Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop Black Friday Deals Week in Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now DIYED Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Paperwhite Listen in Prime Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars47
4.3 out of 5 stars
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
While I was reading Erikson's magnum opus, The Malazan Book of the Fallen, even though there were more than enough incredible storylines, my favorite parts were always the prologues offering flashbacks from the tale's distant past. Hence, when the author revealed that he would write an entire trilogy chronicling the story of Anomander Rake and the Tiste people, I was giddy with excitement.

I was looking forward to reading Forge of Darkness, for I knew that it would be a different reading experience. As was the case when we watched the second Star Wars trilogy, we already know how it's going to end. So in a way, we're along for the ride to finally discover how Anakin will turn to the Dark Side and become Darth Vader. And yet, as is Steven Erikson's wont, the novel raises a lot more questions than it answers. . .

The Malazan Book of the Fallen was so vast in depth, scope, and vision, my only true concern was that this new trilogy wouldn't live up to the lofty expectations created by the original book cycle. And although Forge of Darkness may not be as sprawling a novel as the other Malazan installments, it remains an epic and multilayered tale.

Here's the blurb:

Forge of Darkness: Now is the time to tell the story of an ancient realm, a tragic tale that sets the stage for all the tales yet to come and all those already told...

It's a conflicted time in Kurald Galain, the realm of Darkness, where Mother Dark reigns. But this ancient land was once home to many a power... and even death is not quite eternal. The commoners' great hero, Vatha Urusander, is being promoted by his followers to take Mother Dark's hand in marriage, but her Consort, Lord Draconus, stands in the way of such ambitions. The impending clash sends fissures throughout the realm, and as the rumors of civil war burn through the masses, an ancient power emerges from the long dead seas. Caught in the middle of it all are the First Sons of Darkness, Anomander, Andarist, and Silchas Ruin of the Purake Hold...

Steven Erikson entered the pantheon of great fantasy writers with his debut Gardens of the Moon. Now he returns with the first novel in a trilogy that takes place millennia before the events of the Malazan Book of the Fallen and introduces readers to Kurald Galain, the warren of Darkness. It is the epic story of a realm whose fate plays a crucial role in shaping the world of the Malazan Empire.

Forge of Darkness takes us back millennia into the past. The earliest flashback from The Malazan Book of the Fallen takes us back nearly 300,000 years and Forge of Darkness occurs centuries or millennia before that. As the tale begins, dragons are just a legend. It is a time before the Elder Gods, before the Holds, before the Warrens. After a bitter and hard-fought war against a previous incarnation of the Forkrul Assail (or so it seems), there is finally peace in Kurald Galain. The cult of Mother Dark cult is growing in Kharkanas and the Tiste people have grown hedonistic and decadent, and now civil war is looming.

As always, Erikson's worldbuilding is top notch. As Warrens don't exist just yet, Kurald Galain is a land situated in a "real" world. It is unclear if this country and the realms beyond it -- the Thel Akai, the Jaghut, the Jheck, and the Dog-Runners' realms to the west beyond the Bareth Solitude, as well as the Forulkan realm to the south -- existed at one point on Wu or if they exist in another dimension or something similar. It is ambiguous, for there are mentions of the High Kingdom and its High King, and Malazan fans are well aware that before he was cursed by three Elder Gods, Kallor ruled over an empire on the continent of Jacuruku. Then again, it might be a different High King, or it might be that he ruled in another dimension. As far as the Malazan canon is concerned, unless Kallor reached Wu first, the Tiste Invasion took place long before the evolution of humans when the Tiste Andii and the Tiste Edur faced the K'Chain Che'Malle on the continent of Lether. Thus, a lot of questions remain unanswered.

Though Forge of Darkness raises a panoply of new questions and provides very few answers, discovering more and more regarding that distant and mysterious past is utterly fascinating. One thing to remember is that as the tale begins, even though there are factions and dissension among them, the Tiste are a united people. At this point, there is no such thing as the Tiste Andii, the Tiste Edur, or the Tiste Liosan. It's interesting to see and learn things about the previous incarnations of races that populate The Malazan Book of the Fallen. Like the Jaghut, who have put an end to their civilization. Or the Azathanai, the people that were never born. Or the Dog-Runners, the Imass' ancestors.

The characterization is probably the aspect that will disappoint some readers. Sadly, the narrative doesn't feature POVs from Anomander Rake, Silchas Ruin, or Andarist. Forge of Darkness unfolds through the eyes of a great many disparate characters, a lot more than I felt was necessary. But since this is the first volume, only time will tell if such a high number of POV protagonists was required. As was the case with the last few Malazan installments, Erikson's characters go through a lot of introspection. Which at times, it's true, can bog down the narrative.

One would have thought that familiar faces such as the Sons of Darkness, Draconus, and Scara Bandaris would have been the principal POV characters, but the better part of the novel is made up of the POV from new protagonists. Although most of the scenes featuring Draconus are told from his bastard son Arathan's perspective, finding out more about this enigmativ man was great. We are aware that he's at the heart of what's to come, so it's nice to see Draconus feature so prominently in Forge of Darkness. Another factor that readers might find off-putting is that, not only don't we get POVs from Anomander Rake, Silchas Ruin, and Andarist, but the three brothers don't get much "air time" in this book. Still, it is intriguing to follow younger versions of characters such as Osserc, Spinnock Durav, Sandalath Drukorlat, Orfantal, and others.

Although we were told that Steven Erikson's style would be a bit different in this new series, I haven't perceived any difference in style and tone. But it does feel that Erikson writes with a tighter focus. Though epic in scope, it's not as sprawling as The Malazan Book of the Fallen. More structured, also, which at times feels a bit odd, given the style of the 10-book cycle (where everything could happen at any given moment). Having said that, the plot is as convoluted as that of any other Malazan offering.

The pace of the novel is a bit uneven and much different from what we are used to from Erikson. Habitually, the author starts slow, gradually building up the plotlines, and then going all out for a mind-blowing finale. Virtually all the Malazan installments were like that, so fans have come to expect such structure. With Forge of Darkness, it's the complete opposite. The book features a strong beginning, and then an even stronger middle portion. Yet instead of the exciting ending that we have come to love, Erikson came up with a somewhat weaker and anticlimactic ending for Forge of Darkness. I have a feeling that it has a lot to do with the structure of a trilogy. In and of itself, Forge of Darkness is a set-up book. Steven Erikson is laying A LOT of groundwork for the rest of the series. And though it may be a little lackluster, it looks as though Forge of Darkness ends just the way it should, setting the stage for what should be an amazing sequel. Only time will tell if Fall of Light will live up to that potential. As things stand, it appears that Forge of Darkness is a vast introduction that will serve as the opening chapter for what is to come, and as such I'm wondering how well it will stand on its own.

Even with the absence of the sort of convergence that always allowed Erikson to cap all of his novels off with style, there is more than enough secrets, questions, and revelations to satisfy Malazan fans. Forge of Darkness will have you begging for more, which is all we can ask for!

What would be a new Malazan offering without a timeline issue, right!?! And yes, Forge of Darkness features a couple of glaring timeline errors. The first: Sukul Ankhadu was a soletaken Eleint goddess of the Tiste Edur. She was sister to Menandore, and half-sister to Sheltatha Lore. She was the daughter of Tiam and Osserc. At least, that's what we learned in The Malazan Book of the Fallen. Problem is, at the beginning of Forge of Darkness Sukul Ankhadu is already a young woman held as a noble hostage. It is a problem because she appears to be older than Osserc (who could be anywhere between late teenage years and young adulthood). So as things stand, Osserc could not have fathered Sukul Ankhadu. Moreover, at this juncture dragons are just a legend and Tiam remains unknown to the Tiste. The second time issue has to do with Sheltatha Lore. But I can't provide more details without including spoilers, so I'll refrain from doing so.

I brought it up on and we were told that Steven Erikson is aware of these apparent errors and remains unmoved. Hence, we have to trust the author and see how he will reconcile these errors with the established Malazan canon.

For all of its flaws, Forge of Darkness is a "must read" for all Malazan fans out there!

Check out Pat's Fantasy Hotlist!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 March 2015
Having purchased this book in paper back from another vendor, I then went out and purchased the entire 10 book series which Erikson had penned before (but set after) this book.

True to form (unbeknownst to me at the time, but as of reading the first 3 books), this book is possibly on par with the 4th book in regards to quality/content. That said, it is a phenominal read, setting the scene for the books in the series which I've truely enjoyed thus far.

As far as other Erikson detractors are concerned, it's a slower read than the majority of other books, taking chunks of your time to introduce Draconus' son and 3 daughters, despite not really featuring too far in the books which proceeded it, beyond Envy (up to Memories of Ice), whether this alters in Erikson's next book in this 3 part series is yet to be seen.

Would recommend as a good basic set up for Garden's of the Moon, if only because it introduces Draconus, Anomander Rake and the Tiste Andii.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 September 2012
As with the original series this is meaty, dark adult fantasy fiction. It answers (or begins to answer) many of the questions from the original Malazan series. As with all Erikson stories it contains many characters which I think can make it hard going at times, especially since Erikson loves to give each an every one of them long introspective monologues all the time (as was common place in the later half of the MBOTF series). These are very well written, but can get a tad long winded for the impatient reader like myself. But I would still give it 5 stars because of the epic scope of the story. It does feel right at home with the previous series. Can't wait for more.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 October 2012
I am an avid reader of this author. I have read the whole fallen series twice and some of the novels 3 times. In my opinion this latest venture is Erikson's best. It's great to get the history of some of my favorite characters. As previous reviewers have remarked, some of the philosophy by otherwise bankrupt POV's is unlikely, however I accept it as the authors thoughts and they are often enlightening. Just as an aside, has there ever been a greater character than Anomander Rake in fantasy literature? And what a glorious name!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 21 November 2013
Comparable i guess to the silmarillion in that it gives background and history to the authors previous books. As usual hard work to read thru lots of philosohpy but hopefully worth it for the knowledge and action scenes. Great to see anomander and silchas in their youth, also answering several puzzles in my head as to who came from where, who did what and who is related to who. Am looking forward to books 2 and 3
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 24 August 2012
Steven Erikson's Forge of Darkness is a MUST for any fan of his Malazan Book of the Fallen series. Going back in time to when there was only one Tiste people and Mother Dark was still coming fully into her powers. As well as all of Erikson's wonderfully flawed people and incredible places that rock the imagination! If you finished the series and hunger for more, this is a delicious must, just simply awesome!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 January 2013
What an author. His stories and depth of his characters are outstanding. His books are complex but easy to understand. His tales powerful and exciting. He writes at a steady pace so as not to leave the reader waiting years for a follow up. HBO should have used his characters in place of what surely will be a series (Game of Thrones) that will leave readers and viewers wanting.
Cant wait for part two.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 January 2013
I am a long time fan of stephen erikson books and bought this for a friend and myself. it is a prequel filling in the backstory of his earlier novels and like many of his books it takes a little time to get going but when it does wow I cant wait for the next installment which I am definitely going to order.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 December 2013
If you liked the Malazan book of the Fallen I cannot reccomend thus book strongly enough to do it justice. The beginning of the Tiste races, why the Jaghut broke their civilisation and more about the Enigmatic K'rul await the reader. A brilliant tale, I cannot wait to read the next.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2012
I have bought, and re-read, all of this author's work, and enjoyed the tense, convoluted plotting, the credible characters, and their interactions. This book reads like a poor imitation. Dragging action, characters who speak like the cast of Hamlet, and page after page of soul-searching. I struggle to find one character who is not broken internally.

The book purports to give the early history of Kharkanas, the origins of some of the 'gods', and the reasons for the civil war that destroyed almost everything in their society. Other than petty rivalries, and striving for position, nothing emerges that could plunge a society into chaos, save only a trouble-maker who seems to wield amazing influence from a lowly position.

So: dull, plodding, unloveable characters, and a strange Shakespearean kind of dialogue. Bring back Gardens of the Moon!
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Assail: A Novel of the Malazan Empire
Assail: A Novel of the Malazan Empire by Ian C Esslemont (Paperback - 21 May 2015)

Gardens of the Moon (Book 1 of The Malazan Book of the Fallen)
Gardens of the Moon (Book 1 of The Malazan Book of the Fallen) by Steven Erikson (Mass Market Paperback - 12 Feb. 2008)

Night Of Knives: A Novel Of The Malazan Empire
Night Of Knives: A Novel Of The Malazan Empire by Ian C Esslemont (Mass Market Paperback - 5 May 2008)

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.