Mo­men­tous Malazan meet­ing

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased 25 Fe­bru­ary 416 pages | Hard­back/ ebook

Au­thor Ian C Essle­mont

Pub­lisher Ban­tam Press

Be­fore there was a Malazan em­pire there was a half- mad mage and a young, ide­al­is­tic assassin. To­gether they con­quered con­ti­nents and forged a path to god­hood ( or “as­cen­dancy”). Dancer’s Lament fi­nally draws back the cur­tain on their hum­ble be­gin­nings to re­veal how Malazan’s great­est duo came to be work­ing to­gether.

The book mostly fol­lows Dorin, a skilled but largely untested assassin, who gets caught up in the siege of Li Heng while hunt­ing down a mage named Wu. If these two sound fa­mil­iar it’s be­cause they are none other than Dancer and Kel­lanved. They’re joined by a Who’s Who of Malazan names and a few new­bies, in an epic mil­i­tary en­tan­gle­ment that’s ev­ery­thing you’d ex­pect from a story set in this world: mys­te­ri­ous gods, pow­er­ful mor­tals, vast armies and com­pli­cated magic.

As al­ways with the Malazan books, this is very much a Mar­mite af­fair. If you found the pre­vi­ous ones hard work this one isn’t go­ing to be any eas­ier; it has the same com­plex­ity, so if you didn’t like them it’s more than likely you won’t like this.

Dorin and Wu are a fun pair­ing, and the ban­ter be­tween them is ef­fort­lessly en­ter­tain­ing, and though none of the other POV char­ac­ters are as like­able as Dorin, they pro­vide plenty of in­ter­est – and re­veal a few Malazan se­crets.

The ac­tion is where Dancer’s Lament re­ally shines, though. There are heart- stop­ping knife fights, im­pres­sive dis­plays of magic and des­per­ate fi­nal stands; from cloak and dag­ger stuff to out- and- out siege war­fare, the book has it all. Un­for­tu­nately it’s also a bit of a slow burn, tak­ing its time to bring all the threads to­gether. When they are pulled to­gether, though, you’ll find that you’re once again thor­oughly hooked by fan­tasy’s most epic world. Bri­die Ro­man

This is very much a Mar­mite af­fair

Malazan co- cre­ator Steven Erik­son has a new novel out soon too: Fall Of Light is due on 21 April.

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