Book Review: Peter V. Brett’s Daylight War

Posted March 29, 2013 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Peter V. Brett’s Daylight War

Daylight War

in Hardcover edition on February 12, 2013 and has 639 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Third in The Demon Cycle fantasy revolving around Arlen Bales, a man who refuses to allow demons to take any man.

In 2013, The Daylight War was nominated for the Goodreads Choice for Fantasy.

My Take

Sure, it’s a lot of pages with plenty of space to tell a story, and there is so much story that Brett tells. This particular one brings us up-to-date on what’s happening in Deliverer’s Hollow while Leesha is off with Jardir and what Arlen Bales and his Promised are doing, but it’s primary concern is in filling us in on Inevera’s story and how she brings Jardir into prominence. There’s the infighting amongst everyone: Jardir versus his people and Inervera; Leesha and the people who accompany her on her visit with Jardir and the return; Rojer’s wedding and its myriad issues that slap up against whose loyalty goes where and the strictures of the Evejah; the clash of rulers in Cutter’s Hollow; and, the politics that crash against everyone and everything at every level.

Keep track of the date/time at the start of various chapters. It will help you keep track of when you are in the story as well as act as a countdown to battle.

It’s interesting that Brett uses our notions of Middle Eastern culture and Islam to paint the bad guys, and how often their culture is used in this way. It does make me think of how easily it could be turned around the other way, for no culture is without its wrongs. Part of me wants to say that the culture in which I was raised would find them wrong, but in truth, there are aspects of the West and the Middle East that I find wrong and right. You could claim the dama’ting was wrong, and yet likening it to a nunnery with sexual freedom would also be accurate with more honesty existing in the dama’ting.

In many ways, I think of The Daylight War as a bridge. It’s filling us in on the characters, tidying up what has occurred in the past two installments, and setting us up for the battle to come.

The Story

A world where none dare the night, but ward any possible entrance to living space, storage shed, barn, field, or business against the demons which attack nightly. The people of this world have lost so much, but Arlen Bales has learned spells of protection, of attack, and he is spreading his knowledge to all he can reach.

Inevera is called by the dice into the Dama’ting, possibly to be their next leader. If she can survive the wrath of those Betrothed and Brides who see her as inferior. She will grow to become a manipulative little bitch, relying upon the dice for her every move.

The Characters

Inevera is the youngest child of Manvah, the basketweaver, and her drunken husband, Kasaad. She undergoes the Hannu Pash in the prologue. Soli is her older brother who has just achieved the black robes of a full dal’Sharum. He is also push’ting, gay.

Ahmann Jardir is the leader of the Krasian people, holding the Spear of Kaji. He was Arlen’s best friend before he betrayed him in Desert Spear. Inevera is his First Wife, Jiwah Ka, and Damajah, but he has asked Leesha to marry him. Kajivah is his rather stupid mother.

Jayan, physically strong, and Asome, mentally strong, are Jardir’s first sons. His heirs. Amanvah is the first daughter and Inevera’s heir.

The Brides of Everam, the Dama’ting
The dama’tings’ initial purpose is to heal, to poison, and to use hora magic. Girls new to the Dama’ting are called Betrothed; as they move up in skill, they become nie’dama’ting, and then Brides. Kenevah is the Damaji’ting, the First Bride, the head of the Dama’ting when Inevera first joins. Qeva is her daughter; Melan is Qeva’s daughter; Asavi is Melan’s pillow friend. Enkido was a great warrior, but now he is a eunuch in the service of the dama’ting.

Abban is khaffit and crippled after his mishap in the Maze back in Desert Spear, but he is still a valued friend to Jardir. He has done well for himself as a merchant. Shamavah is Abban’s First Wife. Master Qeran is a brilliant drillmaster, but since he lost his leg, he loses himself in drink. And he hates all khaffit. Fahki and Shusten are Abban’s disrespectful sons. Jamere is his nephew and totally corrupt.

Hasik Ahmann is now bodyguard to the Skarum Ka, a vicious, sadistic sociopath who destroys or rapes anyone he can catch. Dama Khevat is in charge of a boy’s potential for the Sharum. Dama Baden is a push’ting dama, a lord. Cashiv is Dama Baden’s kai’Sharum and Soli’s ajin’pal, the warrior tethered to him, who fought by his side his first night in the Maze. Dama Ashan is personal dama to Jardir, and his heir is Asukaji, who is pillow friends with Asome, his cousin, who marries Askukaji’s sister, Ashia, so that the men may have children. Highly respected by Jardir, Dama Aleverak‘s heir is Maji. Krisha is a rival basketmaker whose goods are shoddy.

Arlen Bales has been called the Deliverer; he is the Painted Man, the Warded Man, known as Par’chin among the Krasians, tattooed with wards of protection against the demons he battles. Renna Tanner is the girl he fled all those years ago; he went back to Tibbet’s Brook to claim her. Twilight Dancer is his demon-fighting horse; Promise is the untrainable horse Renna chooses for her own from Jon Stallion‘s stock, the man who raises and trains the wild Angierian mustangs that fight so well. Nik is his son; Glyn is his wife.

Deliverer’s Hollow
Darsy Cutter is an Herb Gatherer minding Leesha’s house while she’s gone. The town is known for its cutters, lumbermen, who harvest the trees. Those who fought that first battle include Jow, Evin, Linder, and Ande Cutter; Yon Gray and his kin; Tomm Wedge and his sons; Samm Saw; and, Dug and Merrem Butcher, who were real butchers before the battle. Smitt is the innkeeper and Town Speaker; his wife Stefny is a preachy thing until Renna finds the key.

With Count Thamos sent by his brother Duke Rhinebeck of Angiers (their mother, Araine, the Duchess Mum is the real power) with his Wooden Soldiers and supplies, they’ve gone back to being Cutter’s Hollow (see Desert Spear for the battle that occurred there). Lord Arther is Thamos’ servant. Squire Gamon is captain of the count’s guard. Lord Jasin Goldentone is the “duke’s Herald and nephew to Lord Janson, first minister of Angiers”. Tender Hayes is the High Inquisitor taking Tender Jona‘s place. Vika is Jona’s worried wife. Child Franq is Hayes’ self-righteous little aide.

Kendall is a fiddler who can charm demons with her music. Hary Roller is teaching a number of fiddlers how to charm the demons.

Leesha Paper’s return to the Hollow
Leesha Paper is the Herb Gatherer who went off with Jardir. She’s also Arlen’s friend. Her price of acceptance is becoming the duchess’ Royal Gatherer or see someone put above her. Erny and that slut Elona are her parents. Gared Cutter was to have been Leesha’s intended; now he’s Baron of Cutter’s Hollow and General of the Cutters (hollow, since he is already the leader of the Cutters). Wonda is her protector and becomes a bow-woman for the duchy.

Rojer Inn is a master fiddler, a Jongleur, easily able to charm demons and kill them with his playing, and he’s gone off with Leesha Paper. Amanvah and Sikvah — daughter and niece of Jardir — marry him; he’s willing for the particular power they bring.

Kaval is the Sharum who leads the Krasian guard that accompanies Leesha back to the Hollow. He and Coliv were two of the men who tried to murder Arlen.

Krasian culture
Everam is the god of the Krasians. The Maze is a deadly game to hone warriors’ skills. A khaffit is the lowest of the Krasian people. Sharusahk is a type of hand-to-hand self defense; sharukin is a position. Sharik Hora is a temple of heroes’ bones where boys with the greatest potential go for training. Hannu Pash is an event when Krasian children learn what their future holds: the nine-year-old girls have one chance while the boys have several years to learn. The Evejah and the Evejah’ting are the bibles of the Krasians. The first is the general version while the second is written especially for the Dama’ting. Hora magic uses demon bones. The Sharum Ka is the leader of the Krasians. Sharum are Krasian warriors; soon there will be Sharum’ting, women warriors. Sharak Ka is the great battle to come; the Shar’Dama Ka is Jirdar, the Deliverer. The first one was Kaji, their greatest leader. Alagai are demons. Jiwah Sen are sister-wives. “Waxing” and “waning” are phases of the moon the Krasians use to count time. Dama are lords (and clerics??); they are higher in the hierarchy than dama’ting. The Andrah is something like a minister; I think he’s second “heir”. Chin are what the Krasians call the Thesans. A zahven could be a brother or rival.

Thesan culture
The Creator is their name for God, and the Canon is their bible. Gatherers are healers who use herbs and well respected. A hedge warder is one who is self-taught in creating protective wards against the demons. A Tender is their version of a priest.

The Demons
Corelings are one name for the demons who rise up from the Core of the world to feed on humans. Field, stone, rock, flame, mind, mimic, and wood are only a few of the demon types who attack. The Royal Consort is the current demon mated to the Queen; he holds his position through guile and trickery.

The Cover and Title

The cover is RED. In a swirl of silks edged in gold, Amanvah comes to a stop, kneeling on the floor, bejeweled, veiled, in her pillow dancing silks, and holding her hora dice, for this is merely the beginning of true war.

I’m guessing that the title actually refers to The Daylight War being waged between the Krasians and the Thesans. All humans, and more interested in power and territory than actual protection.