In Northern Genabackis, a raiding party of savage tribal warriors descends from the mountains into the southern flatlands. Their intention is to wreak havoc amongst the despised lowlanders, but for the one named Karsa Orlong, it marks the beginning of what will prove to be an extraordinary destiny.
Some years later, it is the aftermath of the Chain of Dogs. Tavore, the Adjunct to the Empress, has arrived in the last remaining Malazan stronghold of Seven Cities. New to command, she must hone 12,000 soldiers, mostly raw recruits but for a handful of veterans of Coltaine's legendary march, into a force capable of challenging the massed hordes of Sha'ik's Whirlwind, who lie in wait in the heart of the Holy Desert.
But waiting is never easy. The seer's warlords are locked into a power struggle that threatens the very soul of the rebellion, while Sha'ik herself suffers, haunted by the knowledge of her nemesis: her own sister, Tavore.
And so begins this awesome chapter in Steven Erikson's acclaimed Malazan Book of the Fallen.
©2002 Steven Erikson (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
from planet of the geeks
Another great fantasy book made barely listenable by bad narration. It can't say how disappointed I was to see who the new reader was. If Page had narrated these books from the beginning I would have given up.
Story wise, if you've come this far in the Malazan series,you know what you're going to get: great characters, an intricate plot, high magic, and brutal warfare building up to an amazing ending.
This is fantasy at the most absolutely epic end of the genre.
This book brings together so many threads that have been building over the course of the first 4 books, and once you see how intricately structured the tale is that Erikson is telling, the scope is astounding. It is hard to imagine the work that went into planning this story. This was the first book where I really felt like I knew what was going on throughout the vast majority of the book, and so I think I enjoyed it a lot more, even more than Memories of Ice, perhaps.
The first 270 pages or so are a masterpiece of epic fantasy writing, showing that in fact Erikson CAN write one single storyline without diverging into dozens of sub-characters and plots. The writing is tight, and it's hard to imagine anything being cut. When it is over it's actually a bit disappointing that we have to get on with the main storyline, which is of course, the war that's been brewing between the rebellion of Seven Cities and the Malazan Empire. As the tale progresses, I really felt that I had a grasp on most of the key players, and I think this is in part to Erikson finally revealing tons and tons of backstory and explanations of the various plots that are going on. Although unexpected things are constantly occurring, it seems that an overall picture of the storyline is now becoming clearer. After this we reach a kind of pause for breath, as the fifth book starts a new tale on a new continent that will eventually tie into the whole storyline.
The interesting thing is that while there are definitely some good characters and some evil characters, and thankfully the good guys (generally) make it out all right in the end and the evil guys get their comeuppance, there are a host of characters that fall between categories, as it seems in real life, who are "gray" and you do eventually come to understand their motivations and positions, even if you may have hated them at first. I think this tempers the fact that we cannot get quite as much character development at an individual scale when dealing with such a large dramatis personae. The main characters feel like they have some deep backstories that are simply not yet revealed, driven by excellent dialogue and POV moments, plus insights from other characters watching from the sidelines.
I was disappointed at first that the series switched narrators, but within the first hour I was hooked by Michael Page's amazing performance, and now I don't regret it. He especially brought Karsa Orlong to life for me, a character that (as a perfect example of what I mentioned before) I disliked at first, labeling as a villain, and now find one of the most interesting characters in the entire series, whom I find myself cheering on more and more. His growth and development in particular, changing from evil to (mostly) good, is quite a masterful piece of storytelling.
I would get our old narrator back. His voice had a lot more life to it, the characters felt more real, the voices were more varied.
Karsa Orlong. Boom, that guy is awesome.
It is obvious that Michael doesn't study his characters before reading them. Instead, he uses certain voices with certain emotions which causes all characters with a similar voice type to be the same
This would be a phenomenal TV series. The stars are already set up in the book, you could make this similar in style to Game of Thrones, telling multiple stories at once. A great introduction to the world would need to be created though. You would have to keep all of the core characters because they intertwine so heavily, the loss of one might hurt them all. Kruppe, Karsa, Coltaine, The Adjunct, Gamut, WhiskeyJack. The list goes on and on.
Can we get this re-recorded by the original reader?
Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.
I am going to go against the grain of most other reviewers and say that the narrator, Michael Page, does not ruin this book. I liked Lister's narration marginally better, but I am also a fan of Page from the Gentleman Bastard Sequence, where he does a much more inspired job. One way to diminish the shock of listening to different pronunciations and different voices to known characters is to do what I did and take some time off from the series before moving on to book 4. It makes the transition easier. Another element that eases the shock is the fact that the major characters of this book had yet to make an appearance in the series or were bit players up until now.
No, if this book suffers it is on the author. It is still a pretty good book, but I had no trouble putting it down like I did with the others. It took me a long time to get through it. The pacing is much more leisurely than previous books and the climaxes almost feel like non-events.
Erikson is also painting himself into a corner with the regularity of events that should feel momentous, but aren't. In most stories you would think that a god dying or being cast down to the mortal world and other gods and pantheons rising in his place would be a pretty big deal. No, in this series, that's an average Tuesday.
Eirkson does a stellar job with character development with a couple caveats. The characters's development is matched well with the exposition and they are well painted as individuals. The major drawbacks to the character slate is that there are just so many of them that it is hard to identify with them as a reader. Also, he moves on from the ones you like to others that you don't care about. Then he has to do the hard work of making you care and that eats up narration and adds to the slow pace. Also, they are all basically superhuman. Everybody is either Chuck Norris or hamburger. It makes you feel like outcomes were never in doubt, you as the reader just didn't know them yet. It feels like any built suspense was all a lie.
This was my least favorite volume of the series so far. It is still pretty good and I will likely move on to the next book in time, but this edition didn't leave me pining for more.
No. Now if you had of kept the original narator I would say yes.
Poor poor poor.
I love Erickson's work its a level above most epic fantasy, I'm extremely disappointed with the change from Ralph Lister to Michael Page.
Get rid of Count Dracula and bring back Ralph Lister.
Brilliance Audio did a poor job selecting a new narrator for this series. Ralph Lister was phenomenal! I understand that things change and sometimes a new narrator is needed but Michael Page is the wrong narrator for this series. I have several other books he has narrated and he did a splendid job. But those books, and particularly the writing styles of those authors, were different and this is a poor match.
I hope Brilliance Audio finds a new narrator for this series or I will have to finish it by reading which I don't really have enough time for these days.
The story is fine. Author Steven Erikson continues the Malazan: Book of the Fallen series well.
This was another fantastic book by Erikson. Can't wait for Audible to release book 5. Just a word about the narration. I think the criticism Michael Page has received for this book is a bit unfair. True the new character voices were a bit distracting at first, but if Page had started the series there would be no complaining. He does a masterful job of reading a masterful story in my humble opinion.
Erikson does several things better than any other author I’ve read:
1. Consistently introduces new characters to the narrative.
2. Creates dynamic characters, changing their attitudes or philosophies as the story moves.
3. An advanced and mysterious mythology.
4. A magic convention that is unique in fantasy writing.
5. Follow multiple character story lines throughout.
Erikson writes without much consideration for chronology, nor does he give you much in the way of reminding us about a character’s history. This makes for very challenging listening and I find myself going to the Mazatlan wiki page to find information on characters.
This story follows a character we’re introduced to in Deadhouse Gates. Karsa Orlong’s origin story takes a good 3rd of the opening. I found a bit hard to follow, but eventually found myself enthralled with the character and looked forwarded to his storyline reappearing late in the book.
Michael Page was extraordinary as usual. Because names are not always mentioned in dialogue, there were times it was tricky to tell which character spoke.
Like an onion. These books require multiple reads to get the entire story. Each read, however, is entertaining on it's own level. You never feel like you are re-reading, you feel like you are exploring more deeply. I have listened to all the books in the series at least twice and plan to continue to do so.
Difficult to compare.
I love Micheal Page but it was and adjustment at first. I also found it annoying that he changed the voice of Leoman of the Flails. At first he has a more Asian Indian accent. Suddenly he has an more laid back English accent. Getting used to the new interpretation takes time.
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