The Demon Cycle

By Peter Brett

Peter Brett’s “The Demon Cycle” has a solid premise: a medieval world in which demons rule the night, leading humans to need to bed down in well-protected sanctuaries or risk being ripped limb from limb. It’s a clever idea, and it lends itself to all sorts of satisfying action as characters attempt to survive, and eventually, to fight back against the demon hordes. The series also has considerable depth; lots of characters, lots of flashbacks, and an increasingly complicated political environment.

Brett is a talented writer, and I genuinely enjoyed books one and two of the series. Things started to go off the rails, however, in book three, which is where he lost me. I think the simplest way to put it is that Brett starts to lose track of what makes the narrative interesting. The character development takes a major turn for the worse, and by the end of the book, I didn’t feel like I had much invested in anyone, and didn’t feel like I could predict what the characters would do, which is a major frustration for me. If characters seem to be making arbitrary choices, it’s easy to get sucked out of the immersion, and that’s a deal-breaker.

I feel bad given the entire series a rating of “skip it,” given that it started with such promise, but the truth is that I wouldn’t recommend the series as a whole.

Rating: 1 – Skip It

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