Review: Deadhouse Landing (Path to Ascendancy Book 2) by Ian C. Esslemont
If you liked Dancer’s Lament then you will love Deadhouse Landing. Featuring the same story-focused narrative, albeit delivered with broader brushstrokes, Esslemont delivers another engrossing tale of the early steps in Kellanved and Dancer’s ascent to legend and godhood. Once again providing a fascinating glimpse at the hithertofore mysterious past of two of the more engrossing and enigmatic figures from the Malazan universe. Equally important is that knowledge of the wider Malazan meta-narrative is not necessary to enjoy the book… although it does add a lot.
Deadhouse Landing picks up the story of Dancer and Kellanved shortly after their disastrous attempt to wrestle power from the Protectress of Li-Heng. Not souls to dwell on past mistakes or failures, they set their sights on a new challenge, the piratical isle of Malaz. Admittedly this ambition is perhaps more to do with happenstance than an outright plan per se, but when has a plan ever survived contact with reality? Especially when these two are involved. So when faced with a small pirate kingdom, rising tensions with the neighbouring sea power Nap, and, let’s face it, Kellanved’s individual approach to reality, Dancer has his work cut out trying to fend off knives in the back, cutlasses in the side, and monstrous teeth in the shadows.
Review: Fall of Light Book Two of the Kharkanas Trilogy by Steven Erikson
If you liked Forge of Darkness then you will like Fall of Light. Same Shakespearean style and tone, although this time there are more elements of comic relief and respites from the darkness. The civil war continues, the factions become more delineated and yet messier, and the War on Death gets some more attention. What can I say? It is a book two, so it follows on from Forge.
(Spoilers for the first chapter, but no further)
With Forge of Darkness, Steven Erikson launched into the mythic history of the Tiste and began the story about the sundering of their civilisation and the creation of the distinct races. Fall of Light continues this epic fantasy narrative by delving even deeper into the tensions that run rife in a civil war, and by exploring the various factions and how the individuals within those factions often have their own agendas. It is always easy to see the grand sweeping movements that alter societies, but part of the focus of Fall is on how individuals actually shape and alter the course of history, almost without knowing it. Some events seem inevitable, others can be changed, and the reader is in the privileged position to see how individual ambition, pride, and simple mistakes, cost the realm dear.