen and Jardir have a plan. A desperate plan which involves them travelling into the Core to try to stop the Swarm.
Much of the action takes place outside the Core. Leesha, Inevera, Ragen and Elissa need to rally the people of the Free Cities, as the demons become stronger and the attacks become more frequent.
‘Sing as if the world depends on it, for tonight it surely does!’
Tension builds as the action shifts between different key characters: can the Swarm be prevented, who will survive? There are no loose ends left at the end of this novel and while I could wish for (some) different outcomes, that might have been unrealistic of me. Especially in a fantasy novel 😉.
It is important to read the books of this series in order. While it might be possible to follow the story, the character development across the series is important, as is understanding the world Mr Brett has created. There’s plenty of tension in this final instalment, and lots of action with some epic and bloodthirsty battles.