Author: Peter V. Brett
Publication Date: March 10th, 2009
The Warded Man is set in a world built around the existence of vicious demons that come out only at night and wreck havoc on anything not warded against them. Since the rise of the demons 300 hundred years earlier people have been raised in fear of the night and what it brings. All work and traveling must be done by sundown. People are raised in fear of what goes bump in the night. The idea of a world built around avoiding these demons is sometimes reminiscent of a world that has gone through a zombie apocalypse. People living on the defensive, traveling long distances is made nearly impossible, people live in tight knit communities where everyone has a job and works for the continuation of the community as a whole.
At 11 years old, Arlen is confronted with this reality of no one fighting back anymore, everyone is too afraid to do anything more than hide in their homes. Little boys look up to their fathers for what is strong in the world but Arlen is shown that his father is not at all brave, that when push comes to shove he is too ruled by his fear to save his family. Arlen refuses to accept this as the only way to live and begins a lifelong mission to find a way to stand up to the demons.
So many fantasy stories include a dark, brooding, hooded character that is totally badass and swoops in to save people in the nick of time. The Warded Man was certainly this character in this book and it was cool that this was a story that shows how that character came to be that way.
There as a lot of subtle commentary on feminism this story as well. In a world where people are constantly dying, children need to be born just as constantly so the human population does not dwindle away to nothing. Because of this, girls and women are fully expected to get married and start having children as soon as they are biologically able to. One of the main characters, Leesha, rebels against this and dedicates her life to healing instead, a profession in this world that does not allow much time for family. Her right to make this choice is a theme that is brought up again and again.
In another nation, Miln, the only people are allowed to vote are the mothers. This is a really interesting concept of not being able to have a say in a society until you have contributed to it with your body. Is it wrong? In our world, absolutely. In a world where humankind does depend on women having babies because of the insane mortality rate? Maybe it is not such an extreme incentive. This really was not a focus of this book but it would be kind of cool to see it explored at a later date.
This was an interesting one to say the least. At first I was getting confused because of the jumping between characters. It felt like almost every few chapters we were gonna have a new character and not have a main one. This may have been more on my part, and less on the author but none the less I started off slightly confused.
However, this story brings it and brings it hard. The demons that plague this land are scary and described in such a way that I was on my toes the entire time in fear for these characters. There were no punches pulled when these monsters attacked and no one was safe. I can’t even imagine living in this world of terror. Serious props to the author for making a engaging and terrifying world.
Best thing about this book (and I didn’t really see it till Dani pointed it out) was that you get to see this world through the eyes of not only children or only adults. You get to see from a young mans perspective, then a young girls. He sees a world where everyone has given up and then grows into a man that does something about it. She sees that young girls are used for their body because people die every night due to the monsters. She then grows up to be a strong woman that doesn’t need a man or to have kids to be a woman. It is really cool to view this world in one way and then watch your characters grow up and see it a different way.
Only negative thing I can say is it felt like somethings just got forgotten. Like the main character runs away from his dad and then never talks about him again. Or the woman Arlen was promised to that he left as well. Maybe these things will be picked up in later books, but they just felt like loose ends. This is really more of a nit-pick then anything else.
I am definitely excited to continue with this series and hope we dive into it soon!
The highly critical part of my brain finds things to pick apart in this book. But honestly I just loved this book so much and this author’s writing that those nit-picked things don’t really bother me that much. Peter Brett has created a fantasy world with a cool spin. His ability to describe the demons and the fight scenes with them are incredible and the scene where Arlen learns of his father’s cowardice was a remarkably well written scene. That was probably the scene that I decided that I liked this book so much.
Also, I would love to explore the morality of having to be a mother in order to vote (I don’t believe it was mentioned if men could vote at all. I think it was only the right of mothers). Have any thoughts? Please comment below and let’s discuss!