Fifteen years have passed since the end of the war with demons, creatures of darkness who have hunted the night and plagued humanity since time out of mind. The heroes of humanity’s hour of need have become legend, and those who remain struggle to escape their shadows.
Olive Paper and Darin Bales have grown up in this new peaceful world. Demons have been all but destroyed, but dangers still lurk for the children of heroes.
Olive, Princess of Hollow, has her entire life planned out by her mother, Duchess Leesha Paper: a steady march on a checklist to prepare her for succession. The more her mother writes the script, the more Olive rails against playing the parts she is assigned.
Darin faces challenges of a different kind. Though free to choose his own path, the weight of legacy hangs heavy around his shoulders. It isn’t easy being the son of the man people say saved the world. Everyone expects greatness from Darin, but the only thing he’s ever been great at is hiding.
But when Olive and Darin step across the wards one night, they learn the demons are not all gone, and those that remain hunger for revenge. Events are set in motion that only prophecy can foresee as Olive and Darin seek to find their own places in the world in time to save it again.
After four long years of waiting, we have finally returned to the desert plain of Thesa. Fifteen years have pasted since the concluding volume in the Demon Cycle series and we are thrown right back into the fray as if we never left. What we get in the Desert Prince is an ever expanding world with several new characters, some returning favorites, and themes of questioning moral and societal norms in organic and inciteful ways. I got the same excitement reading this as when I first read The Warded Man many years ago.
Let me start by staying I do not recommend starting with The Desert Prince if you have not read the entire Demon Cycle series. You will experience many spoilers and miss several of the shocking and wonderful moments of the series. This is probably one of the most difficult reviews I have had to write just based on the spoilers and important themes that need to be experience first hand. This review will also contain spoilers for the Demon Cycle so turn away now if you are new to Peter V. Brett’s work.
Fifteen years after the Warded Man sacrificed himself to destroy the Demon Queen and cleanse Thesa of the Demon horde. We follow two POV characters in this new entry and fans of the original series can guess they are the children of our heroes. Olive Paper is a Princess of the Hollow and is living every second of her life under the watchful eyes of her mother Leesha. Learning how to be a herbiest and a honing her skills as a warrior, all Olive wants is the freedom to make her own choices. Olive may be biting off more than she can chew as the world is a much more dangerous place than she knows. Darin Bales, son of the Warden Man has different challenges of his own. Due to the exposure his mother had to demon magic, Darin can not be exposed to the sun but can sense magic both in site and smell. Darin also has skills playing his musical pipes much like Rojer Halfhand. Darin will need all of those skills and more when his home is attacked and all of Thesa is thrown into chaos.
Now for the difficult part of the review. There is a major element introduced right from the first chapter which will set the themes, events, and conflicts in motion for the rest of the novel. Readers of the original trilogy will know what I am referring to but I will not spoil it here. Peter V. Brett explores several societal and personal questions that are being asked and lived in real life with people across the globe. What The Desert Prince showed me is that what cultures and traditions deem normal doesn’t always coincide with what is right for the person or group. People need to be able to discover themselves and what makes them happy or feel included. When these wishes clash powerful parties, it can lead to quite an unstable situation and this is present throughout the novel. Peter V. Brett introduces these instances naturally and with great care as it meshes with the story very well.
There is plenty of action and combat with sprinkles of character growth and mystery. The climax of the story will only leave you wanting more from all the characters presented. Peter V. Brett shows us once again why he is a best selling author and I look forward to reading the sequel, whenever that may be.