Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
While clearly a superior book, in my humble opinion, to the first Book of Malazan, I'm deeply disturbed by some of the turn of events at the end of the novel. Namely, WTF? Uggghhh. It makes me want to sit in silence for a while and try to digest it a bit, but no. A lot more things happen in this novel than just one man's (or many men's) reversal(s), be it choice and with so-called reason or utter desolation filled with a demon's pity.
I was initially worried that I'd be bogged down in too much war, but no, that wasn't even a concern for me this time. I was too invested in the characters, especially the Assassin and the Historian. The thief was fun and the author's penchant and focus on old dead civilizations and archeology serves him extremely well here. The explorations really got my heart pumping even as my mouth dried.
The refugees and the desperate march was particularly effective, too, but more than anything else, the promise and the fear evoked by the Whirlwind was very good.
Ancient armies fighting endless battles, the dead all around, and the mortal armies of the Empire and the defenders, made this war extremely pernicious and chaotic, even if the gods weren't throwing wrenches into the spokes of everyone's war machines. We even got to travel by sea and pirate with the best of them.
This novel may as well serve as the definition of Epic. The direction and the focus is always clear. The enormous cast, with all their hopeless desires, clash and collude on grand scales, while the plights stay close to the cuff.
Oh yeah, and who loves the dogs? That's right. It's me. And I loved every instance where the Coins of the realm became the downfall of (often extremely literally) of nobles and the other financial ministers; I was laughing with delight, even.
The deaths of the children were hard, but distance made a lot of it bearable. There's one scene with our fearless Historian that I'll never forget, even if I *know* it was a blatant attempt to tug at my heartstrings. It still worked like a freaking charm.
Do I love the series? Yes. I do believe I do. I need a slight break though! Very emotional.
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