The Daylight War (audio book)

The Daylight War  - Peter V. Brett, Pete Bradbury
Book Three of the DEMON CYCLE - a series that started so promisingly with The Warded Man - commences 33 years prior to the current time line, and proceeds to spend altogether way too much time detailing the backstory of a previously middling character whom I had little to no interest in. Sadly, things improve little from there.

Clearly, I'm not a fan of this book. Middle books in a series often suffer from a languid pace (just ask George R. R. Martin) as the author typically has to move all of her or his pawns into the places they need to be for the grand finale, but The Daylight War moves at several kilometers slower than languid. To my mind, glacially slow would be a more apt term. Brett takes what he had shaped to be an intriguing premise - that of humans fighting humans even as the demons from the Core below plotted their downfall - and somehow manages to depict virtually none of the promised war between north and south, while fleshing out events from another perspective that readers of the previous two novels in the series have already had to read through twice. I'm all for Rashamon type narratives when done well (hell, I might be one of the only people in the known universe that liked the movie, Vanishing Point), but as part of a five-book epic fantasy series, it screams filler. And was no more satisfying to me.

I persevered through to the end though, partly because I was listening to this one as an audiobook read by Colin Mace. To be fair, I can now confirm 28 hours listening to a slow book is even more painful than half that time reading through a slow book. ie. Maybe I wouldn't have disliked this quite so much had I just read the damn thing. Even on 1.5 speed, it dragged and dragged. I shouldn't comment on Mace's performance then as I did hear it at half again normal speed, but he did sound almost normal at that listening pace, so I'm not sure what that says. Meh. A visual person I remain, and short of another brain fade in about 9-12 months from now, I'm just going to steer away from any story that I can't see...

I should comment on the other thing that really bugged me about The Daylight War: the dumbing down and character assassination of one Arlen Bales. Why sideline your major character for so long? And once he does make an appearance, why make most of that from the POV of his seriously annoying girlfriend who exists purely for the purpose of creating a love triangle (oh and to eat demon flesh - which will, no doubt, go very bad two-thirds of the way through the next book).

So, there you have it. Not one I can recommend even to fans of the first two novels in the series. But if you've already invested 1500 hundred pages of your time, you owe it to yourself to find out for yourself what the next 800 pages holds. Just don't say a lone, tiny voice out there in the internet-ether didn't warn you.

1.5 Ichor-Stained Diaphanous Robes for The Daylight War.