Book Review: The Core by Peter V. Brett
This one turned out to be a bit of a monster to get through. It is twice as long as the few books previous to this I’d read — but I don’t think that was really the issue. I go through cycles of reading a lot and then cycles of reading a lot less.
That can be influenced by how much I’m enjoying what I’m reading but this time around I think it was simply more to do with shifting priorities changing my routine. The largest part of my normal reading time is in bed, going to sleep. During this 70+ day COVID lockdown, my sleep patterns have shifted toward being later and later with less and less reading time.
But I’m done now!
So time to review. I’ll be reviewing the series as a whole, but will still avoid any spoilers.
Author: Peter V. Brett
Series: Demon Cycle #5
Publisher: Harper Voyager (or Del Rey, depending on edition)
Published: September 28th 2017
Source: Personal Copy
Read: August 2 – October 27, 2021 (on Kindle)
Rating: 3 of 5 stars (I liked it)
‘There will be a swarm.’
Being the final book, the blurb contains many spoilers for the rest of the series.
As such, I won’t copy it here. You may read it here if so inclined.
“A father’s fear for his children does not fade when they grow, Par’chin.”
My normal approach upon discovering a book by an author new to me is to just devour everything they’ve ever written. Start to finish- boom, all of it. A sort of ‘catching up’ ritual before adding them to the list of authors I avidly await the next releases of. The main exception to that is any ‘novella’ or short stories. Right or wrong, I view them as DLC for stories and unlike the gaming arena, this isn’t yet something I’ve come to accept in the book world.
I’ve had a slightly more rocky road with the Demon Cycle. I started reading this series in 2016, a year before this book — the final in the series — was released. The first two books I read back to back in my normal way but then… needed a break. I don’t now recall what it was I read instead, but it took a while for me to come back to book 3, after which I took another break. I took a break during book 4 — something I essentially never do.
This might suggest I didn’t enjoy what I was reading. And to further that potential line of thought for the moment — now that I’m done? No post-book blues. Not even a desire for more. I’m typically very greedy in that respect, wanting more, more, more in a world I enjoy.
But to turn that around — I’m satisfied with where The Core ends things.
The journey to get here has been long and certainly, my experience with the series has been uneven. No book — including this one — in the series has quite risen to the same level as The Warded Man, the very first in the series.
The Demon Cycle is Brett’s first published series and he struck gold with the initial book. After which, I felt there was just too much experimentation in style and tone. We jumped back in time — not just for flashbacks or small interludes, but large portions of books, a third or more in some cases. Sure, this added colour to the proceedings, but it also meant that nothing moved forward.
Characters we had grown interested in just being nowhere to be seen for long stretches.
On Goodreads, for each individual book, I’ve rated 3-stars (I liked it), except for the first which I rated 4 stars (I really liked it) — but the series as a whole sits in my mind as a 2-star event (It was OK). Considered alone, The Core is probably edging close to 4-stars as well. But… Despite being satisfied with how things were ultimately wrapped up… You’re really not meant to feel relief at being done with a series.
The last time I felt like this at the end of a series was upon the completion of The Wheel of Time.
Peter V. Brett has commenced a follow-up series based 15-years after the events of these books, centring around the generation after the characters we knew in this series. Never say never- but for the time being, I’m giving it a pass with no real intention of revisiting the world created here. Perhaps after it has been released in its entirety if it seems to be a more even experience I’ll reconsider.
Although if I could beg one change in particular: Please drop the folksy dialect. Please. It might add a certain flavour, but it certainly isn’t one that I enjoy.