As much as I enjoyed the read, the last third of this book faltered a lot and the narration took on a "tell" rather than "show" style. This was unsettling not only because the pacing slowed, but also because it happened at a critical point, when the three main narratives converged to set up events that would lead to the last battle. Narration that tell rather than show are usually disappointing, in my experience. I can only hope Brett improves in later books.
The world of the Demon Cycle is not unlike other worlds that you'd find in new fantasy series—feudal/medieval cities and countrysides, sword and sorcery, gender discrimination, etc. The only significant difference is a land of sand dunes and desert called Krasia that's reminiscent of the Middle East, not only in setting but also in cultures and religion. Unlike the other peoples of the Demon Cycle world, the Krasians actually fight Corelings.
Corelings are demons that spring from the earth and torment humans at night, destroying everything in their paths, and then disappear at dawn. Humans draw, paint, or carve wards on walls and posts to keep the demons out. These wards, however, don't always hold and are often breached, and so warding is a career and checking wards a daily job. How these people have time to do anything else, let alone carry on with their lives, is a wonder. How these people don't devote their whole life to warding is a wonder too.
The villagers' fear of the night is palpable, and their willingness to fear the supernatural and unwillingness to search for better ways to kill the demons are understandable. I thought the scenes of the Coreling attacks were especially well written, albeit with a tad too much blood and gore but that's to be expected since violence has become a staple in new fantasy.
We follow three main characters from youth to adulthood.(show spoiler)
Things I hope will show up in the next book:
- Geometry and Ward Theory.(show spoiler)
- Coreling anatomy.(show spoiler)
[ETA] I'm gonna wait until the series is completed before reading the second book.