There are almost no authors I wait on. George Martin is one, Peter Brett another. I'm hooked on these books. They're the fun, exciting, imaginative fantasy I used to love way back in the 80s, but written for the new millennium with all the additional sharpness and insights that entails.
Brett combines a wonderful idea - the particular combination of 'bad guys' and magic that drives the series - with great characterisation across a broad cast.
To deliver literary punches, to write scenes where we care who lives and who dies, takes time. Time to wind up for the blow. Time to put lives behind those name-tags, time to make the solutions to problems meaningful rather than arbitrary. Fortunately it's time well spent. I found the Inervera back-story absorbing both in its own right and for the second perspective it offered on events in Desert Spear. I am not a person who believes there's a 'now' in storyland and that unless we're moving the plot forward in the 'now' then nothing is happening. If the story of Inervera's initiation into the disciplines of her craft is well told (and it was) that's as interesting to me as the 'now' at Cutters' Hollow and the coming attacks. I don't see one as more valid and important as the other.
It is true that the timeline doesn't advance a great many days past the point reached in Desert Spear. However an enormous amount is learned in that space of days, a hell of a lot of stuff blows up, ichor and blood splatter the page, and a good time is had by all... kinda. Well, by this reader at the very least.
Insert: Having had a chance to see reaction to this book over the past 6 months I have this to add. I've seen quite a few negative reactions to The Daylight War on forums/blogs. This seems to be part of how stuff works. By the time a series is getting established it's often only the people who are upset by the turn of events who bother to register their opinions. I could say the same about George Martin's A Dance With Dragons for example - but both The Daylight War and A Dance With Dragons have thousands of ratings on Goodreads and average scores of 4.23 and 4.29 respectively... so it seems that the bulk of readers are enjoying them a lot and not saying much!
For me these were three quite different books, and that can always cause problems in terms of reader expectations.
The Warded Man: A book of discovery - new world, new enemies, new magic, new characters.
The Desert Spear: Exploring a new point of view and setting up the human vs human conflict.
The Daylight War: Really focused on the characters. One might call it soap opera - but that's not a bad thing if it means putting characters we love through their paces - exploring the relationships, putting them under stress and seeing what happened.
So, yes, The Daylight War delivered like a... deliverer. I got my new information, I got my development of the demon world and the daylight world. I got my fix of the main cast and a collection of new faces. I got my mass battles, touching moments, tension, fun... I'm a happy camper. Just need the next book now.
You can go and 'like' my review on goodreads, if you like.