A quintet of reviews for Peter V. Brett’s highly recommended THE GREAT BAZAAR & BRAYAN’S GOLD.
Photo: Karsten Moran
Paul W.S. Anderson, which is a recommendation to me if no one else and, like Anderson’s always enjoyable films, these novellas reminded me a bit of video games. Pulling a trailer of explosives up a bumpy road, fighting demons in ruins among smashed urns, questing for ancient manuscripts; these are pleasantly familia scenarios to gamers. The novellas also share with his films an uncomplicated and earnest desire to entertain. I think they succeed.
In an introduction Brett say that he hopes these short adventure stories will offer newcomers a convenient introduction to the Demon Cycle series and its characters, while giving existing fans a broader look at his world and a fix between full-length novels. I can’t speak to the latter, but for newcomers they are perfect; including a dictionary and war grimoire helps with that. No book in my collection is fatter than The Daylight War, third in the Demon Cycle, and that had put me off reading it. Now it looks like a feast.
Overall, if you’re already a fan of Brett’s Demon Cycle books, this is an excellent adjunct to that series. If you’re coming to it fresh, these are perfectly fun standalone novellas – you actually don’t need to have read the rest of the series to ‘get’ them; that said, I’d recommend you do, because if you have, there’s more understanding to be had. In either case, this collection is entirely worth your time.
As I reflect on this story collection, the most enjoyable element for me was how Brett presents Arlen as a regular person. He is driven. He is talented. He might even be special, but … he makes mistakes. Mistakes that cause him harm: Physical, emotional, and spiritual. Nor is Arlen’s judgment with people supernatural. He does trust the wrong people. He gets tricked by them. And when he should admit their duplicity, he tends to ignore it, because of his very human fondness for them. All of which made Arlen much more relatable and easy to empathize with than the superhuman, infallible “Chosen Ones” who litter fantasy literature these days.
Now, The Great Bazaar and Brayan’s Gold isn’t a story collection that will astound you or turn the Demon Cycle on its head, but it is a very entertaining companion piece to The Warded Man, which every fan of the series will definitely want to read. I’d also encourage fantasy fans in general to check it out, because reading about a demon infested world is always a blast.
Both are very quick and easy reads and Brayan’s Gold in particular would make a nice introduction to any one who has not had the fortune to read The Demon Cycle series.
If your a serious fan of The Demon Cycle I highly recommend picking it up.
For more info about THE GREAT BAZAAR & BRAYAN’S GOLD, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover design by Elizabeth Story.