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Review: The Core

Book 5 (final) in the series


For time out of mind, bloodthirsty demons have stalked the night, culling the human race to scattered remnants dependent on half-forgotten magics to protect them. Then two heroes arose—men as close as brothers, yet divided by bitter betrayal. Arlen Bales became known as the Warded Man, tattooed head to toe with powerful magic symbols that enable him to fight demons in hand-to-hand combat—and emerge victorious. Jardir, armed with magically warded weapons, called himself the Deliverer, a figure prophesied to unite humanity and lead them to triumph in Sharak Ka—the final war against demonkind.

But in their efforts to bring the war to the demons, Arlen and Jardir have set something in motion that may prove the end of everything they hold dear—a Swarm. Now the war is at hand and humanity cannot hope to win it unless Arlen and Jardir, with the help of Arlen’s wife, Renna, can bend a captured demon prince to their will and force the devious creature to lead them to the Core, where the Mother of Demons breeds an inexhaustible army.

Trusting their closest confidantes, Leesha, Inevera, Ragen and Elissa, to rally the fractious people of the Free Cities and lead them against the Swarm, Arlen, Renna, and Jardir set out on a desperate quest into the darkest depths of evil—from which none of them expects to return alive.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

3.5 stars. Overall I thought this was a fitting end to the series. A lot of pieces came together well from all of the books and I appreciated that not everyone makes it out in the last few chapters. Brett had really heavy stakes built into the plot and it would have been dishonest to those stakes for everyone to live. And despite some sad ends, the ending is sunny and hopeful.

Two things kept me from bumping this up to four stars. First were the writing problems I mentioned in my review of The Skull Throne. The second is Leesha.

I don’t like Leesha and I haven’t since the second book. I don’t, however, blame the book for that. The series has a wide range of characters and its not really reasonable to expect to like everyone, just like in life. My problem with Leesha, though, is that Brett seems so insistent that the reader knows that everyone loves her. There is not a single character chapter for her in this book where someone doesn’t make it a point to let the reader know that they would die for Leesha. None of these characters treat anyone else like this and it doesn’t really make any sense story or character wise.

This was a fun ride though, overall, and I’m glad I stuck with the series. I am looking forward to trying whatever Brett decides to do next.