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)
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.
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.
Like all of his other books. Unreal. Period. Can not get enough, action, characters, philosophical depth, seriously these books are legendary.
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.
I like fiction(Rick Riordan),sci-fi(Orson S. Card), and vampires and werewolfs(LK Hamilton) to name a few.
The building climax in each book and how you can sense an even longer term larger climax culminating with each book is so rich and tantlating. By this book the change from the original narrator is not even an issue anymore.
This novel, as well as the performance are remarkable. The story is paced perfectly and structured very similarly to previous novels. It's a treat from beginning to end. Loved it
I both love and hate the Malazan series. I love the world, the balance of grit, humor, heroics, and DBZ level power struggles. The prose is often too high level for a casual read, and the books tend to burn me out after a book and a half or so.(Which is admittedly the length of 3-5 normal books.) The audiobooks solve this, but take soooo much time. Either way though, if you like Fantasy and want something with just the right level of grit, Malazan is perfect(assuming you don't mind the occasional googling of words like gloaming.) Just remember to give it three and a half books before you understand the magic systems at all.
It was difficult to get through this one. Some might say this is a rich tapestry of characters and points of view, but compared to other sf/fantasy series, it feels like over-indulgence. There are many sections that are gripping, no doubt about it. The problem is that you have to wade through a tedious amount of character development and exposition. It is like you are taking a psychic dream flight through a world and get stuck from time to time in characters and perspectives that you must follow until you are ejected and can get back to the main plot line.
Sure, if Steven gets a new editor for his next series. He's a terrific writer.
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