Momentous Malazan meeting
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.