* * C
The Warded Man, a novel by Peter V. Brett, is a fantasy set in an alternate reality where magic exists. In the distant past, humans fought a war with demons, finally defeating them and banishing them to the core. In the scientific age which followed, the magic used to defeat the demons was forgotten. When the demons returned, only the spells used to ward against them were remembered.
The first half of the book focuses on Arlen, a boy who’s losses at the hands of the demons lead him to run away from home. He manages to survive until befriended by a messenger, one of an elite few who brave the dangers of the open road. He must choose between the safety of a walled city or his dream of freedom from the demons.
The second half of the book focuses on the two other main characters, a healer, Leesha, and a wandering minstrel, Rojer. They meet up with Arlen, and the three journey to Leesha’s home town, which has been struck by a plague. There, they fight a final battle with the demons.
This book is the first in a series. I loved the premise, and enjoyed the first half of the book a lot. I found the second half a bit lacking, primarily in the way that the character of Arlen changed, and seemed almost entirely disconnected from who he had been in the first half of the book. What could have been a solid three star effort was marginally pushed down to two for me, because of this.