Mini Reviews

Hi guys.

As we knew it would, my mother's condition has begun to deteriorate after remaining rather stable for more than 2 months. It appears that the end is near, but you never know. She was supposed to pass away in mid-June at the latest, and yet she's still here. With things going downhill fast, it sure looks like it won't be long now. =(

I wish I had more time to write lengthy reviews. Sadly, I have no choice but to resort to mini reviews once again. . .

The God Is Not Willing by Steven Erikson (Canada, USA, Europe) 8/10

I relished the opportunity to read a new Malazan offering by Steven Erikson. As you know, I elected to stop reading material by Ian Cameron Esslemont, so it's been a while since Erikson released a new Malazan title. And since this was the first installment in the series that comes after the main sequence, I couldn't have been more excited!

The author has accustomed readers to sprawling fantasy works featuring complex storylines that span multiple ages and volumes, as well as huge casts of characters. In that regard, The God Is Not Willing is a much smaller, more focused tale, following a handful of protagonists over a couple of plotlines. As such, this could be Erikson's most accessible novel to date.

Can it be read by someone who has not read The Malazan Book of the Fallen series? Not really. Set ten years after the events chronicled in The Crippled God, the story would likely make little sense for a newbie. One of the highlights of the book is to demonstrate how much the Malazan Empire has changed. A reader not familiar with the saga wouldn't perceive any of those nuances.

Back in northern Genabackis, readers witness the repercussions of Karsa's legacy of destruction from the beginning of House of Chains. With climate changes melting the ice fields of the north, Teblor warriors and various other wild inhabitants from the far reaches of the continent have no choice but to flee disaster and run south, hoping to wreak havoc and destroy those who have made slaves of the their brethren in the past. The only thing standing in their way are a few Malazan marines.

The cast of characters is as disparate as it is engaging. Quite a few are too badass and all-powerful for my taste, and I'm not talking about God-touched characters or Ascendants here. Just seemingly ordinary marines. This novel contains the same thoughtful philosophical musings from past Malazan installments, but it's probably the one with the most humor we've seen thus far. In that regard, it's on par with the Willful Child series. It sometimes felt like Erikson was trying a bit too hard to be funny, especially with the scenes featuring the Heavyweights. But there's no denying that The God Is Not Willing will have you laughing out loud in almost every chapter.

As always, there's more than meets the eye with just about ever single character. Which bodes well for whatever comes next. As is usually Erikson's wont, this book also finishes with a mighty convergence that paves the way for the rest of the trilogy.

One thing I found interesting was the level of compassion found between the covers of this book. A lot more than I ever expected. Looks like Emperor Mallick Rel is turning into Justin Trudeau or something.

In a nutshell, this one is a must for all Malazan fans!

A Desert Torn Asunder by Bradley P. Beaulieu (Canada, USA, Europe) 5.5/10

I was looking forward to the sixth volume in Bradley P. Beaulieu's The Shattered Sands sequence because to a vast extent, it felt like the better part of the tale had reached its end in the previous installment, When Jackal Storm the Walls. And in many ways, it did. Not that this book acts as something akin to an epilogue, but it is a bit discordant compared to its predecessors.

Many storylines were detailed and meticulously plotted in the previous volumes. Sadly, a lot seems contrived in A Desert Thorn Asunder, from how the location of the elder god's resting place is located to how he will be raised and controlled. Moreover, this turns into a somewhat heavy-handed do-gooder tale that makes little sense when you consider that the desert tribes have hated Sharakhai for centuries.

Sadly, Beaulieu played it safe the whole way through and there's never a moment when you feel like the good guys could actually lose. Moreover, à la Robert Jordan, basically everyone survives what is an apocalyptic battle. What also kills it is the lame Game of Thrones-esque ending, with everyone sitting down and deciding how the city and the desert will henceforth be governed. Ultimately, A Desert Torn Asunder is a weak book with an even weaker ending. A somewhat unworthy end to what was a very good SFF series.

1 commentaires:

Fred said...

Bon courage Pat