The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett – A Review

The only excuse I have for not getting to this review sooner is – life. Things have been really hectic in Netta-land, but when The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett hit the shelves in April of this year you can bet my ample behind was in my favorite Borders, getting me some of that.

You may ask why a dead-broke, struggling writer hack shelled out a nice chunk of change for a hardcover book. Even if you don’t ask, I’m going to tell you anyway. Because I’m worth it! After the fantastic debut of The Warded Man in March of 2009, which I also have in hardcover (signed, too, nyah nyah) there’s no way I was going to miss the release of TDS. (You can read my review of TWM here.) It is so seldom in fantasy literature I find anything that piques my interest, keeps my interest, or actually inspires anything but dead boredom. Does The Desert Spear deliver? (No pun intended.)

It does. Brett takes us deep into Krasia to get to know Jardir, a contender for the title of “Deliverer” and an ex-friend of Arlen’s, a bit better. The Krasian way of life is harsh reality in a warrior culture, and Jardir’s childhood in this culture explains a great deal. Peat’s details and characterizations bring Krasian ways into sharp focus, offering a look into a warrior-dominated culture and strict caste system, and how it shapes events and lives. I don’t want to post any spoilers here in case you haven’t read it yet (and what the hell are you waiting for??) but suffice to say although I may understand Jardir a little better, I still don’t like him and one of his decisions in the first book still irks me.

After a visit to Krasia, fascinating as it was, I was eager and very happy to meet up with Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer again, among others. It is interesting how their lives remain deeply connected, even when destiny takes them in different directions. Arlen continues to evolve, and he just gets more interesting with every sentence. Although, I will say his self-sacrificing ways can be annoying. Leesha is her capable self, but I find one particular action on her part had my jaw hitting the floor, especially with her background. No spoilers, but I felt as if one particular aspect of Krasian culture should have affected her more than it did. This is my own personal opinion, mind. I didn’t like one specific situation, but I don’t have to like it to love the story. And the story rocks.

We learn more about the corelings and we meet with old friends and acquaintances. Brett is a master at pacing, and I spent too many nights staying up way past my bedtime because I couldn’t wait to turn the page. Was The Desert Spear as good as The Warded Man?

I think that’s like comparing apples to oranges. Not only that, but I have to admit to a personal connection with The Warded Man which renders me unable to be objective about this topic. I will say The Desert Spear is different from TWM, and there’s nothing wrong with that. As a fan, it may have been a bit disconcerting in places, but I like being pushed from my comfort zone.

I tried to take my time reading it, but I’m not that disciplined. It came too soon, but the end of The Desert Spear is not really the end at all, but a beginning of Sharak Ka. I almost wish I’d waited longer to pick up TDS, because that would make waiting for The Daylight War , next in the series, seem a little shorter. The upside is I can read TDS over and over until The Daylight War appears. It can’t come soon enough.


Bits and Pieces and This and That – Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

It’s been awhile, I know. Already it’s been one of those years, and we’re not even halfway done yet. Oye.

I do want to bring your attention to two past posts of mine — It Can Happen To You and An Update On Writershire(dot)com. By all accounts, this company is mighty shady at best and a scam at worst. Like I said, most of my clients are wonderful to work with, but there seems to be one in every bunch. Fact of the matter is, if it feels too good to be true, it probably is. Beware of “rush jobs” at the last minute, and don’t be afraid to ask questions or investigate the company before you take on any work. If possible, get a deposit up front. I know there’s a lot of complaining from potential employers about being taken for a ride by unscrupulous writers, but the road goes both ways. Protect yourself.


That being said, I’m going to introduce you to some potential employers I’ve done work for and with whom I’ve had a good experience. They pay, they pay on time, and they pay regularly. Some may not pay top dollar, but a bird in the hand and all that. I hope one or more of these work for you.

Constant Content is a great site to sell articles on just about any subject you might be interested. The pay rate is set by you, the writer, but keep in mind that CC takes a hefty commission. To me, it’s worth it because if there a topic for which I’ve done a lot of research for one client, I can spin that research and post it up on CC for sale. They pay once a month via PayPal, and the other thing I like about CC is their public request system. A client posts a request for an article, detailing the keywords required, and if it’s a subject with which you are familiar or may have research material hanging around, you can submit your article for consideration. If it’s not picked up by the requesting client, it is simply added to your articles for sale.

Constant Content does have a high standard and guidelines, so be sure to read them over carefully before submission.

Another reliable site in my experience is Textbroker. Pay is determined on your rating, and assignments are offered in a variety of different topics. You are rated by the client and the editorial staff, and the higher your ranking the more you are paid. Most assignments are short and sweet, between 200-500 words, and you can request a payout anytime after you reach the threshold of $10, paid twice per month via PayPal. The only drawback, if you can call it that, is you can only pick up one topic at a time. Pay close attention to the due dates…although there’s no penalty for missing one — it simply goes back into the pool — I think it’s rather rude to take a topic and not follow up, you know? Although it has been known to happen to me, too.

Although their vetting process could be seen as grueling, WiseGEEKS pays for all the testing articles, which is definitely a plus. Pay is dependent on the subject matter, but ranges from $10-$12 per 400 word article. There are three rounds of testing — you write three articles at a time, the topics are your choice, then reviewed by an editor. You are expected to improve and implement the changes suggested by your editor. They pay immediately during testing, but once you’re through the process, they allow you to write up to five articles but won’t pay until the proper paperwork is signed and submitted. (This is where I’m at right now.) You are also required to write at least five pieces per week. They have a strict format, and the questions you are answering can take some research, but you choose which ones you want to handle.

Those are just three sites I have done work for and recommend. If you have any questions, leave them here in the comments or email me at annetta.ribken(at) and I’ll help you out if I can.


The next post will be about my friend, Peat, who is currently being held hostage in the UK. I hope he gets home soon, and safely. In the meantime, the dude is kicking ass and taking names…with good reason. More tomorrow 🙂


Breaking News Regarding My Secret Crush, "The Painted Man"

Okay, maybe not-so-secret. If you’ve read me for any length of time, you’re already aware of my un-embarrassed gushing over this stellar novel. In case you missed it, you can see the review of The Painted Man here and my interview with Peat here. If that’s not enough, check out my fangirl squee.

Are we caught up? Good. Because there’s more.

Check it out.

(I’m not a “told you so” type of person. But I believe when I read this the first time I advised Peat to hold out for merchandising rights when the book was optioned for a movie — and this was three or four years ago. Heh. OH – and I want an Arlen doll!)

Can you say FABULOUS?? I’m SO EXCITED!!!


The Warded Man Has Landed!!

There I was in Borders, buying a copy of Peat’s book (you might remember me mentioning it) and I was so excited. To have a friend who’s worked so hard and have it pay off big time — not to mention the fact it’s a fabulous book — is inspiring and so freakin’ COOL.

I couldn’t stop grinning when I saw it on the table. I picked it up, and just giggled out loud, then looked around to see if I could tell anyone — look! it’s my friend! THIS IS HIS BOOK! and I read it BEFORE it went to print! But alas, no one was really interested. I didn’t care.

I opened up the book with reverent hands, and paged through the flyleaf, the table of contents, and stopped at the acknowledgments.


It sure is!

OH. MY. GAWD. My name is in there! I almost passed out. Instead, I burst into tears, and then I did the STUPID WHITE GIRL DANCE in the middle of Borders, I sure did.

He never told me, the booger. I was shocked, surprised, and overwhelmed. I thought of how excited Momma would have been.

I went to the check out, smiling big-big the whole way. Oh my god, okay? Oh my god, MY NAME IS IN THIS BOOK.

Does that Peat fuckin’ RAWK or what?

I told the lady at the checkout — look! it’s my name! And she was suitably impressed.


I flew home on a Cloud of Awesomeness, and when I arrived, there was a package waiting for me.

I opened it up, and it’s an autographed copy of The Warded Man.

Peat is the Most Awesome Fantasy Author EVAH.

Yesterday was the most Stellar Day I’ve had since Muffin was borned. Srsly.


So, I stayed up way too late getting re-acquainted with Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer (I missed you guys! How you been? Oh, I’m good, much better for seeing you all again!) and my dreams were about demons and children and wards. I woke up at 5:30 am, unable to go back to sleep.

I’ll pay for this later, because I’m too old to go on four hours of sleep. But I don’t care! My name is in the book!


Now go! Go buy it and read it. You’ll love it, I promise. And not just because my name is in it. It really is a fabulous book, and although you can wait until the movie comes out, the books are always better.