Unexpected! From page one, this book has sped up in the direction so very different from what I anticipated after finishing The Warded Man. Result = WHIPLASH! Which is fun, by the way. (From Peter Brett's site, the gorgeous illustrations for the Polish edition of this book. Absolutely beautiful!)We get a full 180 degrees turn on the atmosphere of this world. Suddenly the corelings go from being the overwhelming menace of the night to little more than a nuisance - WHIPLASH! (Well, at least until we get a better taste of the Coreling Prince, but at this point that's more of a faint promise of the future threat). Instead, this book focuses on the people. And this change of direction works. ******Jardir suddenly goes from the evil backstabbing bastard to a Unifier (per Coreling Prince) with a strong feeling of honor and purpose, and his evil is not as much evil as a very different belief system from that of Arlen. WHIPLASH! Is he a likeable villain or a misjudged good guy? Still not sure. Oh, and nice insight into Krasia and Krasians - good backpedaling from borderline xenophobia of the first book. I respect them quite a bit, even if I don't quite love them. “Don’t hate the Krasians,” Arlen said, and then paused. “Not all of them, anyway. But their way of life, making slaves of everyone who ent a man and a warrior… it ent right. ’Specially not forced on Thesans at the end of a spear.” I missed Arlen of the first novel. In this book he is way more brooding and self-hating - and yeah, he has his reasons for that. But hopefully Renna will help him get over the depressive period. Speaking of Renna... (oh hi, Renna! *waving happily* We missed you for several hundred pages!) I love what you are becoming, but you're getting there so fast and kinda out of nowhere that all I can say is WHIPLASH!Leesha! (Did I mention how much I adore Leesha?) Leesha goes from a capable leader and awesome healer to TRIPLE BADASS with skills that almost rival those of Arlen. All in a super-short time. Sorta whiplash. But I love Leesha, and so that's cool, Mr. Brett.Overall, Desert Spear is an enjoyable book that takes a sharp turn from its predecessor and delivers an interesting story full of great characters. It sets up the stage for future confrontation between the Core and two potential Deliverers very well, and I am sure that nothing will play out the way I expect it. Desert Spear has its drawbacks, but it delivers such fun reading experience that I am gladly willing to overlook its flaws. And so the wait for The Daylight War begins.