One of the things that frustrates me as an avid reader of fantasy, is the waiting for a new volume in a much loved epic.
It happened to me with The Wheel of Time, which I have been following for the past 13 years and now it has happened to me with the Malazan Book of the Fallen.
It’s been close to 4 years now since I discovered this epic, currently in it’s 6th book (the 7th is due out this year) and it ranks up there with the Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time (surpassing it in many respects), Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana and Song for Arbonne and ofcourse good old grandfather Tolkien.
What I most like about this series is not the massiveness of the undertaking, the huge armies, well thoughout strategies and fleshed out characters. No, what I like most is the distinct lack of black and white, good and evil polarisation.
Every character, every faction is a complex mass of motives, good, evil, compromise and determination. There is a constant double-backing, a questioning and reevaluation of the present, a striving towards understanding with an ever widening horizon. A lot of sidetracks along the way - and here I am speaking about individual characters and not the overall plot or story arc -, wrong turns, choices you can’t forgive or forget. All of it brings this fantasy epic much closer to life how we percieve and live it than a lot of fiction novels I have read.
Frightening in it’s scope, fascinating in it’s writing, one of the best I have ever read.
Some links about Steven Erikson I managed to dig up:
There is also Starvald Demelain, the Wiki for the series.