There’s still more history to learn, but business really starts to pick up in Peter V. Brett’s “The Daylight War” ($8.99, Del Rey), the third volume of the Demon Cycle.
Ahmann Jardir, the self-proclaimed Deliverer, continues his war of conquest in preparation for Sharak Ka, but the demons of the night, too, are ramping up their efforts, having for the first time in many years met resistance from their human foes. The Waning is coming, the time of the new moon, when the more powerful alagai princes are able to walk the world. These princes can unite the demon drones for strategic attacks the likes of which humans have not seen.
Arlen Bales, who has begun to unlock the secrets of the alagai and grown greatly in power, returns to Cutter’s Hollow to find it a changed place. A count, Thamos, has moved in with his army and taken control, and Arlen discovers that his friends Leesha Paper and Rojer Halfgrip have gone to treat with the enemy, Jardir, who wants Leesha to become his northern Jiwah Ka (first wife). Arlen must prepare the Hollow folk and himself for the biggest battle so far.
“The Daylight War” shares some similarities with the first two volumes in the story, as we repeat the history leading up to current events again. This time, we get the view from the Damajah, Inevera, the woman who would turn Jardir into the Deliverer. This time, we see the rise of the Krasian warrior and his betrayal of Arlen through the eyes of his Jiwah Ka, though the time devoted to history in this book is much shorter than the first two, as Sharak Ka is clearly growing nearer and the action gets a little more intense in the present timeline.
Plays for power, some frankly surprising, begin to be made in this book, with more set up for coming volumes. It makes you wonder if, with the fractious politics of humans, there’s any hope that they can stand against the hive mentality of the alagai. Though, as we learn, there are also some politics at play in their courts as well. Arlen has begun to realize the same thing. If someone can’t unite the people against the demons, then there’s no hope of victory, no matter how much magic he and Jardir control.
To that end, Arlen will be forced to try a dangerous gambit, all of which leads up to one hell of an ending that had me reaching immediately for “The Skull Throne.” I was glad that I didn’t have to wait a year or more before continuing the story, though if this one ends similarly, I may be upset for jumping so quickly.
At the beginning of the book, I wondered if I could take one more retelling of the history between Arlen and Jardir, but those parts were thankfully fairly brief and did lend some new perspective to the story, mainly from the female characters. Brett ratchets the story up several notches in the current timeline, and from this point on, it would seem that most of the action should be taking place in that storyline. Things are about to get very hairy for a lot of Brett’s characters, and I’m looking forward to the chaos.