The Seven Cities Rebellion has been crushed. Sha’ik is dead. One last rebel force remains, holed up in the city of Y’Ghatan and under the fanatical command of Leoman of the Flails. The prospect of laying siege to this ancient fortress makes the battle-weary Malazan Fourteenth Army uneasy. For it was here that the Empire’s greatest champion, Dassem Ultor, was slain and a tide of Malazan blood spilled. A place of foreboding, its smell is of death. But elsewhere, agents of a far greater conflict have made their opening moves. The Crippled God has been granted a place in the pantheon; a schism threatens and sides must be chosen. Whatever each god decides, the ground rules have changed irrevocably, terrifyingly, and the first blood spilled will be in the mortal world. A world in which a host of characters, familiar and new, including Heboric Ghost Hands; the possessed Apsalar; Cutter, once a thief now a killer; the warrior Karsa Orlong; and the two ancient wanderers Icarium and Mappo, each searching for such a fate as they might fashion with their own hands, guided by their own will. If only the gods would leave them alone. But now that knives have been unsheathed, the gods are disinclined to be kind. There shall be war, war in the heavens. And the prize? Nothing less than existence itself...
"This novel and all others in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series follow my own pronunciations of 'Malazan' words and names. My thanks to Michael and Jane and everyone at Brilliance Audio." - Steven Erikson, Victoria, B.C. Canada, January, 2014
©2006 Steven Erikson (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
"The kind of epic narrative that will have you scrambling for more." (Stephen R. Donaldson)
INCONSISTENT VOICES!!! Seriously, this is getting ridiculous! But more on the performance in a moment...
This is another epic installment to the Malazan series. It hits all the marks - wildly creative, eloquent in prose, frantic in its action, and a scope almost unparalleled in fantasy fiction. Erikson is in full stride on this one, and for fans who have made it this far, it is a crazy and fulfilling ride.
The amount of stuff that happens in this book is simply astounding. Erikson is known for his massive cast of characters, and just about all of them come into play here. For those who have made the investment to know them all, who have learned about the world and followed the story up to this point, the payoff with this volume is absolutely huge. Sequences string together and pull you right along, and you can never guess what is coming next. The characters, which initially felt shallow due to the lack of "screen time", have by this point come into their own, and feel incredibly well realized in the reader's mind.
To even attempt to summarize the plot is pretty much a ridiculous endeavor. Nevertheless if you've made it this far, you should enjoy it immensely. Now that we're past the halfway point, it's starting to feel like the main threads are taking shape and coming together, and I can see several confrontations ahead that promise to be as epic as almost anything I've read. The intricate plot continues to develop and intrigue the reader, as this war among the pantheonic players develops full force.
However, I do have issues with the audio presentation of this series. Michael Page has a great voice, but I don't think it's the right one for this series. There are several annoying problems:
1. Inconsistent voices. This is an amateur mistake that could easily have been avoided. Most notable among these are Karsa Orlong, one of the main characters introduced in House of Chains, and his voice is very different from what it was in that book. He sounds more generic here, and frankly more stupid.
2. Inconsistent pronunciations. The pronunciation for "soletaken" has changed again, as has the pronunciation of several character names, places and race terms.
3. Strange choices for the voices. There are some character voices that seem jarringly out of place. Icarium, a massive barbarian, has a tiny, high-pitched voice like a child. Empress Laseen, whom I would think has a cool, calculated voice, is delivered like an old woman with a heavy foreign accent. Shadowthrone is delivered like a senile old man.
4. Limited variety in the voices. Granted, there is a huge cast of characters here. But the majority of Page's voices seem to be limited to (A) growling, beastly voices and (B) high-pitched, overly accented voices. Also, "pirate" voices are very predominant as well. There are very few characters delivered either as intelligent, manly, or neutral, making me wonder if Page is just limited in the voices he can deliver?
I realize that it's too late to do much about this at this point, and granted, there is a huge cast of characters, making delivery insanely hard for anyone. But it is such as shame as I feel that all of these problems could easily have been avoided.
Overall this is definitely not one to be missed, and more than any other probably leaves you eager to start the next book in the series.
from planet of the geeks
Another great story by Erikson, but again the narrator's voices make it almost unbearable. I'm sure there are works that Page's style is suited to, but this is not one of them. Icarium sounds like an old woman, and several of the others are no better. This narration is dragging the series down.
Still really enjoying this series, but I wish they hadn't changed the narrator. I find myself losing focus on the book because of how the voices tend to blend. still, great story, looking forward to the next
I have liked Michael Pages character voices for the most part but my one big gripe is that he voiced Icarium, who is one of the most powerful characters in the whole series, and made him sound like a scared, helium filled, child with his rendition. Everytime I hear Icarium dialogue now it annoys me. Icarium used to be my favorite character in this whole series, now I can't stand listening to him talk.
Like all of his other books. Unreal. Period. Can not get enough, action, characters, philosophical depth, seriously these books are legendary.
I love the book, but the narrator has a very limited range.
Memories of Ice- for an example of how good these books can be when narrated properly.
Definitely not for this series, and likely not for any :(
Ralph Lister, the narrator on the first 3 books, was infinitely better. Icarium, the huge half-man, sounds like an old crone as Page reads him. Quick Ben, the tall thin effeminate speaking man of vast intelligence, sounds like an old pirate. This is seriously taking away from my enjoyment of the series.
The whole sense that the series inspires is like an Anti-Lovecraftian feel, and I mean that in the best way. When treated to tales of Cuthulu, one feels small and aimless, like a speck of sand drifting beneath the nostrils of a dinosaur.
When treated to the tales of the Malazan empire, you get a strong feeling for how small everything is, and yet how vital each life can managed to be, emphasizing that even grains of sand can make up a might desert.
The characters are fun, interactions are generally delightful, the gods are mysterious and powerful, the mortals are brave and stubborn. The series as a whole conveys this anti-smallness in a way that is not preachy or Anime style stupid, and this book does not fail in upholding that legacy, which is what I like most.
Karsa Orlong. To understand you must...Witness.
Michael Page is somewhere between awesomely great and terribly off. Sometimes his voice fits sooo perfectly you wonder how you could have ever doubted him, but his range is limited, especially with female characters, and in fast dialogue, it can be hard to know who is speaking sometimes. Lots of the women sound like old women, even when they are not, but some of the not old women do not sound old, so its not consistent.
The Bone Hunters
We are Going to Need a Bigger God
The story loops and loops and managed to just stay ahead of its knots, but it is sometimes noticeable. Steven doesn't always kill his darlings, which can result in some pretty profound, poetic statements being said by rather unpoetic characters, but when he spares those darlings, you usually forgive him, cause you can totally see why. This is the Epic of Epic fantasy, and I can say that outside of things like Tolkien and Stormlighgt Archive, I have not read much else that competes, and this is surprisingly enjoyable, if unending, distraction during my drives to work.
Brilliant like the whole Malazan BotF series!
As always, amazing narration performed by Michael Page, this book takes you straight back into the conflagration in the Raraku desert, right after the side story in Midnight Tides (book 5).
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