Night falls on the earth. It does not bring the peace of sleep, the comforting restfulness of quiet to which we are accustomed. Rather, as the sun sets, slipping away beyond the horizon, the Corelings rise. Powerful demons bent on human destruction, the Corelings assault the bastions of mankind. The only way to stay alive is to make it to sunrise by protecting yourself with magical wards. This is the world of THE DAYLIGHT WAR.
Beginning in flashback, taking readers 30 years into the past, THE DAYLIGHT WAR highlights a period in the childhood of Inevera, who will grow into a powerful priestess, wielding the demon bone magic as she supports her husband, Ahmann Jardir. Legend speaks of a Deliverer, the one person who can lead the human race to victory over the demons, and Jardir believes he is that one, going so far as to affix the title to himself while he builds an army of demon killers.
"THE DAYLIGHT WAR is a leap forward, both in action and tempo, and in the abilities of Peter Brett as an author."
He's not the only possible one, however. Once a friend but now a rival, Arlen Bales has grown into his role as The Warded Man, but even as he continues to deny he is the Deliverer, his tremendous power and ability at slaying the demons he encounters only cause the people to believe in him. At his side is Renna Tanner, a woman nearly consumed by demon magic who desperately tries to keep Arlen on course. There is a love growing between the two, and in this harsh world it is a thing of hope.
THE DAYLIGHT WAR is a leap forward, both in action and tempo, and in the abilities of Peter Brett as an author. Humanity faces dire consequences as Jardir and Arlen war with each other, taking their attentions off of the demonic threat. Inevera is an exquisitely drawn character; her machinations and manipulations weave their way throughout the story, and readers easily see why even Jardir does not wholly trust her. The three principal characters each have their own motives and agendas, and it is these selfish deeds that can damn humanity. Renna also gets more time in this volume, and her character, like the others, continues to grow and deepen.
Peter Brett has been one of the finest new fantasy voices. That his world is not the standard castles and knights backdrop is a breath of fresh air, and the Middle-Eastern-influenced cultures and locales of the world about which he writes are captivating, alluring, deadly, and full of intrigue. Over three books, he has continued to hone his craft and is hitting every mark at full stride now, pouring out beautifully intimate moments and action-packed battle sequences. The twists and turns of the plot will keep readers engaged until the last white-knuckle chapter.
The Demon Cycle is an extraordinary work. The first three volumes of this saga belong in any discussion of the best fantasy literature of the past decade. Yes, it is only April, but THE DAYLIGHT WAR is already sitting atop a long list of novels yet to be released. It won't be easy to unseat this gem.
Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard on April 12, 2013