Post by Anthony Nance
Very minor spoilers here (initially - who knows where the thread will go?)
I finished Erikson's Reaper's Gale (#7 in the Malazan series)
two nights ago, and then re-read the final chapter & epilogue
again last night.
What a bummer - on several levels.
The carnage, darkness, and grimth in this one really made it
a tough slog for me. 300 pages (probably an underestimate)
sprinkled around of "the Letherii are evil, and these particular
Letherii are reeeeaaaalllly evil - here, let me show you" was
tedious, uninteresting, and off-putting.
The Redmask subplot seemed superfluous (knowing Erikson, it
probably wasn't), and the actions of both sides leading to the
very unsatisfying resolution of that subplot were out-of-character
dumb. That's out of character in-story, and out of charater for
I thought what happened to Trull Sengar (and Seren Pedac) was
simply gratuitous and unnecessary.
The final scenes regarding Silchas Ruin were also disappointing.
I specificaly refer to his choice/motivation for going to Lether,
and then the way that turns out.
There were plenty of plusses in here, and a lot of great writing
and great scenes. There's no doubt I'll read the next one, and
almost surely finish the whole series, but this one was easily
the least enjoyable so far.
As you expect with Erikson, it's premature to judge "superfluous" and
"unnecessary" until you finish all the books.
I'm in the midst of reading them again myself (for the third time for
the set of Erikson books, though a few have been re-read more). I'm
reading them interspersed with the Esslemont books, most of which I
have not read before. I'm following the order in
which seems to be reasonable.
I'm not as impressed with the writing in the Esslemont books as the
Erikson books. The first one, _Night of Knives_, is good (written
much earlier, possibly with Erikson), but the next few were weaker,
though improving. Too many disjointed smaller plot elements, though the
major elements are fine. If you're going to read the Esslemont books
eventually, you might want to be reading some of them now. They are
not separate stories - it's all the same characters, settings and time frames.
I had hoped to be able to keep the big picture in mind while
re-reading all the books this time, but alas, I just haven't been able
to. There are too many details at too many levels. The
characterization of the (semi)-human characters is good, but I can't
understand the motivation of the gods and long-term ascendants at the
same level, even after this many re-readings.