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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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Deadhouse Landing (Path to Ascendancy, #2)

Deadhouse Landing (Path to Ascendancy, #2)

Deadhouse Landing by Ian C. Esslemont
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Deadhouse Landing was another fantastic novel in this prequel trilogy of two of the most notorious characters from the Malazan series.

This sequel continued to expand on the origins story of Dancer and Kellanved, by bringing us to the infamous Malaz Island – where it all began. For readers of Malazan, some of the names in the Dramatis Personae were enough to make one incredibly excited for what’s in store. It was so hard for me to write this review without giving away even the smallest detail, which might diminish the impact of the “Aha!” or the “OMG, it is HIM/HER!” moments. These names alone aren’t actually spoilers in its truest sense. Nonetheless, my take is that a Malazan fan will derive more delight from reading these prequel books without prior knowledge of whom among the Old Guard might be featured.

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Dancer’s Lament (Path to Ascendancy, #1)

Dancer’s Lament (Path to Ascendancy, #1)

Dancer’s Lament by Ian C. Esslemont
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

My first 5-star rating this year, and it’s a Malazan book.

I love the world of Malazan, and the Malazan Book of the Fallen stands as my favourite grimdark fantasy series. However, these are not books which one can pick up to read for ‘fun’. Not only were the worldbuilding complex and the cast of characters extensive, but the prose was also dense and philosophical. Moreover, the narrative frequently messaged dark and bleak themes. To be honest, it felt like work sometimes to read MBOTF, albeit work that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2018)

Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2018)

Time really flies huh? Another year is coming to an end soon! This year I’ve read and reviewed 129 books. It’s been another fantastic reading year. Considering the high amount of 4.5 and 5 stars books I’ve rated this year, I’ll even say that this year miraculously ended up being my best reading year so far. There will be four rules I set in this list in order for me to give appreciation to more authors rather than having only a few authors hoarding this list.

  • Rereads don’t count
  • One book per author
  • The book listed here are not exclusively published this year.
  • Outside of the two top spots (for good reasons), none of these are in particular order. All have merit, and most have different strengths that make them stand out from each other; putting a rank on them feels odd to me, especially when every book in this list now resides on my ‘favorite books’ shelf.

All the books listed below received a rating of 4.5 or 5 out of 5 stars from me. Without further ado, here are the top 20 books I’ve read in 2018! (All full reviews of these books can be found on my Goodreads page; some are already available on this blog.)


Forge of Darkness (The Kharkanas Trilogy, #1)

Forge of Darkness (The Kharkanas Trilogy, #1)

Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Forge of Darkness displayed Erikson at the top of his prose but unfortunately, the book was bogged down by too much too much too much TOO MUCH philosophies.

Before I get to that though, let me just say that it’s quite baffling that there’s a list that recommends starting Malazan from Forge of Darkness instead of Gardens of the Moon. I’ve read and loved the main series but this novel took the cake for being the most difficult to get into. If I haven’t read the main series, this would be at best a 2 stars read. I’m not kidding, the saving grace of this novel was Erikson’s prose and the knowledge on what the characters will do in the future, this is only possible if the reader has read the main series, Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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