I’m working my way through the entire Malazan Book of the Fallen series, and as usual I’m awed and a bit baffled by Reaper’s Gale. It features a series of plots that are close geographically but not necessarily spiritually, with the exception of Quick Ben and Hedge (with Trull Sengar) defeat Silchas Ruin’s sisters (and sort of Silchas) at the Refugium. The rest of the action takes place in Letheras, ruled nominally by Rhulad Sengar but actually by some really nasty fuckers among the Letheri.
- This finishes with several epic battles, none of which is actually epic – Quick Ben’s magic comes not really from himself, so when he uses it he’s not sure how it works exactly, Hedge blows up a dragon with Moranth munitions, not exactly cool by fantasy standards where dragons must be slain by magic arrows, one mage (Beak) sacrifices himself to save the Malazans under Adjunct Lajore, and the resulting battle feels far more like WWII attempts to take German towns than any glorious cavalry rides (I don’t care, I still love the Riders of Rohan), and so on.
- So many subplots, only some of which come together in this novel. Erikson seems to eventually have everyone meet, even if those meetings are not planned or turn out as expected.
- As I think of expectations again, Erikson messes with my head, but I think that the Malazans are for the most part the ideal (in a fucked-up way). They take members from all the races, and interesting mayhem results.
As always, I will write more on this series as I try to sort it all out.