Oh God, yes. This has to be one of the best books I've ever read. Meeting all the players from Gardens of the Moon
again was like seeing a bunch of old friends - especially the Bridgeburners, who are still awesome. So is everyone else, of course, and the events at the very beginning of the book actually made me whoop. This could only end spectacularly, and it sure did.
I had high expectations for this book, and it exceeded each and every one of them. The story picks up pretty much immediately after the events of Gardens of the Moon
- the threat of the Pannion Seer to the south is ever growing, and Onearm's Host and Brood's forces decide to face it down together. I absolutely loved the forming of this alliance - two armies that have fought each other for years, which has given their generals so much mutual respect for each other that the alliance never seems uneasy. It's natural, and fascinating, and so very, very well written.
Amongst the new characters that are introduced, the most fascinating must surely be Itkovian of the Grey Swords, and Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, a couple of necromancers that seem to pop up everywhere in the story while not being involved directly with any of the ongoing developments.
We find out what happened to Toc the Younger, we see the rise of a new God, we learn what the Crippled God is plotting, there's fascinating back story on Brood and Anomander Rake (Dragnipur FTW!), Kruppe is back and in fine form indeed, and the creatures... This time around, no Jaghut tyrant, no d'ivers, and hardly any demons. Instead K'Chain Che'Malle, reborn from a distant past. Fabulous.
The T'lan Imass also feature heavily, and their history and their future are just one of the many, many sugary tidbits of information Erikson sprinkles masterfully all over this massive chocolate pie of a tale.
I could go on and on. I loved this book. I'm probably the last person in the fantasy-reading world to have read this, but if you haven't, may I please recommend this from the bottom of my heart of epic love. This. Is. Awesome.
Thanks once again to Jana, who introduced me to this series. I owe you big time! :)