Random House, 2013, 639 pages
A continuation of his epic Demon Cycle series, The Daylight War features Inevera, the wife of Jadir, who took center stage in Book 2, The Desert Spear. In this heart-stopping installment, humanity continues to struggle against the demon plague - even as survivors hold out hope that the Deliverer will save them all. On the night of the new moon, the demons rise in force, seeking the deaths of two men, both of whom have the potential to become the fabled Deliverer, the man prophesied to reunite the scattered remnants of humanity in a final push to destroy the demon corelings once and for all.
I will continue with this series. I like the story, and I want to see how it ends. But it's really annoying me.
This is the third book in the Demon Cycle. There will be more. You know there will be more because book three ends on a literal cliffhanger. (Well, technically they go off a cliff, but same difference.)
Part of my problem with this series is that I just fucking hate the Krasians. Their culture, based loosely on medieval Islam, with a single-minded focus on warfare that would make Mongols seem conflict-averse, makes them pretty nearly irredeemable. They place no value on anyone who can't kill demons, which means women, men who aren't cut out to be warriors, and non-Krasians are all fit only to be slaves. Sure, now and then you meet a Krasian like Jardir who has an honorable streak, but mostly they're a bunch of murderous rape-happy orcs. Yet clearly we're supposed to kinda sorta admire them. They are just the "other" human civilization, who like the Greenlanders (fantasy Europeans) are trying to survive against the demon apocalypse.
The Daylight War continues the intrigues of both Arlen Bales, who hooks up with Renna who becomes the Warded Chick, and Jardir, two demon-fighting supermen who both want to lead humanity to a final triumph against the demons, but the world isn't big enough for them both because of irreconcilable differences. (A little matter of Jardir backstabbing Arlen in the last book to get his magic spear because he's supposed to be the Deliverer, not some khaffit.)
We learn a little more about the demons. In the first book, they were just rampaging monsters who rose from the earth every night to kill everything in sight. Now we learn there are more and more kinds of demons, including Mind Demons and Demon Princes who are intelligent and have an entire court. This added a little more depth to the demons, although going from mindless scourge to an intelligent species made me wonder how it's taken them 3000 years to wipe out mankind. Also, I was a bit annoyed at all the new demon types casually dropped into the story during battles — oh, now we've got Lightning Demons, and Cold Demons, and Swamp Demons, and okay fine, I get it, you really want someone to write a Monster Manual for your world.
Much of the third book is taken up with giving us the background and upbringing of Inevera, Jardir's first wife (he has like twenty), who appeared as an adversary to Leesha in the previous book. Inevera walks around like a stripper in a society where most women have to wear burkas. Kind of like someone traipsing around in a medieval Islamic court dressed like I-Dream-of-Jeannie. In the chapters devoted to her rise to become the Deliverer's wife, we learn that like Jardir, she had to outfight and outwit a bunch of older rivals and survive their intrigues for years, because of course Krasian harem politics are just as brutal and deadly as Krasian warfare. So Inevera becomes a 12th level Sex-Ninja. There are an awful lot of chapters going into explicit detail about how they learn the art of sexyjutsu. Seems to me the author might have been indulging a bit too much in his kinks.
I actually found the Inevera chapters were frequently more interesting than the slow progress of the Greenlanders back to Cutter's Hollow in their preparation for the big stand-off against the Krasians. The problem is that Inevera's chapters were all flashbacks, often retelling from her POV scenes that we already saw in the previous book.
Plotwise, this is a very thick book that doesn't take us forward very far. At the end of the book, Jardir and Arlen have their long-awaited confrontation and... To Be Continued.
This remains an entertaining page-turner but it could really be less bloated and I'm kind of not looking forward to wading through the next one.
Also by Peter Brett: My reviews of The Warded Man and The Desert Spear.
My complete list of book reviews.