Deadhouse Gates (Malazan Book of The Fallen 2) by Steven Erikson: Review

image

So its not unusual for me to be vocal whilst reading. In fact its a very common thing. Its usually in the form of things like this.

-Character gets in trouble-
Me: BLOODY* HELL!

-Something unexpected happens-
Me: Wuh! Whoa! Wow! (Not necessarily all three.)

-A particular nasty thing happens-
Me: Noooo! (Followed by yelling at the characters)

You get the Idea.

These outbursts were common and many throughout Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson.

In the Holy Desert Raraku, the seer Sha’ik and her followers prepare for the long prophesied uprising named the Whirlwind. Enslaved in the Otataral mines, Felisin, youngest scion of the disgraced House of Paran, dreams of freedom and vows revenge, while the outlawed Bridgeburners Fiddler and Islam conspire to rid the world of Empress Laseen (although it seems the gods would, as always, have it otherwise.) And as two ancient warriors -bearers of a devastating secret- enter this blighted land, so an untried commander of the Malaz 7th Army leads his war-weary troops in a last , valiant running battle to save the lives of thirty thousand refugees.

So many revelations, twists, turns and moments of pure wow! I laughed, I cried, and was left feeling the affects of some of the books most fantastically crafted scenes, and events. Not to mention an absolutely jaw dropping ending.

When I read GoTM, Kalam the assassin was more of a prominent character than Fiddler, whom I acknowledged in GoTM but didn’t really notice much. This changed for me in Deadhouse Gates. Fiddler, the sapper Bridgeburner who has a broken fiddle on his back and shoots deadly munitions from his crossbow, has become my favorite character.
He is the everyday you can get behind, and becomes your counterpart in a wonderful but dangerous world.

Of the new characters that feature there is, Heboric the historian and ex priest of Fener, Baudin the thug, Fist Coltaine, Duiker the historian, and Icarium the Jhagut and Mappo Runt the Trell.
There are many more characters and all are listed in the book.

Erikson, once more, weaves a fantastic plot of stories interwoven surrounded by fates insurmountable. Raraku is full of many dangers if the lack of food and water dont get you, then the shapeshifting Soletaken, and D’ivers will, whose presence can be detected by a strong, spicy smell.
On the subject of which, whilst reading this I went to kitchen to fetch a snack, and upon opening the fridge I caught the smell of something spicy and Immediately thought, “D’ivers!”

The pacing of Deadhouse Gates is a lot smoother than GoTM, and DG is incredibly well written, as Erikson unveils each scene, the reader finds themselves totally immersing themselves into the world.

I dont want to spoil anything for anyone so Im going to leave it there.

Needless to say, I am so enthralled with this series so far and am now reading the third installment.

Deadhouse Gates is out now, and available from Bantam Books http://www.transworldbooks.co.uk

Willful Child by Steven Erikson: Review

Right … Where on earth do I start with this.
Ok, here goes.
Despite being warned not to start here with regards to Steven Erikson’s body of work, I liken myself to one of those characters who are told not to push a red button and then end up pushing it to see what happens. This book for me was the red button I shouldnt have pushed. But, my friends, I did.
But thats on me. Sometimes you have to make errors to learn from them.

I went into this book with a completely open mind. This homage/spoof to Star Trek and other SciFi films/tv shows, should have ticked all the boxes for me. It really didnt, and then some.

The book is supposed to represent the many adventures of Captain Hadrian Sawback of the starship A.S.F. Willful Child, but to be honest half the time I was really confused as to what was going on within the story, although I use the term “story” loosely. It was messy and all over the place. One second there is killer kittens and then something involving a large chicken, amongst other things. I get this is to represent the tv series in some ways. Each week Kirk would get himself in all sorts of trouble and it would all be ok as he would be back with his faithful crew next week. I felt it really didnt work in Wilfull Child.

I cant really talk about the characters (except for one, which I will get to) as I felt that all the characters were rather vapid and I really didnt care about any of them. They seemed to always try and challenge the chain of command because of a megalomaniac for a captain. Then we come on to the captain himself.
Wow, where do I even start with the likes of Captain Hadrian Alan Sawback?
Well, for starters he is a bloody idiot who constantly objectifies his subordinates of the opposite sex. Now, Im all for humour and spoof and I would like to consider myself not easily offended. But I really found this book so derogatory and offensive toward women, it actually stressed me out reading it, and I have never felt like that before. Ever.
But really the jokes about assualt/rape were really just vile. Even the overall constant jokes of Captian Sawback being somewhat a sex addict was tiresome from the beginning.
I reached the end and I said to my wife, “I have to put this in another room, as I really dont want to look at it anymore.” After this I felt really drained and actually quite crap in myself, I think that this was because I pushed myself to finish this book even though I would have rather done something else and perhaps it because I was mentally searching for that would redeem this one. Please dont think Im saying, “Read this and it will mess you up.” because Im not saying that Im just trying to relay how it made me feel.
I may sound like Im running this book into the ground and that ostensibly is the truth to a certain degree, but I, myself could find nothing that I liked in it whatsoever. So Im sorry for being frightfully negative. I suppose that summed up this book was just not for me. Im going to leave it at that because I really hate being negative but I also dislike being dishonest. So Im sorry if my view differs from others but Wilfull Child is not a book I could recommend, to do so would be against my truth.

Wilfull Child is out on the 6th November via Bantam Books UK and the 4th of Nov Tor/Forge US/Can