There is a rush of excitement I feel when I start reading a book by an author I’ve not read before, and that sensation is doubled when I discover that there is something very special within. I love a story that sinks its teeth into you and doesn’t let go until the last page, leaving you hanging on every word. That’s how the Painted Man made me feel, and it felt good!
We get to meet a lot of people but the three main characters were outstanding well written for me. Arlen, the poor boy, but what a man it makes him. He knew what he wanted and he went after it, possibly costing him a normal life but even though he thinks the opposite, he is totally my hero! Leesha is sweet and caring, fearless in her own way and I admired her for not wanting to go with the flow as her skills were meant for much more in my mind. Rojer endures more than any child should, and is brash, funny and stubborn as hell. I couldn’t help wanting to look after him though.
The magic system is quite brilliant and unique. Not spells but wards and the uses for them range from the mundane to the fantastic. The world Brett built for his story was just as interesting as the characters and magic, and provided a solid background for the story. The history is rich and fascinating and yet terrifying as well. The demons were well crafted and I thought they were pretty scary, given what the different types in the story can do. The hint of personality some of them display was really well done and made their horror seem more visceral.
Peter V. Brett is a fearless author in that no character is safe, not even ones you come to love in a short time, and that is where the skill in his writing lies. A cleverly worded paragraph can communicate so much about a character that you feel like you’ve known them a lot longer. There are plenty of characters you love to hate and as in life, sometimes the bad guys get away with it.
The pacing of the story was very good and the switching between the characters never felt laboured or meandering. The action scenes were fast, brutal and realistically written. Brett’s blending of that with the magic created some intriguing fights.
There was one question I had that seemed to go unanswered until quite late in the book – who was the Painted Man from the title? Maybe it should have been obvious to me but when I realised, I actually went ‘ohhh’ out loud. Thankfully my husband is used to this and I didn’t have to explain!
I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next book in the series, The Desert Spear. The first one didn’t end quite where I thought it would and an additional piece at the end had me reaching for the sequel immediately. I had to force myself to stop and write this review so it would be fresh and not influenced by the next one. If I didn’t have it to read… Oh my goodness I would have been antsy!