The Demon Cycle continues in The Daylight War, marking the halfway point of the series. This book is a bit different from its predecessors, showcasing once again how Peter V. Brett is not afraid to mix things up a little. The Warded Man was the opening story, introducing his world and the characters and magic it contains. The Desert Spear expanded on character development and hammered home the point that humans will fight each other even with the ever-looming demon threat. The Daylight War still focuses heavily on the characters as the gears their actions put in motion continue to turn.
Whereas the first book began with the perspectives of main characters, readers get to see more POVs throughout this series. Even relatively minor characters get a chapter here and there to enhance their characterization. But the main characters are still facing challenges themselves. Arlen must make hard choices as people begin to deify him after years spent on the road alone. Old relationships will be tested as new ones are forged and his faith is tested as events force him to wonder whether some people are worth saving. Without spoiling anything, it is nice to see some characters from book 1 return instead of being forgotten forever.
While Arlen is an amazing character, the others are not sitting idle during his adventures. Leesha finds herself thrust into a leadership position and all of the responsibilities that come with it. Rojer learns more of his own talents and the impact they could have in combating demons. The Krasian characters continue their crusade, determined to unite humanity (by force) under a single banner before waging a true war against the demons. In particular, readers will learn more about Inevera and her fellow Dama’tings. Outwardly, Krasia may seem like a male-dominated culture, but events behind the scenes are rarely the same.
Characterization is clearly one of Brett’s strong points as a writer and it shows throughout the series. In the first book, mere months before The Daylight War, humans could do almost nothing to demons. The Krasians were fighting a losing war and everyone else hid in their homes nightly. Now, demons can be killed as easily as game animals can be hunted. These people can suddenly fight back for the first time in centuries, let alone within living memory. For the first time in eons, they have hope. But with the power that brings that hope about, so too will they find hardship, pain, sadness, love, joy, and more than they ever expected in this brave new world.