14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A Triumph of Fantasy!,
This review is from: Midnight Tides (Book 5 of The Malazan Book of the Fallen) (Mass Market Paperback)
Its not often that I'm moved to write a review, nor do I often bandy about expressions of extreme praise easily, but I must say that this is one of the best fantasy books I've ever read. I recall thinking as I was reading this, that Erikson seems to have crossed that often too yawning a chasm that seperates genre writing from literature. The world-building is exceptional in its detail and cultural insight - one really gets a feel for the different cultures of Lether and the Edur. The characters are all exceptionally well-drawn and almost universally memorably presented. At different times you understand and sympathise with all the major protagonists in the tale. The plotting is tight, with a fair share of 'gee-wow!' moments, a constant sense of development, even while Erikson takes his time in setting the stage for the tragic climax. All in all, I could find no fault at all with this book. And while the tale had a satisfactory conclusion, there were many plot threads left open for the reader to be left wanting more.
Some readers insist in comparing the different books in this series to each other. While Midnight Tides does not have an ending with the same kind of impact as 'Deadhouse Gates', or reach the breathless climax of the final battle in 'Memories of Ice', I would still rate it as the best one he has written so far. The balance of humour, drama, tragedy and excitement has never been as finely tuned as in 'Midnight Tides', and the cultures and societies never as intricately constructed. Neither has Erikson marshalled as varied and as finely wrought a cast of characters as he does here. I do feel this is his finest book.
I've read all the major fantasy writers of the last twenty years (with the exception of R. Scott Bakker, something I intend to remedy soon) and I would really put Erikson at the top of the list. Thats not something I would have ever said after reading 'Gardens of the Moon', and I would have been reluctant to make such a claim even after reading 'Deadhouse Gates', but I have no reluctance in doing so now.... Mr. Erikson, hats off to you!