The Painted Man
By: Peter V. Brett
In the Painted Man, Brett pitches us the classic tale of Good vs. Evil, humanity against the horde. This, I find, is always a good way of getting a reader on your side. With demons, heroes, healers and cowards, the three main narratives weave together effortlessly. There’s Arlen, the wannabe messenger, a man with a death wish if ever there was one. Or there’s Rojer, the Jongleur with the past. And then finally we have Leesha, the healer, who’s experiences with small town politics are interesting, to say the least.
I think you’ll find yourself drawn to Arlen’s story though. He’s got all the hallmarks of the hero; his dramatic rebirth, his lack of fear, and just a little touch of humanity which makes him pretty likeable. That’s one thing you can say for all the leads actually. You’ll end up liking them. Brett’s characters are very well crafted, and you’ll find yourself cheering them on throughout the book. The concept of the wards is brilliant, that the runes protect these people from the demons in the dark.
Yes, demons, or as they are known here, Corelings. Picture them; big elemental creatures that rise from the ground at sunset every day, with every intention of tearing you limb from limb. They are an easy to hate, well chosen set of bad guys for what is set up as an epic anthology. We are lead to believe they are mindless beasts at first, but the addition of Arlen’s nemesis, One Arm, hints at a higher intelligence, giving them more personality than they could have had, and rounding off the war between humanity and their seemingly infinite enemies .