The Desert Spear - Peter V. Brett

** spoiler alert ** Arlen (Painted Man): I am not the bloody Deliverer!
Leesha: Let’s heal people! Let’s all be friends! make love, not war… I’d like to make love indeed! Arlen? Jardir?
Jardir: I am the Deliverer! Obey me.. oh not you Leesha. Even if you don’t obey, I’d still bed you.
Rojer: Since you are not going to love me Leesha, I’m going to have my own Harem!
Abban: This is going to be interesting. Let’s see if I can profit from it. On the side note you are all my friends!
Renna: I want to get away from here. Cobie, take me away! Arlen take me away and marry me!

The Desert Spear seemed a promising sequel of the Warded Man. But from the start, the story was taking weird shapes. We first follow Jardir and Abban in their early lives. On the one hand, Jardir is a strong promising warrior, and Abban is a cunning chubby boy destined to become a limping merchant. 33% (approximately) is about the two of them. How they met, how they fought (or rather how Jardir moved from protecting Abban to despising them). and how Jardir has become the Deliverer. Yada. Most events in this first part were about power, domination, and making love, or raping. (and that doesn’t change throughout the story). So after we get a clear look on the culture of the Desert, which ridiculously mimics the Arab culture, we move to a ridiculous mimic of the western culture. With Arlen (or the painted Man, aka Deliverer), Leesha, and Rojer, we encounter a failed love story and a struggle to survive. They at last succeed in making people braver. Now they fight the colerings! And get all bold in the night! The story goes on and on about killing demons how they feel toward each other, about marriage, and about helping others. And as if all the drama wasn't enough, Jardir’s army is pushing itself toward the North threatening Northmen, because you know Jardir and his people are only savages who want to dominate, rape, and gain power. And the story goes on and on and on about this, till you find Leesha and her followers (basically parents, 2 warriors, Rojer) meeting and liking Jardir. Then the story moves to another kind of dramatic love with colering killings in between…..

What seemed like a realistic story in the first book turned into childish insecurities and petty conversations. Even though the story still held some of the trill one might have felt in the first book, this one kept going downfall, unfortunately. The depiction of Krasian culture is a distorted imitation of the ancient culture of the Arab world. The more the author explains their way, the less originality he comes up with. and it’s not different for the Northern world. It’s like if at the end the events are taking place in a primitive world not after the technological age, but way before it. I understand that the colerings destroyed everything, but the people must have moved forward where the world has left, and not go backward. Because the setting is so old, I couldn’t imagine it taking place in a dystopian world. And because the plot is religiously touched, it festered the feeling of loss.
The characters remain true to themselves in this book, but there is an annoying romantic atmosphere that clouded the real plot. The Leesha/Rojer/Arlen love sotry is burdening the narrative. Leesha likes Arlen, Arlen half-likes her back, and Rojer is desperately in love with Leesha. The three of them act like anxious teenagers unable to have a healthy love story. And the fact that they are tangled in their anguish, almost (if not all) their dialogues and acts are affected with the way they feel with each other. Any discussion, be it about demons, butterflies, or the world, includes the feelings of the three characters toward each other. And they seem undecided about who they love (or rather feel attracted to physically). Leesha does not want anyone to touch her except Arlen, but when she meets Jardir, she lets her desire for him, for a while, control her decisions. This love story seemed unnecessary and fake. It just destroyed some of the atmosphere of the plot. And the fact that Rojer decides to take Krasian women to his bed (to make Leesha jealous, and because he likes? A bit the women) just makes things worse. At some point this story moved from surviving in a hard world to desperate romance.
The draggy events were also a nuisance. The story lost its pace when it gave too much voice to the characters thoughts and feelings. Scenes took too much time to develop. Characters are either too humble and insecure (Rojer, Arlen) or too evil (Inevera) or sometimes both (Leesha). Arlen, for instance, kept repeating that he is not the deliverer to anyone who called him thus, and at some point, I wished he'd just get tired of repeating the same damn thing and leave it 'pass through him' but no...  Characters just had to explain their position and it took too much time and words which could have been spared by moving faster and wasting less paper.
All in all It still deserved a 3 or rather 2.5.. but since the story was taking the right pace now and then it was still worth finishing despite all the facepalm and eye rolling and the effort to give the book a chance. Then end wasn’t that bad, but I am taking a break from this series!