The Malazan Book of the Fallen journey comes to an end. The journey was fraught with extreme highs and lows throughout the reading. I feel like I crossed 4 different deserts myself but I also feel like I was a part of the Bridgeburners or Bonehunters. So, in the end, what did I really think of it? I think it is a monumental piece of fantasy literature that will stand the test of time and Steven Erikson is one of the best all around writers in any genre. I can think that but I also come to understand that it might be one of the most overhyped series available even though it is good. The fans of Malazan almost treat the series like a religious tome of perfection but it must be treated as just another epic fantasy series. There are many readers that don’t like Malazan Book of the Fallen and that is perfectly fine because it isn’t perfect.
Anyways, The Crippled God, like all the other books, gives us amazing scenes of gods and ascendant beings getting involved with the group of armies we have come to follow throughout the series. Everything is pointing to the final convergence of characters and what happens is truly an epic battle with variables that were cast throughout the entire series coming into play. Do we get all the answers we wanted? For the most part, yes, but there is a reason a lot of people reread this series to get more clarity, and a lot of this series is up to interpretation. There are definitely moments in the ending where I could look back and see how it connected to various other parts of the story but I think this had more to do with Erikson’s writing style than a huge outline where everything tied together perfectly. Throughout the series, Erikson left holes open on purpose during the narrative. These holes were then later filled in by later books but I really felt it was more about the narrative steering the story than Erikson. In other words, even though he did plan a lot out, I think he was making some things up as he went along, and it worked out because of his tendency to not give answers. This is not a criticism of the story, in fact, I don’t think there are many fantasy writers that could create this intricate and deep of a world, and pull it out.
Do I recommend this series? Absolutely. It is in my top 3 favorite series of all time, right behind The Realm of the Elderlings and Wheel of Time. It is overwhelmingly complex and deep but extremely rewarding. I do think that fantasy readers that haven’t or don’t read really long series might want to really think if they want to start this series or not. Also, I would recommend reading at least Deadhouse Gates before quitting the series. If you absolutely disliked The Gardens of the Moon, don’t even bother with the series. The series does get very philosophical and wordy later on.
I read this series off and on for 2 years, reading about 5 of the books each year. The reason I decided to chose this route of reading is because it would have bogged down my reading during the year way too much if I tried to read them back to back. The majority of the time each book took me about 3 weeks to finish and after I was finished each one I was exhausted from reading it. Other people might be able to power through this whole series in a short period of time but I was not one of them.
Thanks for reading this review and if I ever reread the series, I’m definitely going to read the ICE books along with these.
4 – Plot
4 – Characters
5 – World Building
3 – Writing Style
3 – Heart & Mind Aspect