Steven Erikson is a pretty badass Canadian author who, along with Ian C. Esselmont, dreamed up the world of the Malazan Book of the Fallen. Originally slated to be a D&D type RPG, a ten book series was spawned by Erikson, with another five penned later by Esselmont.
So, why am I calling this man a badass? Trained in both archaeology and anthropology, he used his skills from both these fields to create a rich, real and multi-layered world for these fabulous novels. The books range in genre from Low to High Fantasy, and which one all depends on which characters happen to be the focus of a particular book.
The books themselves span several vastly different continents and cover a wide rage of intensely developed and complex characters. Some people I know who have tried to read the series find it very convoluted and hard to follow, but for a couple of seasoned fantasy veterans like Shawn and me, getting in to the action was no problem. Does the story skip around? Yes. Are the stories in the book sequence always in chronological order? No. But neither of these points takes away at all from the mastery of the writing, both in terms of character creation, character development and world realization.
For me, this is one of those stories that I find new material in each time I give it a read (and I haven’t even gotten all the way to book ten yet). There is so much information packed in to each chapter that you’re bound to find something you missed each time you go back, giving this series a high score on the “Will I read this again?” scale.
if you’re giving it a go for the first time, pay attention to the fight sequences, the subtle character interactions and what is happening where. The fights are beautifully written, and often manage to have a touch of humor thrown in for good measure. Location, as well as character interaction, if very important, as some things you may pass off as of little importance now may come back in a big way in a later book.
If I had to pick a particular character type that I like the best, it would definitely be the sappers, a type of marine that deals with munitions and explosives. I find them to be very diverse as well as very funny. Laughing out loud while reading this series is a frequent occurance for both of us, regardless of what book we happen to be on.
I’m looking forward to diving in to the world as written by Esselmont, and I’m sure this series will be a staple on our shelves for years to come.
What do you guys think of the series? Have you read it? Let me know in the comments.