Reaper's Gale

Judderman

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I just read Reaper's Gale. I couldn't find a thread on this one, the seventh in Erikson's series.

Spoilers for this book follow.
I have been mostly loving the Malazan series so far. I was really enjoying the first half of this novel. I was thinking at that point it was shaping up to be one of the better in the series. Some of the intrigue with the Edur and the Letherii was really well done and compelling, though there was quite a few new characters cropping up. The Tehol silliness was reduced from his previous appearance. Also the Karsa and Icarium potential fight with the Emperor was getting closer. The return of Onrack to mortality in a beautiful place was actually quite joyful to read amongst the often sombre tones of the series. Shadowthrone and Cotillion also got in some good lines. A lot to enjoy.
However the second half up till about 80% of the way through it got quite dull. The end was satisfactory in some parts but not others. The Shake stuff wasn't great. There was a lot about the Malazan army. It seems whenever some soldiers are killed off Erikson endlessly brings up another squad or two of hardass marines with talented, weired mages. This was the peak so far in the series of having unnecessary and similar characters. I generally find the Malazan soliders amongs the dullest parts of the series, with a few key character exceptions. The way Beak basically defeats the Letherii by killing their mages and protecting the Malazans with his life was a horrible Deus Ex machina. Ok his power was being strongly hinted at in previous parts of the book but it was just annoyingly done in the end. Also I didn't feel much sadness or impact of his loss as he hasn't been in the story long and was only earlier valued by a few. Plus Quick Ben is now apparently even more powerful than before, along with Synn being around.

The Redmask story was kind of interesting but seemed pointless in the end. I read an interesting explanation about it and it is more symbolic than anything else, though there were some good action.
It will become clear of the importance later but some of Silchas Ruin's party were killed rather suddenly after we went through a lot of scenes with them. Then also with Icarium's machine(?) various following characters were instantly killed off too. The Errant didn't achieve much either.

I liked the Karsa and Emperor ending and the meeting with the Crippled God.

So there was some disappointment for me though overall it is still a good book. I see on threads about people's favourite Malazan book this is often at the bottom of the list so I'm not too discouraged going forward.

Did other readers have similar thoughts on it?

Next up Esslemont's Return of the Crimson Guard. I enjoyed Night of Knives so am looking forward to it.
 

HareBrain

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I think this is the one I gave up the series on. If I remember right, there's a death of a major character near the end, and I felt nothing for it at all, even though I'd really liked the character in previous books. So I couldn't be bothered with any further ones.

It seems whenever some soldiers are killed off Erikson endlessly brings up another squad or two of hardass marines with talented, weired mages. This was the peak so far in the series of having unnecessary and similar characters.
I remember thinking this. There were just too many of them.
 

Judderman

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For the major character that was possibly Toc. Yes he sacrificed himself all of a sudden and though noble it didn't seem quite right. Or possibly it was Fear Sengar who also met a sudden death, though at least that was having just reached his brother so he died by his side. Their tragedy complete. Erikson does like to try to pull the heart strings.

As for giving up this is meant to be the lowest point in the series, and still had some excellent parts. Perhaps Toll the Hounds doesn't have the best reviews either. The last 2 books, plus Crimson Guard, are meant to be strong so I'm certainly going to keep going. I recommend you have another bash! It's certainly not dull like some of the Wheel of Time. Despite my criticisms this series is a masterclass and very highly recommended. The bar is so high that is easy to point when Erikson doesn't produce his best. :)
 
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HareBrain

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It was Trull Sengar I was thinking of.

I recommend you have another bash! It's certainly not dull like some of the Wheel of Time. Despite my criticisms this series is a masterclass and very highly recommended.
I'd have to start it over, as I can't remember who anyone is. I did start it over once before (after having abandoned after MOI), and got much more out of it the second time. But re-reading seven massive books, knowing that last time I was within sight of the end and still gave up, is a daunting prospect. I just think it's too big. It didn't need to have quite that size of cast and backstory to accomplish its aims.

Wheel of Time I abandoned after one book! So I certainly rate Malazan a lot higher than that.
 

Judderman

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Ha, of course I forgot Trull. Yes he was probably the best Edur character. The Tiste Edur story is drawn to a close it seems. I suppose as with Game of Thrones there is only a few characters that are perhaps unkillable before the finale. There was actually so much that happened in this one in the end that is was a finale of sorts.
 
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EJ Heijnis

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I actually enjoyed Reaper's Gale a lot, especially the Bonehunter parts. Trull dying did leave me feeling kind of deflated, but Erikson keeps the random main character deaths at an acceptable level for me. Toll the Hounds left me a little disappointed, if only because that wasn't the story I was waiting for. It still needed to be told, and it was interesting enough on its own. The last two more than made up for it. (y)
 

Bugg

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If I remember right, there's a death of a major character near the end, and I felt nothing for it at all
Blimey, that bit tore me apart :cry: In a book that I otherwise found quite dull, apart from the Karsa bits. Totally agree about the cookie-cutter soldiers - I found those parts really dragged. It's easily my least favourite book in the series, especially coming immediately after my two favourites.

FWIW, I loved Toll the Hounds - it has quite a different style to it.
 
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