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Reaper's Gale (Book 7 of The Malazan Book of the Fallen) Mass Market Paperback – 7 Apr 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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  • Reaper's Gale (Book 7 of The Malazan Book of the Fallen)
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  • Toll The Hounds (Book 8 of The Malazan Book of the Fallen)
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 1280 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (7 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553813161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553813166
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 5.6 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The most significant work of epic fantasy since Stephen R. Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" (SF SITE)

"Extraordinarily enjoyable...Erikson is a master of lost and forgotten epochs, a weaver of ancient epics" (SALON.COM)

"This is true myth in the making, a drawing upon fantasy to recreate histories and legends as rich as any found within our culture" (INTERZONE)

"This masterwork of imagination may be the high watermark of epic fantasy" (GLEN COOK, author of The Black Company series)

"Gripping, fast-moving, delightfully dark...Erikson brings a punchy, mesmerizing writing style into the genre of epic fantasy" (ELIZABETH HAYDON)

Book Description

The seventh awesome chapter in the most ambitious and acclaimed fantasy series of recent years.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There is no better author in this genre, past or present, than Erikson. The Malazan series is prolific for the epic fantasy genre in its scope, integrity, and intellectual value, the latter of which standing as the author's most inspiring quality. To me, what makes a fantasy writer great is their ability to make an entirely new world, with fictitious races and magic, credible and believable; to achieve this and furthermore add the grit of 'real politick', emotional depth, and interesting characterisation makes for an exceptional read. The majority of the fantasy genre suffers from being too simplistic in the way people, be them individuals or races, are cast; crass definitions of good and evil, and sickeningly obvious, righteoeus heros, are the traditional exponents of fantasy. This is not so with Erikson. There is substance to the narrative, oftentimes to a very grim reality, and he writes with an almost philosophical flavour which is at times breathtaking.

The main problem with Erikson's work stems from his ambition. The sheer scope of what he is trying to achieve with this series is almost impossible to clearly commit to the written word - his work has no obvious central plot line, or central character, and therefore it fleets between numerous times, places, and people. This fractures the reader's perception of the many, many details and concepts Erikson is attempting to push upon the reader. I happen to think that this actually lends Erikson's work conviction, as it makes it real. Life tends not follow a clearly defined path, and is often confusing. But Erikson's ability to bring the reader back to his way of thinking, even when you're seemingly lost, is one of unique excellence. The series is testing, and therefore intellectually rewarding.
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Format: Hardcover
If I could sum it all up in two words, it would have to be "hot damn!"

As Malazan fans, we all know how Steven Erikson enjoys using misdirection to fool us. Every single thread of this convoluted, multilayered plot seems to be twisted upon itself, and nowhere is it more apparent then in this novel. One piece of advice: Expect the unexpected. You think you know where the tale is headed? The author will rapidly disabuse you of that notion! There are more surprises in Reaper's Gale than in the rest of the series, it seems. On several occasions, I found myself closing the book, shaking my head, unable to believe that this had just happened.

Although titanic in size (910 pages), the pace throughout Reaper's Gale keeps you turning those pages, eager to discover more and more. There is no sluggish plotline akin to the Mhybe in Memories of Ice, making this one a veritable page-turner. Still, a few storylines at the very end were, at least in my opinion, a little rushed. It doesn't take anything away from the tale, mind you, yet I would have liked for Erikson to maintain the same rhythm from start to finish, as the pace in this one was more or less perfect. After all, when a book weighs in at over 900 pages, what's 10 or 20 extra pages thrown into the mix!?!

The worldbuilding is, once more, grandiose. No other fantasy series, past or present, can match The Malazan Book of the Fallen in vision, ambition and scope. Steven Erikson seems to delight in making us squirm, offering us tantalizing glimpses that make us beg for more. In a series that already resounds with more depth than anything ever written in the genre, the author still raises the bar even higher.

Most storylines grab hold of you and won't let go.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So why only four stars? Well, in comparison to earlier works in the Malazan... sequence, RG suffers in comparison to Deadhouse Gates and Memories of Ice, and to a certain extent House of Chains, as Erikson is now having to deal with so many viewpoints and characters that a satisfactory exposition and narrative for any one plot thread is becoming very difficult.

Given those constraints, the plotting is excellent and the characterisation superb; the development and humour of Hellian in particular stood out for me this time, and any novel featuring a return of the blanket wearing financial genius Tehol Beddict and his Elder God manservant Bugg is going to be good. I was also pleasantly surprised at the sympathetic portrayal of the "villains" of the book - emphasising the important work this series has done to overcome the elves good/orcs bad childish morality of earlier fantasy works (David Eddings, you know what you have done). I was also impressed at the changes in expectation centering around the central duel flagged from the previous book (The Bonehunters).

There are also some excellent surprise returns for characters not mentioned in the last few books (no spoilers!) and although many important characters are affected by Reaper's Gale, at least one manages a welcome return to life...

In short, this is a welcome continuation of what must be the best current (and I would argue of all time) fantasy series, and I await the next book with even more anticipation than I did this (and I thought that would be difficult to achieve...)
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