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

Petrik Leo’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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The Crippled God (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #10)

The Crippled God (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #10)

The Crippled God by Steven Erikson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Epic, masterful, and scintillating in every sense of these words; The Crippled God is an unforgettable magnum opus that concludes Steven Erikson’s genre-defining series: Malazan Book of the Fallen.

11,216 pages (Bantam paperback edition) and 3.3 million words read in exactly two months and two weeks; I’m done, it’s finally over. The entire ten-volume of Malazan Book of the Fallen has been in my TBR pile for almost two years long, and now it has been read, dusted and shelved. Erikson has raised the benchmark for Epic/military fantasy ridiculously high with what he created in this series. Together with Wrath by John Gwynne and Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb, The Crippled God stands among the top of the best final book of a series I’ve ever read, and there’s a definite probability that it will always stay on that list.

“I have enjoyed our long conversation. What’s three and a half million words between friends?” – Steven Erikson

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Dust of Dreams (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #9)

Dust of Dreams (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #9)

Dust Of Dreams (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #9)Dust of Dreams by Steven Erikson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Dust of Dreams lived up to its name, the book sent me to dreamland almost every chapter.

Erikson mentioned at the beginning of the novel that his idea of a finale was so huge that the story had to be done in two books: Dust of Dreams for the first half and The Crippled God for the second half of the story. I haven’t read The Crippled God yet and because of that, I simply have no idea how all the plotlines will converge and concludes in the last entry of the series. However, I’m going to say this, Dust of Dreams to me is easily the weakest book within the entire series, even weaker than House of Chains. If it weren’t due to the fact that marks the ninth and penultimate installment of the series, I would’ve DNFed the book/series; it was that painful and boring to read.

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

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

Toll the Hounds (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #8)Toll the Hounds by Steven Erikson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Against all odds, Toll the Hounds blew my mind away and became one of my favorite installment within the series.

Toll the Hounds, just like House of Chains, is one of the installments which I heard plenty of mixed things about; they’re there for valid reasons. However, unlike House of Chains which disappointed me a lot, I actually found Toll the Hounds mesmerizing, a treasure trove for philosophies, and also one of the most rewarding books in the series so far. The story of the novel focused on the characters in Darujhistan and the Tiste Andii race. That’s right, we’re finally back in Darujhistan after seven books and we finally get to see the story focusing almost completely on the Tiste Andii.

Picture: A fanart of Anomander Rake by artsed-d8joaqa

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

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

Reaper's Gale (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #7)Reaper’s Gale by Steven Erikson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Reaper used his scythe to chop onions in an attempt to bring tears to my eyes. Unfortunately, he didn’t succeed.

By this point of the series, I think it’s safe to say now that Malazan Book of the Fallen will never break my heart the way it did a lot of readers. People always told me that Erikson was more brutal towards his characters more than George R. R. Martin or all the conclusion of his books will leave my soul crushed; I strongly disagree with these as I found none of the books in the series so far to ever move me to the point of making my soul crushed or on the brink of tears. This series is amazing in many other aspects but for characterizations (which is the most important aspect of any story for me), in my opinion there are several authors who did it better.

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

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

The Bonehunters (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #6)The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brilliant is an understatement, The Bonehunters is a leviathan of a masterpiece in convergence.

With this installment, Steven Erikson has cemented himself as an irreplaceable author for the genre of epic and military fantasy. This is the already the sixth book in the series and it’s simply unbelievable how he was able to keep producing such an amazing book. I thought Memories of Ice would end up being the absolute best installment of the series but as it turns out, The Bonehunters ended up being another best of the series so far; it’s truly up to the masterpiece quality of Memories of Ice and I can’t decide which one I loved more between the two. Let’s just say I’m honestly shocked by how incredible this installment was. It took six books of the series but I’m extremely confident about putting Erikson into my list of favorite authors of all time now.

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