Having said that, they're certainly worth the read, especially while we wait for Peter V. Brett to drag us down into The Core.
The Great Bazaar was a fun story, because it hearkens back to an earlier, more innocent time when Arlen was still a messenger. It explores a bit more of the world, exposes some surprising corruption within the messenger ranks, and adds snow demons to our monster repertoire. More importantly, it answers a question I always wondered about regarding thundersticks. It's refreshing to see Arlen as a young man again, bold and confident, but not yet laboring under the weight of his own destiny.
Brayan's Gold was less of a stand-alone story, feeling much more like the deleted chapters it really is, but it's exciting to have some scenes told from Abban's perspective. Again, this is a story of Arlen's early years, when he's already come to Fort Krasian and made an ally of the khaffit, but has yet to make his most important discovery. Here we are reminded of his treasure hunting past, and we understand a bit more of just how it is that he came to make that eventual discovery that would change his world.
Given that all of this comes from the lost pages of The Warded Man, it's not surprising that One-Arm is such a prominent force in both stories, but it is rather shocking to see Arlen fully encased in warded body armor. Sometimes we forget how far a hero has traveled, so it's refreshing to recall the days when he was still very much mortal, and not yet chosen. As for the deleted scenes, they're just that - deleted scenes - rather than self-contained narratives. Interesting, but nothing remarkable.
All told, though, The Great Bazaar & Brayan's Gold was a nice look back at the origins of Arlen and The Demon Cycle.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by Tachyon Publications
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration.This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my honest review.