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The Forge of Darkness - Steven Erikson Reading this I felt like I had already been given the biggest, bestest, tastied birthday cake EVER (the Malazan series) and then somebody delivered the icing. I loved this. LOVED IT with the fire of a thousand suns. It's no secret that I worship at Erikson's altar, but still, I was nervous to begin with (witness the fact that it sat on my bookshelf for nearly a year before I dared open it). I needn't have been. Erikson's voice is there from page one, and the more I read, the more I remembered why I'm so in love with this universe.

This prequel takes place hundreds of thousands of years before the events in Gardens of the Moon. Clearly, it's meant to add more detail to the ancient history of the world we've so far only seen in flashbacks and extracts from Gothos' Folly etc. So, if you're at all interested in that history and origins of the gods and the mythologies, this book is for you.

The story opens in Kurald Galain, still a country, still whole, where Mother Dark reigns and the Tiste Andii have ony just become Andii, where Draconus is alive, in the world, and has children. The Jaghut live next door and the Azath are...well, alive. Not, you know, houses. And they're awesome!

50 pages in I knew I was in for a treat, and then some of my favourite characters showed up and I was punching the air because a) it's so lovely to see them again (OH HAI ANOMANDER I MISSED U!) and b) I know they won't die. Not this time. NOT THIS TIME!



As usual, you won't get a plot summary from me. Suffice it to say, the Tiste are heading for a civil war. There are armies and soldiers and alliances and pledges of allegiance. There's betrayal and horror and violence. (My only disappointment with the book, and hence the 4 stars. TRIGGER WARNING: The rape scene is horrifying. Absolutely horrific, overly graphic and entirely superfluous. It could easily have been handled off-page. There was no need for that. None at all.)

In lighter news, Andarist, Silchas and Anomander are BROS and it's so sweet. Also, Caladan Brood, you guys. And wait until you meet [REDACTED]! In fact, I'm going to put the rest below the cut because I want you to read this so badly and I should hate to spoil it for anybody. But wait until you realise who the Dogrunners are!

- the first ever meeting of Anomander Rake and Caladan Brood!
- the birth of the Tiste Liosan!
- the forging of Grief/ Vengeance!
- Draconus be a dad!
- Spite and Envy as horrible little girls!
- Olar Ethil before she loses her mind!
- Gothos! IN HIS GODDAMN FOLLY! (I punched the air so hard. So hard.
- the birth of the warrens!
- Kilmandaros omg.

Considering all the background infil the book provides, I reckon this trilogy seems like a prime opportunity for us to finally learn who Quick Ben is. Please, Steven? Pretty please, with skulls on top?