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Aoife

Witty Little Knitter

I read fantasy, crime, true crime, lgbt-romance and books written by my favourite comedians. List not necessarily complete.
Sometimes I write for Bibliodaze

Currently reading

Stephen and Matilda
Jim Bradbury
Progress: 52/262 pages
Krieg und Frieden
Michael Grusemann, Leo Tolstoy
Progress: 579/1024 pages
SPOILER ALERT!

The Painted Man (Demon Cycle, #1)

The Painted Man  - Peter V. Brett

Where should I start? Perhaps with the characters (though character implies at least some depth, and not something you could fit in an envelope and still send for standard-postage). Well there's Arlen, the warrior. For the purpose of this review let's call him...hm...Gary-Stu. Then there is Leesha, the healer. Let's call her Mary-Sue. Oh and there's Rojer, the bard. We don't need to call him anything as he's just the quite useless child who has nearly no purpose in this novel, except falling for our Mary-Sue, thereby prooving that no man can resist her.
It's mean just to complain, so let me say something good, too. I think the basic idea, about demons coming in the dark unless you protected yourself with magic runes, is really really good. In fact that's what kept me reading up to the bitter end, because I always thought that this idea is so awesome that it is impossible to ruin it completely.
I was wrong. Very wrong.


OK, now let's come to the plot. We start with Arlen-Stu. Like all truly chliched Fantasy-characters his mother is a truly loving and caring angel and therfore dies in the 2nd chapter. His father is of course horrible. At least that what Arlen thinks. The reader might just say he's quite rational. OK, I freely admit that he's not in for the 'best dad of the year'-award. He is a coward and he could certainly act in a more sympathetic way, but the fact that quite soon after the death of his wife he already thinks about marrying again and also wants Arlen to marry is not something as bad as Arlen makes it out to be. They simply life in an environment (small villages far away from the cities, where demon-attacks kill people on a nearly nightly basis) where they need many children, just to survive. Arlen, however, reacts to this like someone from a modern perspective, not like someone who really should be used to people not much older than himself getting married and people re-marrying soon after their spouse has died. That's how it was done in the middle-ages and also in basically all pseudo-mediaeval settings I've read about, and it should be even more the case in settings where in addition to natural causes like old age and illness you'll lose also lots of people because of demon-attacks.
So our Stue might have thought of this himself if he – you know – had thought about it for a moment, but he rather throws a tantrum and runs away (as he will do again and again if something happens he doesn't like). Rejoice oh people for your saviour is a spoiled brat!
After he ran away, he fights demons, wins, meets people, impresses them incredibly, becomes the assistant of a warder, is incedibly great at drawing wards, runs away again, when something happens he doesn't like (in that case: somebody -gosh- cared and worried about him! How dare she?), fights demons, wins, fights more demons, wins again, fights...oh sorry am I getting repetitive? Imagine how I felt reading that. Blablah, after lots of demon-fights he survives without a scratch, he finds a magical spear, which he can use to fight more demons, but the evil Arabs (no, I won't even bother to look up how they're called in the book, they're about as cliche-Arab as you can get) take it away from him, even though he wins more fights. He then goes to a tattoo-artist, gets lots of tattoos of wards and continues to fight demons.
Now for our second – in lack of a better word – character. In the 'pick your cliche backstory'-game Leesha, drew the Cinderella-card: Evil mother and a father who is nice, but simply cannot stand up to his wife. Here we also come to the next fun thing in this book: misogyny! For all women in Leesha's storyline are either whores (her mother, most of her friends) who sleep around or pure angels (Leesha) who would never ever sleep with someone before marriage. Now if that's what she wants, I don't see a problem...but if even her friend, who isn't yet married, but has a long-time boyfriend and knows she wants to marry him and who has also slept with him, gets dissaproved of, I get slightly annoyed. Or possible more than slightly.
Of course drama happens here, too. Leesha's long-term boyfriend/fiancee claims he has slept with her, althoughhe didn't. Now even though apparently every other woman in the village changes her bed-partners nightly this suddenly causes the reaction of 'OMG! WHORE!11!!!'
Now the village witch/herbalogist appears and somehow she likes Leesha, does some funny magic to her now-ex-fiancee to make him admit that he hasn't really slept with her and then takes on Leesha to be her apprentice. Because she can't life in the village anymore cause she's still disgraced cause apparently asshole-guy yelling in front of the village that he lied isn't proof enough. Though still everybody in the village likes her cause she is so incredibly lovely and charming and everything. No I'm not kidding, that's what was said in the book. Gues that happens when you can't make up your mind if you want to give your Mary-Sue the most charming personality ever or a epically tragic backstory.
Now Leesha learns all about herbs and because she's a Sue she obviously does this in record-time and is generally really really bright and blah. Then she leaves to learn with another herbalist, even though their village-witch was first made out to be the ultimate source of knowledge and of course learns incredibly fast there, too.
Eventually she meets Rojen (he's an orphan, by the way, every fantasy-novel needs an orphan, even if it's just to stand around stupidly) and Arlen, too. Together they fight crime...or rather demons. And as it's a trilogy they'll probably will do it for two more books, which I don't intend to read.