5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Return of the Crimson Guard (Malazan Empire) (Hardcover)
Basics first. This is part of a long running series, if you've not read any Malazan novels, go start with Gardens of the Moon & get ready for a treat. This book is set just before Toll the Hounds.
This is quite a mixed book. It takes a while to get going - like most of the series and there are some dead ends (or clumsy settings up of the next book) some confusing sections and some hard to explain events (eg how did X pop up there & where'd he go), with the odd section not matching previous books (eg the Osserc bit) which is annoying. On the other hand there are some terrific battles, and some *really* important events for the series as a whole. Without giving too much away: we finally meet Skinner, Cowl, Urko, Choss, Toc the Elder and more. There are fights between Traveller and Skinner, Traveller and Khalor, Laseen and Cowl, Iron Bars and a Seglueh, Tayschern and a new High Mage, and some huge set piece army v's army with lots of magery - which made for some very gripping sections.
Compared to Erikson's novels there is less philosophy, with a more action oriented approach. The book also feels a little more stereotyped (girl discovers she is a princess sets off to recover destiny with faithful servant, heroes super hard to kill especially by the cannon fodder) It does however feel like a big step up from Night of Knives, and by the end of the book the world has changed significantly so its worth reading this before Erikson's next.
So despite problems, there are some real payoffs from reading the book and I would recommend it to anyone who likes the series. & the series to anyone who likes epic fantasy.