Reaper’s Gale: A Book Review

I know I already did a feature on Steven Erikson and his amazing Malazan Book of the Fallen series, but I wanted to talk a little about the book I’m currently working on: Reaper’s Gale. The seventh book in the series, published in 2007 (or 2008 if you live in the US), it focuses on the corrupt and twisted Letherii Empire, ruled by the Tiste Edur in name only. The outcast Malazan Bonehunters travel to their distant shores to seek revenge against the Edur for coming to Malazan soil and slaughtering countless innocent citizens. Their goal is to liberate the Letherii from the brutal Edur rule, but arrive only to find that the Letherii are happy with things as they stand, and are perfectly willing to fight right alongside their Edur conquerors.

If you’re new to the series, a lot of these words (Tiste Edur, Letherii, even Malazan) are going to be confusing. Let me start by saying they are different races of people, with the Letherii being mostly human, the Malazans a mix of of races and the Edur being, well, Edur (grey skinned lovers of the shadows). To fully understand what’s happening, you would need to read The Bonehunters, book six in the series, or just make the effort to go back to the beginning and start there. It’s worth it, trust me.

This book is one that I’m loving for a few reasons. The intrigue is very heavily layered. Just when I think I have something figured out, I get a surprise. it’s not always obvious, so I’ve started reading things, and certain characters, very carefully. As a series, there are a lot of little details you don’t pick up on when you’re doing your first read through. The farther I get, the more I want to go back and re-read certain other books because I know I’m missing a connection I didn’t see before.

As always, there is character growth (and regression in some cases) happening all over the place. There are several new characters, and I immediately started wondering what roles they were going to have in the future. Some were people we had already heard about, but only as legends or “tall tales”, and reading about them in the flesh has been fascinating.

I’m about two-thirds of the way through, and I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing what happens (and to finishing the series). Highly recommended, as always, this is one that you shouldn’t pass up.

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