Born into these isolated hamlets are three children. A Messenger teaches young Arlen that fear, more than the demons, has crippled humanity. Leesha finds her perfect life destroyed by a simple lie, and is reduced to gathering herbs for an old woman more fearsome than the demons at night. And Rojer’s life is changed forever when a traveling minstrel comes to his town and plays his fiddle.
But these three children all have something in common. They are all stubborn, and know that there is more to the world than what they’ve been told, if only they can risk leaving their safe wards to find it.
One word should do it.
..and I'm really tempted to leave it at that! But no..I need further gushing..
I really wish I hadn't left it so long to get around to this title. The Painted Man is, without a doubt, one of the finest fantasy novels I've ever read. And believe me, I've read bucketloads of them over the years. I'm even dangerously close to saying THE finest fantasy novel I've ever read, and in fact it's really only Rothfuss who's making that a difficult statement for me.
The concept of the Corelings, and the Wards, is just complete genius. Penned Magical Wards deflecting Demons? What's not to love? The worldbuilding is effortless, and massively compelling. Brett's characterisation is beautiful, the plot is fantastic and the un-putdownability factor had me up until 3am finishing this last night. And I need to be at work for 6. I genuinely loved everything about this novel, and again I think the only other book I can say that about is The Name of The Wind. I absolutely cannot fault it.
As well as the sheer awesomeness of Arlen, with his warded weapons, horse, and skin..the supporting cast here is equally engaging. The portrayal of the herb gatherers and the jongleurs is fascinating, and the snippets of day-to-day life in both the city and the hamlets are so well drawn. As for Krasia..well, it's just the icing on the cake.
Arlen's journey from grieving boy to determined warrior is exquisite. So, so enjoyable. I'm really looking forward to the sequel. And yet at the same time, I'm a little scared! What an act to follow...can it be done? I'll find out after I take a quick break with The Night Circus!
Can't recommend The Painted Man highly enough. If, like me, you're late to the party, hurry! it's wonderful :)