I have been trying to dodge writing an review about this book for a while because this is as per me one of the best works in fantasy to the date* and yet many people are literally scared of reading this book and many don’t even finish the first 100 pages and quit and call this one of the most over hyped book ever . If you listen to what I say , than I say that’s certainly not the case .
Ambition is not a dirty word. Piss on compromise. Go for the throat
*and I say this despite not having finished the whole series at the day of writing this post
Steve Rune Lundin Hailing from Canada and writing with a pseudonym of Steven Erikson is an Anthropologist and Archaeologist and published the first Book of the Malazan Book of the Fallen on January 2005 and being the decade of Fantasy becoming a main attraction for readers of generation Lundin’s work got quick acclaim from many critics and readers and yet at the same time many readers thought the book was confusing and didn’t like it. Full Disclaimer I myself was amongst one of those who discarded the book* and never gave it a second look for nearly a decade
*Give me a break ok , I was a kid back then , we all make mistakes alright
So in 2016 I decided to give the Malazan book of fallen a re-try and this time things finally fell to pieces . I guess the reason that the second reading was so successful for me is that having grown older and maybe even wiser I had finally learnt the importance of Patience and unlike books like the Martian or Dresden Files or even the first Law trilogy The Malazan book of fallen requires both your patience and your undivided concentration .
“Every decision you make can change the world. The best life is the one the gods don’t notice. You want to live free, boy, live quietly.”
“I want to be a soldier. A hero.”
“You’ll grow out of it.”
Set in a beautifully crafted land of Genabackis the story follows the attempt of domination by the new ruler of Malaz after succeeding to overthrow the old ruler who had succeeded in conquering most of the Land and now to cement their legacy the new ruler has set their sight on Darujisthan , However the people who are sent to accomplish this task find themselves surrounded in various mysteries, treachery and other maliciousness that might even test their faith in the Malazan Empire .
Shake your fist all you want but dead is dead
Lundin basically believes in your skills as a reader and thinks you to be not only be brave enough but be wise enough to not require pages filled with past deeds of characters and History of the land of Malaz . Lundin refuses to spoon-feed you with the plot and believes in your intelligence to figure out what the various characters motivation are and where the plot is headed .
“Words are like coin—it pays to hoard.”
“Until you die on a bed of gold,”
Lundin successfully shows his skill as an archaeologist and creates the world of Malaz , Genabackis , Darujisthan and others where you are pushed to your imaginative boundaries and amidst the beautiful scenery that the author creates are the real mainstays – his beautifully crafted and dubious Characters . Those who read my blog know that one of the chief features that draws me towards any book are it’s characters* and Lundin characters are truly a thing to behold .
*I mean it , if you have a book filled with plot holes but characters that fascinates me I’ll defend that book like I am a Royal knight and your book is my realm to protect
The book is filled with countless characters a group of soldiers , a bunch of Gods , Warriors , clans , races and species unseen and uninvented in any other book of any other genre . And despite the huge cast of book by the end of the book you nearly connect with each and every character and sparing a couple of characters you can explain the motive and logic behind each and every action of the long listed cast
“The Empress expects obedience of her servants, and demands loyalty.’ ‘Any reasonable ruler would have the expectation and the demand the other way round.”
The main drawback of the series is the interpretation of the author the book is an confusing state of affairs unless you are fully concentrated and patient , this makes for the first 100 pages of the book especially arduous . Things do fall into pieces very well as one reads along and it makes of a peculiar sense of satisfaction when the jigsaw of puzzles that the book was finally completes but in the generation when most of us have grew up reading books where author has to write and explain in detail every act in his book Lundin works may end up making many uninterested audiences.
Some of the character interactions also came across strange and abrupt one such was Tattersail and Paran . However I guess being the first book and considering the book was already 700 pages long it would have been difficult for the author to slowly create the relationship between the two and having read future books of the same series I now realise that this interaction between the two has been one of the most important event of the series .
“Too many regrets. Lost chances—and with each one passing the less human we all became, and the deeper into the nightmare of power we all sank.”
Even the most minor of the events depicted in the book has had an impact on this book and on future book and Despite being a complex book depicting an unknowable world with intricate history , mystery , myth and a grand narrative unlike any other I believe that Steven Erikson or Steve Lundin is the most extra ordinary writer and I am in awe of his work and can’t stress enough how important this book is for the fantasy genre
“High house shadow, and a knife in the dark. A new game’s begun, or the old one’s just turned.”