The Crippled God by Steven Erikson
|Book Name:||The Crippled God|
|Publisher(s):||Tor Books (US) Bantam Press (UK)|
|Formatt:||Hardcover / Paperback / eBook|
|Release Date:||March 1, 2011 (US) February 21, 2011 (UK)|
The carriages have chugged up to the top of the roller coaster, and the anticipation has built for that first downward plunge into g-force turns, and yet, because you’ve been let down once or twice before, you ask yourself, “Will this be ‘meh’?”
Well, will it?
Hella no! In The Crippled God, book ten of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, Erikson lays out a true feast for lovers of epic fantasy, yet the price for this bounty is high, for our beloved characters will have to endure a savaging as fierce as anything that has gone before. And endure it they do, for they must; ‘cause no-one else will. It is very hard to talk about this book without straying into spoiler territory, but I’ll give this a red hot go.
Tavore Paran has been kicking around the Malazan Book of the Fallen since book three, sometimes in the background and sometimes in the middle-ground. Yet this very obscurity should have put us readers on notice that something big was coming; especially so in a series of books where words are not a finite resources. And something big sure was coming!
One of the things I really like about this book is the simplicity of the grand Tavore (and to borrow a word from make-over reality TV) reveal. Not only does every damn, confounding, inexplicable and down-right idiotic thing she has done so far make sense, but you will be slapping your forehead and saying, “Of course!” Nice one, Erikson.
Book ten of this series belongs to Tavore, however, she would never have gotten to this point without every soldier of the 14th and all that they have accomplished in her name. Nor would she have reached this point without every twist and turn of ascendant drama and politicking that has kept us, since the very first page, both entertained and bamboozled. Yet as the conclusion of this series gets busy celebrating Tavore’s bloody mindedness, there is also so much more than this tome than this. There are also the special effects!
The Jaghut army. The Master of the Deck trying to pull off the impossible. Hood’s assault on the Spire. Stormy and Gesler at the head of the K’Chain Che’Malle forces. Strings and the squads versus the Forkrul Assail. The dragon storms. Draconus and Olar Ethil. Argh! These are the current zenith of epic fantasy and you would do well to acquaint yourself with them. Then there’s all the action at the First Shore where Twilight and Sandalath must come to their own conclusions; not to forget good ol’ Nimander who seems cut from the same bolt of cloth as his father, which bodes well for any future stories from Erikson.
Like a microcosm of the previous nine books, the greater the triumph achieved by the characters, the more it costs them; and this time there is little, if any, left in the bank. Yet our heroes are prepared to spend it all, to achieve what they only just realised they were searching for.
I was more than impressed by this, the last instalment in a saga that I had, because of having to wait between editions, been reading for years. Yes, of course I wanted all the answers, but I was more than happy with the answers I got. Yes, I wanted every last loose end wrapped up, but I appreciate the wisdom of that age old chestnut; always leave them wanting more. When I turned the last page, I more than realised that I had read something special in the annals of the genre I love most. Throughout this series – and this book is a great example of this – Erikson manages to weave both human and in-human drama together in a way that I had not experienced from any other author.
I know ten books is a big ask, but even if the previous nine sucked, I would recommend ploughing through all of them just so that you could read this, the culminating part of this series. The previous nine don’t suck, and this book merely manages to craft a beautiful end to a story that thrilled me, near every step of the way.