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Book Review: Dust of Dreams (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #9) by Steven Erikson

Book Review: Dust of Dreams (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #9) by Steven Erikson

Dust of Dreams by Steven Erikson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen (Book 9 of 10)

Genre: Epic fantasy, grimdark fantasy, fantasy

First published:  2009 by Bantam (UK) and 2010 by Tor (US)


The denouement of the Malazan Book of the Fallen is so long that it had to be written over two enormous books. Dust of Dreams is the first act of this grand finale and it was glorious!

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Book Review: Toll the Hounds (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #8)

Book Review: Toll the Hounds (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #8)

Toll the Hounds by Steven Erikson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen (Book 8 of 10)

Genre: Epic fantasy, grimdark fantasy

First published:  2008 by Bantam (UK) and Tor (US)


In a series replete with epic endings, Toll the Hounds offered, to date, the most epic one of all. It is with much joy that upon rereading I could upgrade this book as one of my favourites.

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Book Review: Reaper’s Gale (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #7)

Book Review: Reaper’s Gale (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #7)


Reaper’s Gale by Steven Erikson

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen (Book 7 of 10)

Genre: Epic fantasy, grimdark fantasy

First published:  2007 by Bantam (UK) and 2008 by Tor (US)


I will not be the first to extoll the astounding breadth and depth of the Malazan world with its extensive history, a multitude of races, richly diverse cultures and a huge cast of characters. I may also not be the first to admit how lost I sometimes feel, wandering through this labyrinth of intricate worldbuilding.

Reaper’s Gale was the first volume in the Malazan Book of the Fallen which, to my delight, continued directly from the previous book. There was no whiplash from the sudden change in plot lines from one book to the other in the past six books. Almost all the subplots from the previous novels led into this one with a lot of known main characters showing up one way or another, all of which descended upon the Letherii Empire.

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Book Review: The Bonehunters (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #6)

Book Review: The Bonehunters (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #6)

The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen (Book 6 of 10)

Genre: Epic fantasy, grimdark fantasy

First published:  2006 by Bantam (UK) and 2007 by Tor (US)


Malazan Book of the Fallen really hit its stride coming into its sixth chapter of this massive tale. However, now that we have moved past the midway point of the series, it will get more and more difficult to compose a review without giving away too much. As such, you may see the length of these reviews getting shorter as I progress towards the finale.

Firstly, I have to say that in The Bonehunters, Erikson started to reveal a larger picture of the intricate tapestry that he has so masterfully woven. Almost every character that we have met from the beginning and their respective arcs or subplots were coming together to form a more cohesive narrative across all the volumes of the series so far. While the prose maintained its dense philosophical slant, the books were progressively getting easier to read. Easier being solely relative to its predecessors.

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Book Review: Midnight Tides (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #5)

Book Review: Midnight Tides (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #5)

Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen (Book 5 of 10)

Genre: Epic fantasy, grimdark fantasy

First published:  2004 by Bantam (UK) and 2007 by Tor (US)


Betrayal. Lies. Greed. Power.

These are the dominant themes presiding over Midnight Tides, the excellent fifth chapter of Malazan Book of the Fallen, which opened with a Prologue dated back to the Time of the Elder Gods, providing yet another history lesson into this deeply complex world.

One would expect that progressing through the series should only get easier right? It seems though that Erikson decided to up the ante for worldbuilding by bringing the reader to a completely new far-flung continent and an entire cast of new characters. There is only ONE name that is familiar in the Dramatis Personae, one whom we met in the previous book – Trull Sengar. It turns out that Midnight Tides was dedicated to relate the story of how Trull ended up being in his dire position as we’ve seen in the Prologue of House of Chains.

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Book Review: House of Chains (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #4)

Book Review: House of Chains (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #4)

House of Chains by Steven Erikson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen (Book 4 of 10)

Genre: Epic fantasy, grimdark fantasy

First published:  2002 by Bantam (UK) and 2006 by Tor (US)


There will be slaughter. Yet another apocalypse on Raraku’s restless sands. It is as it should be.

Retribution is at hand for the rise of the Seven Cities rebellion as the new Adjunct to the Empress arrives to lead the Malazan army to face Sha’ik and her Army of the Apocalypse. The Holy Desert of Raraku continues to emanate despair, even more so now than ever after the Chain of Dogs left in its trails the miasma of vengeance and grief.

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Book Review: Memories of Ice (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #3)

Book Review: Memories of Ice (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #3)

Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson

My rating: 6 of 5 stars.

Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen (Book 3 of 10)

Genre: Epic fantasy, grimdark fantasy

First published:  2001 by Bantam (UK) and 2006 by Tor (US)


The harder the world, the fiercer the honour.

This in-world quote succinctly explained why Memories of Ice is one of my favourite volumes of my favourite grimdark epic fantasy series.  It is the reason why I even read grimdark in the first place, given that I am so easily assailed by emotions that one wonders why I willingly put myself through such heartbreak. So bear with me throughout this series when I keep waxing lyrical about how humanity manifests its most awe-inspiring qualities in the face of relentless hardship and horrors of a world ravaged by conflict.

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Book Review: Deadhouse Gates (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #2)

Book Review: Deadhouse Gates (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #2)

Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen (Book 2 of 10)

Genre: Epic fantasy, grimdark fantasy

First published:  2000 by Bantam (UK) and 2005 by Tor (US)


For those who have read Gardens of the Moon and thought it was relatively tame for a grimdark fantasy series, Deadhouse Gates will change your mind. This sequel took the series to new heights and was also when I begun to wholly understand Erikson’s opening quote in the debut. The grimness, violence and brutality in this book made me rethink of how I viewed A Song of Ice and Fire.

The events at the end of Gardens of the Moon saw the Bridgeburners splitting up, with the bulk of squad remaining on Genabackis with Dujek Onearm and Whiskeyjack to face the threat of the Pannion Domin. Meanwhile Fiddler and Kalam headed off to Seven Cities, where the Bridgeburners were forged, and which is on the brink of rebellion as the Seventh Year of Dryjhna, the Apocalypse, approaches. When the Book of Dryjhna is delivered into the hands of the Sha’ik, the spirit of the goddess will embody this prophetess and the Whirlwind together with the rebellion will rise.

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Book Review: Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1)

Book Review: Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1)

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen (Book 1 of 10)

Genre: Epic fantasy, grimdark fantasy

First published:  1999 by Bantam (UK) and 2004 by Tor (US)


Gardens of the Moon is the grand overture to Malazan Book of the Fallen, providing just a glimmer of what this massive, grimdark epic fantasy tale has to offer, which is best described below in the author’s own words.

“Now these ashes have grown cold, we open the old book.
These oil-stained pages recount the tales of the Fallen,
a frayed empire, words without warmth. The hearth
has ebbed, its gleam and life’s sparks are but memories
against dimming eyes – what cast my mind, what hue my
thoughts as I open the Book of the Fallen
and breathe deep the scent of history?
Listen, then, to these words carried on that breath.
These tales are the tales of us all, again yet again.
We are history relived and that is all, without end that is all.”

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Kellanved’s Reach (Path to Ascendancy, #3)

Kellanved’s Reach (Path to Ascendancy, #3)

ARC received from the publisher, Random House UK, in exchange for an honest review.

Kellanved’s Reach by Ian C. Esslemont
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Kellanved’s Reach was a great continuation to the story behind the rise of Kellanved and Dancer, and the beginnings of the Malazan Empire.

Judging from the direction of the narrative in this book, I strongly doubt that this would be the end of the series (which was marketed initially as a trilogy). Compared to the previous books, the number of character POVs in the third book had more than doubled. There were multiple storylines told from the perspective of all the different warring city-states within the continent of Quon Tali. Arising from these were several new characters being introduced. While most of these individuals will have significant roles in the later Malazan books, their respective subplots at in this book seemed largely detached from the main story. There was one character whose nickname was yet to be known by the end of the book, and it made me want to tear my hair out. I was certain that he’s a prominent person in the later books, but his character development at this stage did not provide sufficient clues.

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