Book – The Painted Man
Author – Peter V Brett
Year – 2008
Genre – Fantasy
Pages – 544
Series – The Demon Trilogy
Recommended to me by Bethan Wellbrook and Dan Norris
When two people independently recommend the same book to you within the space of about a week, you know that there must be something in the recommendation, especially when both make the effort to bring you their copy of the book. With that in mind, I bumped The Painted Man up my rather large ‘To Be Read’ pile to the top, and anticipated great things.
The world of the book is one where demons rise from the ground every night and try to kill as many people as they can. The people have no way to fight them, but are protected only by ward symbols with which they can form protective barriers to stop the demons getting in. We follow three young people as they grow to adulthood, all of whom have their own reasons for hating the demons, and want a way to fight back.
There is nothing about the plot for this that sets it a million miles away from a lot of other fantasy literature. However, it is one of the most compelling new books that I have read in a while. The characters are well built up, the plot is sound, and most importantly it is genuinely exciting. I found myself reading incredibly quickly at points just to see what was going to happen, and despite not having a lot of time to read at the moment, I still managed to get through its 550 odd pages in only a couple of days, such was my reluctance to put it down.
The only negative I have is the portrayal of one of the races in the book. With their veiled women, Arabic style tongue, and religious observances, the Krasians are one of the most obvious allusions to Islam that I have seen in a book. Whilst they do partly build up their strength and courage, the general attitude towards them is a negative one, and I can’t for the life of me see why the Muslim comparison needed to be so blatant. This is by no means a suggestion that the writer has a problem with Islam, or even some post-modern English Literature style analysis of the text – the comparison is very obvious – but just struck me as unnecessary, and left me a little uncomfortable. I think that these characters may be a large part of the next book, so I hope that my worries will be allayed.
That said, this is a brilliant book, that definitely deserves a look if you fancy a new fantasy series from a new and talented author.