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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Forge of Darkness: Epic Fantasy: Kharkanas Trilogy 1
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on 22 October 2016
I really enjoyed this. Having read all of the Malazan: Book of the Fallen series, it was wonderful to re-immerse myself in the world and I found that this was a far more accessible book than some of Erikson's previous novels. It was far more focused on the political machinations of the Tiste as opposed to featuring gods and magic, which was a surprise, but a welcome one. The prose was excellent and the narrative was compelling. It was great to see how some of the characters from the Malazan series initially met and hopefully, this trilogy will continue in the same vein.
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on 2 March 2013
I loved this book. Possible SPOILERS BELOW!!!

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.
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Having previously read the Malazan Book of the Fallen it was enlightening to discover the origins of the characters. Thoroughly enjoyed, as ever, the challenges inherent in all of Erikson's works. A marvellous feast of psychology, sword and sorcery which leaves a distinct taste of satisfaction. Yummy.
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on 7 May 2017
Very deep read, absolutely worth it if you're a fan of the original work. Definitely not predictable... but then again what would you expect from such genius?
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on 1 August 2017
A master of the genre that takes us ever deeper into the worlds hinted at in the Malazan book of the fallen.
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on 14 August 2012
I'm a Big Fan so yes i'm going to be biased, lets get that out front and give the book a big 5 stars. I could wax lyrical about Eriksons prose or world building or Dialogue or philosophy but suffice to say he still rules the roost for Fantasty in my opinion (he can actually finish a series).

Yes this book is dark, infact it starts dark and ends pitch black. With the main characters involved in this book, and the hints of what went on in the Malazan series, you knew it was never going to be a riot of laughs going in. I will admit, that as with his other books, its a very tough read to start with, it may have taken me longer to read the 1st 3rd of the book than the rest of it put together, but he really does make it worth it.

In somewhat reply to a previous review, i find myself comming to Erikson's defense regarding timelines and what has been told/hinted/mentioned in passing in the Malazan series that links with these books. He has always discussed the fluidity of History in his books and i love when he does. I can't do it justice personally, but the fact that his last series of books has an historian as an important character, and this set also does, you should gather Erikson has given it allot of thought.

If you view what is told in the malazan series about the kharkanas series as FACT then you missed Eriksons many points on history. Every god/tiste/jaghut/human has thier own view of history, and any historian can colour the way they record history to suit themselves (sometimes without even knowing). The "history" told in the malazan series is from events many thousands of years ago, and as such this "History" whether from songs or books or even from "gods" alive at the time, has been corrupted many times over. The Kharkanas Trilogy Promises to tell us what ACTUALLY happened or maybe just how it happened, at least according to some characters from thier own point of view....... :)

Anyway if you have read all his other books and loved them, your not going to be disappointed!
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on 26 March 2016
One star less than every other Erikson I've read and reviewed.

I loved the moments of revelation, where we find out exactly how these people met or this weapon was forged, when this split happened and why. Reading it has added so much more to some of my favourite characters, their motivation and origins.

However, there is a lot of philosophical introspection. A lot. Some of it was interesting, but then it was a bit much. It loses its power when it becomes the go-to way of thinking for every character.

Nevertheless, it hasn't toppled Erikson from the top seat. On to the next...
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on 26 March 2016
With only a few weeks left before the release of 'Fall of Light' I found myself wanting to re-read 'Forge of Darkness', for several reasons, one of them being that you can't simply read a Steven Erikson book once and be left completely satisfied. His world is so immense, his characters so plentiful, and the fates and lives spinning forth from his world are so truly grand that it takes a few tries to fully take it all in.

The realm of Kurald Galain is in turmoil, its peple restless after years of war and Mother Dark's powers are truly starting to manifest. And forming the tapestries of our tale are the stories of the young Tiste girl, Korya, hostage to a Jaghut. Arathan, bastard son of Lord Draconus, set on a quest to become a man. Young Orfantal, another bastard on another quest. Vatha Urusander and his son Osserc, stark contrasts of each other's characters and ambitions. The Wardens guarding what cannot be guarded, the Vitr. And a "handful" others. Trailing its way through these stories are glimpses of what in The Malazan Book of the Fallen will become legends.

There isn't a moment in this book that will leave you bored, tensions are rife and you will pay the price of not paying attention. There wasn't a single character in this book that didn't surprise me, in one way or another. Take nothing for granted when reading Erikson. His prose is grandiose, but at times humorous and blunt, poetic and heart breaking. And his characters are, for wont of a better term, flawed.

In Forge of Darkness Erikson explores questions of loyalty and value, strength and weakness, themes of love, loss and freedom, and the struggle of finding one's place in the world.

I loved this book from start to finish and, as always, I am in awe of Mr Erikson.
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on 24 July 2016
Not finish reading it.
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on 19 April 2013
This book is a solid 4/5 from me. I definitely enjoyed reading it.

It was definitely refreshing and interesting to read of much earlier times, and to start to see the back-story of many characters begin to unfold. I quiet liked the feel of the World (well, Kurald Garain) with its houses and hostages, that felt quite well devised and well portrayed too. The story was definitely enjoyable and I avidly devoured it at quite a pace, but there is still much heavy darkness, malaise and soul-searching amongst Eriksson's writing, that actually (now I have switched back from couple of ICE's books) makes me in some ways hanker for ICE's simpler, 'less-sophisticated' (maybe) or 'less-philosophical' style. Eriksson is still the master though and his world-building and story telling feels very, very polished with a definite rightness to it. But the writing can be heavy going at times and (tellingly) would limit my recommendation of reading this book. Not for the uninitiated, I feel. When I read (say) The Name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss) I recommended to any and all of my friends who were into fantasy novels. Forge of Darkness is a much more guarded recommendation - if you are not a fan of Eriksson you may well not get on with his writing style. If you are a fan, then yes, it is darned good and must be read.
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