The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett
Series: Demon Cycle #4
Published by Del Rey
Published on: March 31 2015
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The first three novels in New York Times bestselling author Peter V. Brett’s groundbreaking Demon Cycle series—The Warded Man, The Desert Spear, and The Daylight War—set a new standard for heroic fantasy. The powerful saga of humans winnowed to the brink of extinction by night-stalking demons, and the survivors who fight back, has kept readers breathless as they eagerly turned the pages. Now the thrilling fourth volume, The Skull Throne, raises the stakes as it carries the action in shocking new directions.
The Skull Throne of Krasia stands empty.
Built from the skulls of fallen generals and demon princes, it is a seat of honor and ancient, powerful magic, keeping the demon corelings at bay. From atop the throne, Ahmann Jardir was meant to conquer the known world, forging its isolated peoples into a unified army to rise up and end the demon war once and for all.
But Arlen Bales, the Warded Man, stood against this course, challenging Jardir to a duel he could not in honor refuse. Rather than risk defeat, Arlen cast them both from a precipice, leaving the world without a savior, and opening a struggle for succession that threatens to tear the Free Cities of Thesa apart.
In the south, Inevera, Jardir’s first wife, must find a way to keep their sons from killing one another and plunging their people into civil war as they strive for glory enough to make a claim on the throne.
In the north, Leesha Paper and Rojer Inn struggle to forge an alliance between the duchies of Angiers and Miln against the Krasians before it is too late.
Caught in the crossfire is the duchy of Lakton—rich and unprotected, ripe for conquest.
All the while, the corelings have been growing stronger, and without Arlen and Jardir there may be none strong enough to stop them. Only Renna Bales may know more about the fate of the missing men, but she, too, has disappeared. . . .
Peter V. Brett’s DEMON CYCLE began with a truly excellent first installment, but it’s been all downhill from there.
I’ve been struggling with a feeling since about midway through book 2, but I’ve been reluctant to give it voice . . . b/c it would mean admitting that once upon a time . . . I watched soap operas.
Not of my own volition! I spent a lot of time with one of my grandmothers who watched them, and then later I had a babysitter who watched the same ones, and, well, I watched them too.
This series . . . feels a lot like a soap opera.
An aging beauty sleeps with her in-the-bloom-of-her-youth daughter’s ex-betrothed (<------whose father was “the one who got away,” except not really, b/c despite marrying someone else, she kept sleeping with him too).
Beautiful Daughter falls alternately for two men who were once like brothers, but who are now archenemies, becoming pregnant by one, but refusing to marry him (and become wife #15), and in an attempt to protect her child (and her reputation), she falls into bed with handsome new royal in town with the intent of passing the child off as his, but, wonder-of-wonders, she falls in love with Duke, and can’t bear beginning their life together on a lie . . .
*bangs head against wall*
Honestly, if that was my only complaint, I could’ve handled it . . . It would’ve kept the series from my favorites list, but drama in fiction . . . it’s inevitable.
But . . . there’s also the virtual disappearance of #1 MC from this installment, so there still hasn’t been sufficient page time with him and his brand new that-came-out-of-nowhere wife for me to used to the idea.
Then there’s what I’m forced to conclude aren’t significant headaches that for some reason warrant mention every time our focus is on Leesha, as well as her bladder requirements, b/c why waste time with plot developments when you can consistently fill up page space with everyday bodily functions?
And that ultimately brings me back to my complaint about the soap opera-like direction these books have taken. View Spoiler »A character (Leesha) can lose her One True Love once. Hell, I don’t even count Gared being an asshat in their youth when he and Leesha were promised (b/c youth). I could even handle her “falling” for Jardir (or whatever the hell his name is), but, despite her feelings for him, choosing not to become one more body in his wifely harem.
When Jayan killed Thamos . . . after Leesha acknowledged that HE was the only man she’d ever truly loved . . . after he’d forgiven her her deception . . .
Just, NO. There’s a limit to how much pain and emotional duress you get to put an individual character through, and Brett crossed that line.
Worse than that, it felt like he was enacting his own lackluster version of Martin’s Red Wedding: KILL ‘EM ALL! WHY?! B/C I CAN, DAMMIT!
I mean, come on . . . he frickin’ fed a bunch of Laktonian’s to a KRAKEN.
YES. Seriously. « Hide Spoiler
Even without that I doubt I’d continue with the series b/c flagrant abuse of shock factor: View Spoiler »between the image of a bunch of coreling princes standing around in a circle, shitting—literally—on the wards of Kaji’s sarcophagus, and Thamos and Other Dude’s preserved heads being delivered, one with his genitals stuffed in his mouth, the other’s filled with shit . . .
I’m done. « Hide Spoiler
I haven’t read anything this pointlessly graphic since Terry Goodkind’s SWORD OF TRUTH series. I can’t remember if it was book 2 or 3 that made me finally quit, but I remember the disgust, and I would have been happier not reacquainting myself with it.
Unfortunately, that ship has unfortunately sailed. Not recommended.
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