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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War comes to Darujhistan
With the Pannion Seer defeated, the Jaghut Tyrant Raest imprisoned and peace declared with the Malazans, the beleaguered citizens of Darujhistan are finally hoping for a time of peace and prosperity. Of course, this is the perfect time for an ancient force of unspeakable evil to escape from the barrows outside the city and unleash a new age of chaos and war across most of...
Published on 22 Jan 2012 by A. Whitehead

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as impressed as the others
Quick run through: better writing than the past three books, but still large chunks of stilted passages, "telling instead of showing", unsubtle characters and some moronic non-answers regarding the Tyrant. The Seguleh arc wavered at times between great, good and not good, while big portions of the Moon's Spawn storyline and Darujhistan characters' arcs were very good. ICE...
Published on 26 Jan 2012 by Ben Thapa


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as impressed as the others, 26 Jan 2012
This review is from: Orb Sceptre Throne (Malazan Empire 4) (Hardcover)
Quick run through: better writing than the past three books, but still large chunks of stilted passages, "telling instead of showing", unsubtle characters and some moronic non-answers regarding the Tyrant. The Seguleh arc wavered at times between great, good and not good, while big portions of the Moon's Spawn storyline and Darujhistan characters' arcs were very good. ICE showed a nice willingness to build up and/or kill off some characters (although several of the fighting/war scenes were dumb - even for fantasy). The Shore of Creation storyline remains a question mark - much like the manner in which Greymane was used in Stonewielder.

Also, who in the eff is on the cover? It is literally Generic Fantasy Guy. Only realistic option I see is Corian Lim, who would be a truly bizarre choice as a cover character for this book.

ICE needs to find a more challenging editor. The talent and imagination is there, but he's allowed to be too complacent about not providing substance in crucial spots and the prose is not consistent at all.

I am actually considering jumping ship on this author and I'm an enormous Malazan junkie. This is four books, with three being full novels, by ICE and these problems are not going away. There needs to be a radical shake-up or he's going to chug along exactly as he's going right now.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War comes to Darujhistan, 22 Jan 2012
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Orb Sceptre Throne (Malazan Empire 4) (Hardcover)
With the Pannion Seer defeated, the Jaghut Tyrant Raest imprisoned and peace declared with the Malazans, the beleaguered citizens of Darujhistan are finally hoping for a time of peace and prosperity. Of course, this is the perfect time for an ancient force of unspeakable evil to escape from the barrows outside the city and unleash a new age of chaos and war across most of Genabackis. This war will draw in the Moranth and the Seguleh, the Rhivi and the remnants of the Malazan armies still stationed on the continent. Far to the south, treasure hunters are looting the crashed ruins of Moon's Spawn, searching for the storied Throne of Night, whilst in another realm hunters are searching for the missing High Mage Tayschrenn at the very Shores of Creation. But the fate of Darujhistan, Genabackis and maybe the world will rest in the hands of one fat thief and a bunch of Malazan deserters who want nothing more than to run their pub in peace.

Orb Sceptre Throne is Ian Cameron Esslemont's fourth entry into the Malazan world, expanding on the novels written by his friend and collaborator Steven Erikson. It's an interesting book in that, unlike Esslemont's previous novels which largely focused on new characters, this novel extensively features characters Erikson has used and developed in several previous books, most notably the curiously-dictioned Kruppe. This poses challenges for Esslemont, but thankfully he overcomes them with aplomb. Kruppe occasionally feels a bit off, but most of the other shared characters (Caladan Brood, Duiker, the ex-Bridgeburners, Torvald and Rallick Nom and more) come across very well.

The narrative is, as is typical with Malazan, somewhat disjointed, with several apparently unconnected storylines unfolding before converging at the end. This disconnect seems more pronounced than is normal for Esslemont and is briefly worrying, since he has far less page-time to play around with than Erikson (despite being almost exactly 600 pages long in hardcover, this is the one of the shortest books in the series). However, as the storylines move together and things start making sense, the book picks up a tremendous momentum. The second half of the novel is stuffed full of battles, plot revelations and character moments that are satisfyingly epic. By using elements familiar to readers from other books, Esslemont is able to imbue events with more meaning than would otherwise be the case. When four hundred Seguleh (the sword-wielding taciturn badasses of the Malazan world) show up, the reader knows that some serious carnage is about to go down, for example.

For this reason, Orb Sceptre Throne works much better for established Malazan fans than newcomers, particularly those who have already read Gardens of the Moon, Memories of Ice and Toll the Hounds. A number of plot elements stretching all the way back to Gardens of the Moon are expanded upon and backstory is (finally!) given for the Seguleh, the Moranth and indeed Genabackis as a whole. It's also nice to see some established characters given more depth and bigger roles than previously, such as Antsy, who becomes a major player in events at the crashed Moon's Spawn.

On the negative side, there's a number of story elements that are somewhat obtuse, either referring to storylines still to be detailed or referring very obliquely to events in other novels. Some characters fare better than others, and notably after the initial ferocious power and abilities shown by the antagonists, they seem to be caught a bit flat-footed by the forces arrayed against them at the end of the book. Also, it's confusing why Esslemont alludes to the fact that a fan-favourite character is still in the environs of Darujhistan when that character plays no role in the book (despite events being more than epic enough to attract his attention).

Despite these minor niggles, Orb Sceptre Throne (****) is a well-written, thoroughly enjoyable addition to the Malazan canon. It is available now in the UK and on 22 May in the USA.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't match or add up, 8 Mar 2012
By 
S Duncan "sfedlandd" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Orb Sceptre Throne (Malazan Empire 4) (Hardcover)
ICE is a great author and even though this is (in my estimation) the weakest of his output so far, this series and all associated with it remains the pinnacle of authorship in the fantasy genre.

Without giving away too much of the plot, there are some aspects of the Seguleh that were simply too hyped for ICE to sustain or develop, resulting in inconsistencies. The rationale of the Tyrant is also a begging question...I mean, we get the STORY of the Tyrant but who/what/WHY 'it' is remains to be addressed. And on the issue of gender, there is one 'turn' of gender for a very key character that seems to clash directly with Memories of Ice- I mean, either 2 VERY powerful beings in MoI were incredibly ignorant or this gender-bender was addressed as whichever manifestation it chose at the time. Even so, it makes no sense to me.

The Moons Spawn story was the best...that and the involvement of the remaining Bridgeburners. So there seem to be some very potent sorcerors roaming about as free radicals and that always gets my attention- sorcery is perhaps the main attraction in all of these books for me. :o) It raises many interesting prospects and questions about characters that we thought were out of play!

There are 2 characters here though that were mentioned for Lord alone knows what possible reason!! I mean, they were SO utterly irrelevant to the plot that ICE looked to have literally lost the plot there for a moment.

Return of the Crimson Guard is my favourite ICE novel- things developed brilliantly to an astounding climax with some shocking developments. A few threads are tied up here in this novel but again, we are cheated of vengeance in many ways. Ah well....let's write it down to the potential for redemption, ay??
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Questions Than Answers, 5 Feb 2012
This review is from: Orb Sceptre Throne (Malazan Empire 4) (Hardcover)
Like all Esslemont's books this is an enjoyable read. While Erikson is off battling to save the world in Kolanse, Esslemont lets us in on what's been happening with some of our favourite characters back in Darujhistan.
Kruppe, Caladan Brood, Vorcan, Barak, Coll, the Nom brothers and a few others from Erikson's books all make an appearance. We find out more about the Seguleh and the Moranth. The remaining Bridgeburners; Picker, Blend, Spindle and Duiker are all involved and Antsy travels to the remains of Moon's Spawn to find fame and fortune and makes some new friends on the way. What seemed a pointless story arc in Stoneweilder, Kiska's search for Tayschrenn, is resolved here and everyone's favourite necromancers make a cameo appearance. Yay!
So why the slightly sarcastic tone?
Well, while this is an entertaining book and I certainly enjoyed reading about all of the above, I'm left wondering what the hell is going on?
What are Esselmont's books? Are they just appendices to the Malazan Book of the Fallen, a bit of background information about characters, events and places alluded to in the series, or do they form their own series that weaves in and around Erikson's main story? The answer would seem to be both but falls just short of completely satisfying either.
Not that I'm surprised. I mean, the poor guy has to give us information about all the things we wanna know about; the Emperor, the Crimson Guard, Korelri, the Stormriders, the Seguleh, the Moranth, the Wickans, Assail, etc. He also has to tell us about the characters in the MBOTF that no longer play in a part in that storyline; Lasseen, Mallick Rell, Kruppe, Tayschrenn, Topper, Traveller, Cartheron and Urko Crust, etc. Add to this all the new characters and storylines introduced while telling these stories; Kiska, Kyle, Orchid, the Second, The Blessed Lady, Ivnar, etc. And all this has to be tied in so it corresponds to events in MBOTF and also has to be presented in the style and (high) standard we've come to expect from a Malazan book.
Whew! Glad I'm not in his shoes.
If you're a Malazan fan, you will enjoy this. I am and I did. But it does leave you with a lot more questions than before. As Esslemont only has a further 2 books to go in his Malazan Empire series, you are left wondering, can he pull it off?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written addition to the Malazan novels, 23 Feb 2012
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C. Welhengama (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Having just finished this book on my Kindle I can say I thoroughly enjoyed it. .

The story centers on the rise of another Tyrant in Darujhistan, and the machinations that follow. In true Malazan style, some very important events are only hinted at (see the fate of the Imperial High Mage), presumably to be covered in more detail in later books. Also, as other reviewers have pointed out, the enmity between the Seguleh and the Moranth is not explained very well. Esslemont's Kruppe, on the other hand, seems to be spot on, at times even outshining Erikson's handling of the character in Gardens of the Moon. The action scenes, as is usual for the Malazan books, are excellent. Esslemont manages to avoid the relentlessly bleak, self introspective writing style of Erikson's work, where every single character seems secretly to be a philosopher poet burdened by hidden guilts. At the same time, he introduces a host of old and new characters, weaving multiple plot threads without losing focus of the overall story.

All in all, an excellent book, and one I'd definitely recommend to both Malazan fans, and given the relatively stand alone nature of the book, to new readers too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars surprisingly well written book, 12 Feb 2012
This review is from: Orb Sceptre Throne (Malazan Empire 4) (Hardcover)
This is the 4th book by Esslemont set in the Malazan world. Steven Erikson has finished the 'main' story line and this novel shares the characters and themes from the main series. Despite the understandable difficulty with telling a story involving characters spectacularly built up by a different author, this book was written exceptionally well.

I am amazed at the improvement in each book by ICE. Stonewielder was great but Orb, Sceptre and Throne is on par with SE's books and is probably better than Dust of Dreams and The Crippled God.

The story is great and the pace is perfect. New characters and cultures (seguleh in particular) are very well written, and he doesn't deviate with this world's grimness and the 'realistic' endings. This book takes off after Toll The Hounds in the main series, and every character who continues in this book is depicted ridiculously well despite it being a different author. And I loved the irony with Dassem watching the sword fight in the end and the way it plays out similar to the other big duel from the previous book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best Ian C. Esslemont novel so far!, 25 Mar 2014
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ICE takes many characters introduced originally by Steven Erickson and creates one of the best tales of the entire series combining Segeluh, Moranth, the Malazan army and Rivvi warriors against the background of the fabled city of Darujistan and its environs. A separate gripping story arc concerns the many scavengers searching the fallen but deadly Moon Spawn for potential riches. A few characters blossom in the spotlight but others sadly fade into a strange obscurity and are positively not themselves. Kruppe's speech becomes practically intelligible...and he is not nearly annoying enough... I cannot believe I am saying this. Though unmistakably veteran Bridgeburners, Picker and Blend are sadly pale versions of themselves and nothing of their relationship is revealed at all. However, the dulled handling of some characters is my only criticism of this book, and it does not ruin the book. Despite it, in my opinion, ICE finally proves he is a very talented story teller in his own right, and not just riding on SE's coattails. ICE's succint novel presents us with the very best Malazan tale thus far centred around Darujistan, and with the most thorough insight into the Segeluh, both living... and dead.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Malazan book so far read it and weep!!!!!!, 3 Mar 2014
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The malazan books get better with every book I don't know other authors who have the same scope as these two writers the scale of the books are massive, brilliant character building and story development make these highlight of fantasty the WORLD, THERE IS NO EQUAL!!!!!!!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars It did not dissapoint, 17 Feb 2014
If you are new to the Malazan world, I am pretty certain that you will get more out of this book if you read the other Erikson and Esslemont books in sequence of events before picking up this one. My comments are made based on having read the other books first.

I am a huge fan of the Malazan series but was a bit worried about picking up some of the Esslemont books due to the mixed reviews they seem to be getting. Well, I am totally sold on this book.

It is filled to the binding with much loved characters as well as featuring lots of action. We definitely see more of the Seguleh and the Moranth then in other books - Kruppe is there, being his usual interfering self - The Nom family is up to... some good, actually! - Blend is still doing her blending thing - Duiker seems to be recovering bit by bit and is actually jumping in on the action - Traveller, Topper, Kiska, the guy with that big hammer...and so on and so on... And... you probably won't believe this, but one of the stars of the show is... Antsy!!! Yep, Antsy 'I am a miserable so and so' Bridgeburner. I really enjoyed his story-arc, not in the least because he meets up with an old friend who.... ah... but that would be 'spoilering' it ;-)

Anyway... I read books with my heart and so can't comment as to whether ICE is writing good or bad from a technical point of view, all I can say is that, for me, the story flowed. There were high jinx moments as well as box of tissue ones. In fact, there is a moment involving several forces where I dare anyone not to be horrified, saddened, moved and maybe needing a moment to have a little cry. It was a scene that ranks up there with Beak's sacrifice, Ygathan and the Bonehunters unlucky stand as far as tissues are concerned.

All in all, I totally recommend it. If Esslemont wasn't in the un-enviable position of following in the footsteps of Steven Erikson, the un-crowned king of fantasy, I am sure his books would attract more consistently positive comments.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great tales, 2 Nov 2013
By 
M. Malthouse (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Another in the apparently ongoing work complementing The Book of the Malazan Fallen. It should be necessary reading for all who have enjoyed Erikson's prior 10 tome work.
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Orb Sceptre Throne (Malazan Empire 4)
Orb Sceptre Throne (Malazan Empire 4) by Ian C Esslemont (Hardcover - 19 Jan 2012)
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