Spoiler Free Summary: In The Core by Peter V. Brett, The stage is set for Sharak Ka, the final war against demonkind. Arlen, a man who tattooed himself with wards to fight demons; Jardir, the leader of his people and self-proclaimed Deliverer; have joined forces and entered the core, dragging a demon prince as a guide. Inevera is trying to hold Jardir’s kingdom together no matter how much it seems to want to fall apart without her husband to lead. Leesha is ready to give birth, and her child’s complicated parentage forces her to try and outwit the world. She has to do this while preparing the free cities for a war they refuse to admit is on their doorstep. As Arlen and Jardir travel to take out the queen of all demons, the rest of the world is left alone to face the onslaught of those same demons. Killing the queen is unlikely enough without the loss of life, but can they do it before everyone they’re fighting for dies?
Character: I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Peter V. Brett is the best writer of characters and character plots in the game. His ability to use each previous book to give more insight to specific characters makes this book that much more compelling. Every single person, no matte how much screen time, has a deep, well-developed story. This reason alone would be enough to make this my favorite book of the year (which it is), but there’s a lot to like about this book. The characters are just the unquestioned strength of the series.
Exposition: Whenever you have a multi-book series, there’s inevitably a necessary amount of exposition to help readers who haven’t read the rest of the series know what’s going on. Brett weaves most of that in through dialogue, which makes a tad of it feel forced (see below). However, I didn’t really notice much exposition here. Some, but not so much that it bothered me.
Worldbuilding: This is the other aspect of Brett’s saga that stands out. This is an interesting world with a solid foundation of lore, magic, and demonology. There were some elements here that felt a bit like Wheel of Time in that just when you think “that guy is scary!” some other newer, more powerful monster shows up. The political intrigue is a nice bit of detail. I’m glad the story is over (I hate series that run long or never seem to end), but I hope we see this world again soon.
Dialogue: When you’re characters are strong, everything else feels strong regardless of how good it actually is. As I sit here and really think about the dialogue in this book, I realized that’s where the bulk of the story’s exposition went. Characters realistically had to fill each other in, but those chunks of information were force-fed in some places. As long as the reader understands they’ll needed to get through those “info-dump” sections (I can think of three right now), the rest of the dialogue is crisp and powerful.
Description: People who like deep, detailed description won’t think as highly of this as I do. I like my imagination to do the bulk of the heavy lifting, and Brett lets me do that. I get the details I need, and my mind takes care of the rest. Those who want three adjectives for every noun won’t be happy though.
Overall: The Core is (as I type this on May 28), the best book I’ve read so far in 2018. I figured it would be, but this book didn’t let me down in any way. It’s exciting, compelling, funny, and tragic. If you haven’t read this series, consider this my notification. Get this series! Read it! Great, interesting sagas with original magic systems are hard to find. This one fits the bill.
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