Why has it taken me so long to read the second instalment of The Demon Cycle? I loved The Painted Man, I ended it eager to start reading about Arlen, Leesha and Rojer again. In one word: life. I knew I would love this, I wanted to dedicate a lot of time to the 600 page epic, and that meant waiting. I also really wanted to have the third book, The Daylight War, in my hot little hands before I started. Knowing how high-and-dry the first book had left me, I was taking no chances with the sequel.The Desert Spear doesn't disappoint. It sucks you right back into the exquisite world that Brett has created: the wards, the demons, the fight for succour, the desert people of Krasia. Populated by humans of every kind, from the pious to the scum, and everything in between, this world is, creepily enough, one of my favourite places to be in. The author adds to the cleverly crafted realm by adding the perspective of a demon prince, and allowing us a behind the silk curtains in the Krasian way of life. We might not always like what we see, but it adds a dimensionality to the world that few authors can achieve so seamlessly.The thing that's missing from this book is the crippling fear of demons that permeated the first book. Glimpses into the demon prince's mind have little to do with this (in fact, what little I gleaned about demonic social structures and thought process inspired fear and awe). Demons are no longer creatures to be feared - with the fighting wards, warded weapons, cloaks that hide one from demon's eyes - and become a passing nuisance while the Warded Man journeys across the country-side. It's a bit disappointing, but it does allow for a lot of character development and the expansion of the world, so I can't really resent it.Things I didn't like? I could point out that the way the Krasian's treated their women made me nauseous, but there were - and are - cultures like that a-plenty in our world so I'd feel silly bringing it up. One thing I loved is the way that the women in this culture - lower than the lowliest man - grasped and controlled power. A society that condones the rape and killing of its weakest members (male and female alike), gives an interesting amount of private power to women, however oppressed they are in public. It's an interesting dynamic, and the more I found out about it, the more I wanted to know.You want to read this book, you want to devour this series, you just might not know it yet! Dynamic characters, exquisite world-building, and the masterful story-telling skills of Brett combine to make The Desert Spear just as compelling, just as exceptional as The Painted Man.You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic.