The Second Book of the much acclaimed Malazan book of Fallen by Steve Lundin aka Steve Erikson brings back the sense of darkness and helplessness while creating more myths and expanding his universe and all in all creates a triumphant sequel one that is surely a must-read for every fantasy reader / author .
“Children are dying.”
Lull nodded. “That’s a succinct summary of humankind, I’d say. Who needs tomes and volumes of history? Children are dying. The injustices of the world hide in those three words.”
PLOT SUCCINCT –
Following up on the Events of the Malazan Armies attempt to conquer Darujisthan, the second book in the Malazan Book of Fallen focusses away from Whiskeyjack , Dujek , Rake and all the members involved in the wars fought in the first book , specifically Pale and Darujisthan , the exception to that being – Fiddler the sapper , Kalam the claw assassin , Daru thief Crokus and Apsalar who have set out on their return to Malazan empire , meanwhile separated by thousands of miles a rebellion is about to rise in form of what’s known as Whirlwind, a religious crusade under the guide of a prophet Sha’ik , and it’s a dire situation that a unit of Malaz army led by a wickan commander Coltaine and his bands of misfits face, Meanwhile the involvement of Captain Ganoes Paran hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Dictator Empress who has decided that his sisters are now pawns in the games of gods and Malazan empire, and another few miles away a Threll and a Half – Jaghut are on a mysterious Journey which is often leading them towards a convergence
“The lesson of history is that no one learns.”
DETAILED REVIEW –
The Malazan books of Fallen are a truly special masterpiece which requires the reader to be vigilant at all times , the Book Demands your complete and undivided attention while reading the book and such is the writing of Steven Erikson that the demands are really easy to fulfilled . While reading and finishing the first book I actually believed that I was familiar and accustomed to the writing style of the author but it came as a surprise to me that this book retained it’s confusing beginning similar to the first book .
“Ah, Fist, it’s the curse of history that those who should read them, never do.”
The plot follows up on the events of the first book but frustratingly takes it thousands of miles away from the lead protagonists of the first book to the Desert Raraku and seven cities . But it didn’t necessarily turn out to be a bad thing as the world of Malazan book of fallen was expanded , new myths were created and some amazing secrets were revealed*
*for those who have read the book I mean the identity of the new gods of the shadow realm and the revelation by surly to kalam towards the end of the book
The excellent character creation was an obvious forte’ of Steven Erikson which was featured in his creation of all his character in his first book , that skill continues with this book with some excellent character creation however what Erikson achieved magnificiently in this book was an excellent Character development to match the creation and which sadly was missing in the first book , You can really get involved and relate to each and every character in the book and come to love or hate those characters in the book .
“What makes a Malazan soldier so dangerous? They’re allowed to think.”
One truly magnificient creation was the character of Felisin , who debuted for few pages of the first book and whose character lost it’s innocence in the initial pages of the book itself and then takes many pivots throughout making one feel all of the emotional spectrum from Pity , sorrow ,sympathy to rage , anger , disgust to genuine respect and compassion .
“We are all lone souls. It pays to know humility, lest the delusion of control, of mastery, overwhelms. And, indeed, we seem a species prone to that delusion, again and ever again.”
But that’s not the only achievement of the book as the author portrays fine military tactics and narrates a Bloody war which showed the dark side of human nature when they are unleashed , the scene created in the book of total devastation and despair following the whirlwind’s arrival . You can stop but feel the despair coming out of the pages and shroud you in itself and yet you are looking forward to what this leads to . The book consists of some of the most gruesome depiction of death which makes you embrace a sense of helplessness that till this date I have seldom if ever felt
The cons for this one are scant as the writing might still be bothersome to some but having read and understood the significance of patience and concentration for Steven Erikson I highly doubt this to be a big deal for the now acclimatized audience of the series . The dialogue and interaction between characters remain a bit rusty but again it’s not much bothersome when compared to the epicness* of the book . The real problem that this book can have for some readers is that the plot actually becomes a lot confusing on some points , I mean I am reading the 3rd book and I have yet to understand how Fener was dragged to the mortal realm or how Fener’s presence in the Mortal realm is fatal to him but ascendants like Anomander Rake and Caladan Brood reside in the Mortal Realm are not even weakened
*not sure if that’s an actual word
“Name none of the fallen, for they stand in our place, and stand there still in each moment of our lives. Let my death hold no glory, and let me die forgotten and unknown. Let it not be said that I was one among the dead to accuse the living.”
If given the time I may end up talking about this book for infinite pages but I have to stop here and I have barely talked about the things I like about this book. In terms of volume the book is more than 900 pages thick but each and every page is crucial and fascinating . Requiring undivided attention from the reader Malazan book of Fallen truly deserves a spot in the pinnacle of the fantasy genre and fans of Tolkien who likes to read the book especially for how it’s written would especially appreciate the beauty of this book , but besides them every one who has ever liked a Epic Fantasy book and has guts to tolerate darker themes would surely fall in love for this book . All it needs is a bit of patience and your complete undivided attention
“Show me a mortal who is not pursued, and I’ll show you a corpse. Every hunter is hunted, every mind that knows itself has stalkers. We drive and are driven. The unknown pursues the ignorant, the truth assails every scholar wise enough to know his ignorance, for that is the meaning of unknowable truths.”