Steven Eriksons long awaited magnum opus – The Malazan Book of the Fallen – is finally complete with the publication last month of the 10th and final novel, The Crippled God. Fans of the series can finally rejoice in reaching the conclusion of this truly epic fantasy series first began in the last millenium (ok it was only 1999, but it technically counts) and at times it has felt like this series wouldn’t end in the next thousand years. While I’ll avoid any spoilers for those who haven’t reached the end of this series, suffice to say it was worth the wait and The Malazan Book of the Fallen pays off in a big way.
Instead of talking about the new book I wanted to write about the experience of reading such a long series over such a huge span of time. After all, clocking in at over 3 million words, I’ve dedicated a pretty hefty chunk of my life to reading these books and so I think a little looking back is in order.
My favorite thing about this series is just the sheer amount of characters and long term character development featured over the epic tale. For those who may have read the series, recall all the way back to Gardens of the Moon, the first book and it is truly inspiring how memorable and rich the characters Erikson has brought to the page grew over the course of the story. While the book features the wide happenings in a war-torn world with major world powers vying against demigods and full scale deities, the most memorable characters are still some of those who – with no great power or ambition – managed to turn the tide of history through sheer cunning, willpower or just dumb luck.
With the publication of The Crippled God I am saddened that I will no longer have the nearly clockwork annual release of another Erikson entry into the Book of the Fallen to look forward to, but I am excited to see what the author turns his attention to next. For those who absolutely cannot bear to leave the world of Malaz behind however, fear not for Erikson’s long time co-author Ian Esselmont has also started a series set in the same world, and in Erikson’s words are as “canonical and integral” to the world as his own.