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4.0 out of 5 stars48
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on 21 July 2006
Another philosophically-inclined fantasy writer hits success with his debut series, albeit without becoming *that* gripping until part four. The instantly intriguing prologue drew me in, as well as the unusual environment, rich in power struggles between different theological sects. The down-to-Earth yet modestly wise Achamian, whom we mostly follow in part 1, is a likeable enough character too; easy to empathise with. I stayed, however, for the two most fascinating and three-dimensional characters of the story, Kellhus and C'naiur, both of whom become central as the book really picks up the pace around the 400 page mark. It was from that point onwards that I really felt the reward of sticking with this book. This certainly doesn't (yet, at least) possess the scale of history, tragedy, insight and mystery I've come to expect of Erikson, nor the tangible beauty and over-arching metaphor of Donaldson, but it possesses its own charms in its unique and somewhat surreal setting, the previously mentioned fascinating characters, the web of intrigue, the undercurrents of greater powers implying things aren't at all what they seem, and the book's focus on the idea of "the darkness that comes before" (I'll let you read to find out more). Best of all though, is that this series has the potential to get so much better in the second book - this feels like a warm up. I eagerly await my copy.
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on 27 February 2010
One of the most polished starts to a fantasy series I have read, Bakker uses excellent characterisation to ensure the backdrop of a second apocalypse is the culmination of the hopes and fears of dozens of central characters as opposed to said apocalypse being the driving force for said characterisation. The approach is definitely a more mature one and many characters are reprehensible and uncompromising, yet Bakker makes them likeable by showing that this is how his world operates. Fans of mystery will also be entertained as Bakker keeps many aspects of the mythology intentionally vague and open to interpretation - he doesn't spoon-feed you the plot at all.
If this is merely the calm before the storm, as is usually the case in the debut of an epic fantasy series, this could well turn out to be one of the definitive western fantasies of the 21st century. My only critiscism is that Bakker may drive off a lot of fantasy fans by being too dark for many to be able to stomach.
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on 18 April 2009
R Scott Bakker doesn't mess about. He comes at you with strange and varied philosophies from the beginning. It makes him a fresh and original voice in the fantasy landscape. Be warned, certain readers will struggle with some of the more abstract content, but those who persevere on their quest will ultimately be rewarded. And others might be put off by some of his darker themes, but he has so many shades within his darkness, that you begin to realise life just isn't as black and white as you thought. Hand it to the man. If you want something in a similar vein that's an easier, more British read, check out the spellbinding A J Dalton's Necromancer's Gambit Necromancer's Gambit: Book one: Book One of the Flesh and Bone Trilogy
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on 18 November 2015
Absolutely wonderful stuff, whilst the subject matter is much darker than the typical fantasy, the author handles it professionally rather than gratuitously. Immersive prose intellectually stimulating plots and characters.
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on 24 April 2013
Clearly this book is not for everyone. It has a complexity that challanges the readers. It has a hero/anti-hero that is memorable and infuriating and exceptional. Bakker's visual style and authenticity in his world building is second to none, within Genre or outside it.

It is a book that forces you to think - from an author who clearly knows his ancient Greek philosophical beans. Tekne. Heh, clever.
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on 28 July 2005
This book simply blew me away... The plot is incredibly rich and the world amazingly detailed, a mind-blowing feat of imagination and creativity. The characters are many and varied, and entirely believable, the writing beautiful and insightful. This series and this author have set a new standard for fantasy fiction... quite simply one of the best books I've ever read.
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on 13 August 2015
This has to be one of the best epic fantasies that I have read since Game of Thrones.
Compelling. I felt I had to go back and re-read it straight away. Since then I have read it again and it's rare for me to do that.
Tremendous. You must read this!!!!
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on 5 January 2013
Was gripped by the sample on Kindle, so my husband bought me the book. Now I'm waiting on tenter hooks for the postie to deliver books 2 & 3.
To my mind on the same level as James Barclay's Raven books & Raymond E Fiest's Rift War series.
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on 9 June 2005
I found this while looking for a Sci-fi book to buy a mates dad for his birthday.
It is a great read with well developed charachters that by the last page left me wanting to no more and anticipating the July launchof the back follow-up.
It has the scope of a Tolkein novel but is easier to read whilst also being more adult in its content and style. No fairy tale this but a well woven tale of struggle incorporating various people and non-people who you start to have an affinty for and I suppose in a way believe in.
A cracking start!
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on 11 August 2004
very good book, if you're looking for something different than the usual ( jordan, brooks, goodking, etc.) sort of fantasy plots out there, this is one to try. starts off slowly, ( first 100 pages or so) but then it gets going with interesting characters, twisting plots, and what seems like a very promissing series. not an easy read, so those of you that like to finish a 600 pager in 1 day may pass. but if you dont mind complex ideas / plots ( erikson type) than do give it a shot!
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