Rating: 5 out of 5
Having read this originally a year ago, I picked the book up again so recently because I also read the two first installations of the trilogy this time round: ‘Dancer’s Lament’ and ‘Deadhouse Landing’. It is perhaps needless to say that everything made a whole lot more sense now—the reader is much more able to follow Iko and Ullara and of course the Malazan/Napan characters are better formed.
The activities? Kellanved is building a state and chasing a mystery, activities which suit him well—Dancer accompanying him works well as the two characters balance each other quite nicely. Surly’s activities interest me most as that’s where the planning goes on, but alas the reader isn’t given a thorough look into that. Meanwhile, Orjin Samarr’s story is still as gripping as a year ago.
Overall, this is a very good fantasy novel, but I think I made a mistake jumping into it last year without the back-story from the previous volumes. I’ve given some thought also to whether I would recommend these before the Malazan Book of the Fallen series for people who want to delve into this world—and, my answer is “Yes” as the chronological development as presented here will go a long way to pave an introduction into all of the complexities that the Malazan universe will throw on the reader at its first chance.