the core

The Core (Demon Cycle #5) by Peter V. Brett

From Goodreads:

For time out of mind, bloodthirsty demons have stalked the night, culling the human race to scattered remnants dependent on half-forgotten magics to protect them. Then two heroes arose—men as close as brothers, yet divided by bitter betrayal. Arlen Bales became known as the Warded Man, tattooed head to toe with powerful magic symbols that enable him to fight demons in hand-to-hand combat—and emerge victorious. Jardir, armed with magically warded weapons, called himself the Deliverer, a figure prophesied to unite humanity and lead them to triumph in Sharak Ka—the final war against demonkind.

But in their efforts to bring the war to the demons, Arlen and Jardir have set something in motion that may prove the end of everything they hold dear—a Swarm. Now the war is at hand and humanity cannot hope to win it unless Arlen and Jardir, with the help of Arlen’s wife, Renna, can bend a captured demon prince to their will and force the devious creature to lead them to the Core, where the Mother of Demons breeds an inexhaustible army.

Trusting their closest confidantes, Leesha, Inevera, Ragen and Elissa, to rally the fractious people of the Free Cities and lead them against the Swarm, Arlen, Renna, and Jardir set out on a desperate quest into the darkest depths of evil—from which none of them expects to return alive.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A truly epic end to this series. It is a jam-packed story that took a long time to read. There’s an amazing amount of detail that takes focus and concentration to keep a track of. It’s definitely not one for a skim read.

For a change from many season finales this is actually an end. There are additional novellas that run around this main series and there is a new cycle in development but this book brings all the main storylines to a very satisfying close.

In line with the first four books there are a lot of influences visible in this story. The climactic battle between Arlen, Jardir, Renna and the Demon Queen is like a cross between “Alien” and Stephen King’s “It” while Hasik’s Eunuch Tribe and imprisonment of Abban feels like something from “Apocalypse Now”.

The multitude of characters and storylines are what makes this book so long and, at times, difficult to follow. Brett seems determined to bring back virtually every character and tie off their story. It does give a satisfying feeling of conclusion though.

The only storyline I had an issue with was the capture and imprisonment of Alagai Ka. I found this whole interaction very drawn out and forced. His involvement in the story felt forced and unnecessary. I can’t help but feeling that it would have been better to kill him off and absorb his memories and knowledge the way it was hinted with Renna and then surprisingly abandoned.

Overall this was a great series of books. I give it four stars across all five books and would definitely recommend it. I’ll definitely be taking a look at the other books written around the main series and look forward to reading the new cycle when it’s released.

Header image by Ricardo Esquivel from Pexels

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