- Mass Market Paperback: 928 pages
- Publisher: Bantam (18 July 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0857501356
- ISBN-13: 978-0857501356
- Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 4.1 x 17.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 71 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,140,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Forge of Darkness: Epic Fantasy: Kharkanas Trilogy 1 Mass Market Paperback – 18 Jul 2013
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"Forge of Darkness is brilliant and far exceeds any and all expectations that readers of 'The Malazan Book of the Fallen' could possibly harbour...I think we all wondered how Erikson could possibly follow up arguably the best fantasy series of all time. Forge of Darkness will dispel any and all doubters (if any do indeed still exist out there) that Steven Erikson is the best writer on the planet." (SFSITE)
"Forge of Darkness is, quite frankly, remarkable...Erikson should be raised up as a standadrd bearer, representing the best of the best of those books we would love to be more loved - those that are intellctually nutritious as well as artistically delicious." (TOR.COM)
Steven Erikson returns to the Malazan world with the first book in a dark and revelatory new epic fantasy trilogy that tells the tragic story of the downfall of an ancient realm...See all Product description
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Having read and reread almost everything in the Malazan universe by this point, Forge of Darkness was like balm on my soul. I really really needed some insight into the actual people behind these larger than life characters from the Books of the Fallen series. Who was Anomander before he was this god like Dragnipur wielding Son of Darkness. Why was he so alienated from his Brothers and what happened there. Why did Andarist end up on an island for god knows how many years in seclusion and what drove him to do that. Who are these elder gods, and where did they come from. Hood and Sechul Lath, Errastas, Kalamandaris, Caladan Brood and Olar Ethil.
This trilogy explores where these people came from, and who they were in their "youth" before they became those powerfull yet broken characters in the Fallen series. It also tells gives us more information about the Vitr, very lightly touched on by Erikson before but mostly known from Esslemonts storyline involving Taychreen and Kiska. Forge of Darkness, as the title suggests however, is the tale of a people the Tiste, and how that people and their culture breaks down. It is a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, and of duty and the horrors done by good men. Explaining somewhat how they come to be so broken and caught in their respective roles later on. The most stark example that of Scaba Bandaris, who we meet as a young, noble and good captain in the tiste army. - Nothing to suggest that he would later so betray his honor. (the betrayal of the tiste andi and stabbing of Silchas ruin)
The book explains the creation, yes creation of Mother Dark and the role Draconnis played in this, which somewhat explains why he would be dumb enough to later create the sword that needed such a sacrifice to undo millenia later.
The most important thing about Forge of Darkness is that it treats all these larger than life characters we know from his previous works as real and flawed people. Ordinary in that they all are now sharing stage with eachother and thus are less abnormal in their greatness because they equally shine thus. - You have dinner scenes with father Light before he becomes Father Light, and you are in the presence of Mother Dark and her priestess. You get to see Endest Silann in his youth, and three brothers who love eachother are brutally changed and torn apart by extreme circumstances before you finish the book. - If you read this with the knowledge of what comes after, it is absolutely heartbreaking because you understand the ramifications of their actions and how far into the future those consequences are felt.
I read the book and then reread it. Thought about it for days, and still sometimes think about it. It is not the best storytelling Erikson has ever done, but it is immensely satisfying to read because you finally get to hear how Erikson imagines the birth of the conflicts we still see fought out in WU.
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.
Forge of Darkness takes us back millennia into the past, before the elder gods, before dragons and the warrens. There are plenty of characters featured who we are familiar such as the Sons of Darkness, Draconus, and Scara Bandaris unfortunately the story is not told from there perspectives but characters around them. Draconus and Anomander have massive 'screen presence' and are two of my favourite characters, Draconus is featured heavily but Anomander not so and he along with Silchas Ruin could have had more part to play in the story but I guess they will feature more in the coming novels. Also nice to meet younger versions of characters such as Spinnock Durav, Sandalath Drukorlat, Osserc and Orfantal.
You have to work hard to follow all the stories and the many characters involved and these books are never a fast read but it is certainly worth the effort, the coming novels certainly promise much and many questions should be answered.
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