Learn more Download now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more



on 11 December 2015
After branching off into some other fiction, I felt the itch to come back to fantasy and, after a bit of looking around, stumbled upon this and thought I'd see if it was any good. I have not been disappointed, this is nothing short of amazing.

The plot follows a handful of characters as their threads become entwined in an overall arc. If you were to break this down to its very core you'd find standard fantasy elements - a sorceror, a barbarian, a forgotten prince etc, all joining a war with the ever present (but not really believed by most) threat of an ancient demon-god coming back to threaten the world with darkness. However, as average as that sounds, the writing is of such an incredibly high standard that Bakker could throw in any type of character and you'd still read it. Each character is overwhelmingly deep in substance, and this is an almost constant exploration of the various aspects of humanity; there are phrases and passages in here that you read several times, then shut the book and contemplate for a time.

I won't attempt to summarise the characters or the story, as even a summary would take too long and not do this justice. Sufficed to say that if you love high/epic fantasy, this is for you. It is a little tricky to start with, but nothing too difficult, and my main (and only) slight niggle is that some of the character and place names are very complicated. I often find myself simply recognising the shapes of the words rather than attempting to pronounce them. But that really is the only criticism I can offer, and it's a very subjective one. This is the start of what will surely be one of the best fantasy novels I've read in a long time.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 18 December 2016
This is the best series since Patrick Rothfuss' first 2 books. It takes a little while to get to grips with the characters, factions and countries and it pays to access the wiki on occasion. However once you get into them you don't want to stop. P.S. I gave up on book 1 of The Malazan Book of the Fallen series as it was just too difficult to keep up!
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 12 November 2017
I think many recovering fantasy fans like myself have been forcibly dragged back into the realms of fantasy by R. Scott Bakker, and have been half- regretting it ever since.

The Darkness that Comes Before introduces us to a plethora of amazing characters: Kellhus, the superhuman who has mastered himself, body and mind, to such an extent that the rest of the world seem as children to him; a brilliant, if deeply troubled, tribesman named Cnaiur, an old sorcerer and teacher, Achamian and the whore, Esmenet. Kellhus is simply fascinating, a simple concept, but beautifully created; Cnaiur evokes all my teenage fascinations with muscle-bound, insane anti-heroes; Achamian always seems a bit like a projection of the author, a philosopher and thinker, plagued by dark dreams and conflicting responsibilities; Esmenet is a bit of a male-fantasy, but she's a strong female character as well.

We get sucked into the factions of Earwa, who are exceptionally complex on a first reading, the memories of a past apocalypse, which will make more sense after finishing the series to date.

The world is very historical in some senses, with references to medieval European and Middle-Eastern culture throughout, including some lovely anthropological detail, and there is a detailed and technical magic system working alongside it, which manages to break with the fashion of creating unexplained, mysterious magic systems.

I don't really have any criticisms: the writing style really grew on me and, despite the near impossibility of writing high-fantasy without a few cliches, Bakker manages to make the book feel exceptionally original, injects a sense of reality, includes genuinely evocative philosophical ideas and excites the fantasy-obsessed mind as well as any other book I can think of.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 6 December 2015
Simply put, the first volume of one of the best fantasy series in years.

Wonderfully written with some of the best action sequences the genre has to offer, an interesting magic system and intricate word-building that is not only broad but deep.

It's Lord of the Rings meets the crusades meets Dune, with a dash of Nietzsche for good measure. It at once pays tribute to the forefathers of the genre while remaining refreshingly original.

Highly recommended.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 8 May 2017
Massive story, with its own history embedded within it.
Excellent characters - you root for some, hate others. A number of protagonists are followed, meeting and leaving the main story.
Politics, battles, magic, mysterious skills. Complicated but worth the effort.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 29 April 2017
Can't be bothered to read it again like Martin's game of thrones so many strands characters and ideas, but of course I'm hooked dammit.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 10 November 2015
Tried to read more than the first 100 pages but found it so difficult, with so many factions, characters, all characters inferring things rather than saying them plainly, made me feel it was just too much hard work to read and therefore not enjoyable at all
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 13 August 2015
This has to be one of the best epic fantasies that I have read since Game of Thrones.
Compelling. I felt I had to go back and re-read it straight away. Since then I have read it again and it's rare for me to do that.
Tremendous. You must read this!!!!
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 17 July 2017
Not a great read unfortunately - the story is better than most but the writing is a struggle to get through.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 6 August 2015
This is hands down one of the best book series ever written. Itś magical! The language, dept of character, story line etc it fantastic
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse