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Forge of Darkness

(The Kharkanas Trilogy #1)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  7,349 ratings  ·  394 reviews
Now is the time to tell the story of an ancient realm, a tragic tale that sets the stage for all the tales yet to come and all those already told...

It's a conflicted time in Kurald Galain, the realm of Darkness, where Mother Dark reigns. But this ancient land was once home to many a power. and even death is not quite eternal. The commoners' great hero, Vatha Urusander, is
Hardcover, 662 pages
Published August 2nd 2012 by Bantam Press (first published July 31st 2012)
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Angel Kanchev It's best that you start from the first MBotF book - Gardens of the Moon. Then you read the extra ones. And then comes the reread that has a particula…moreIt's best that you start from the first MBotF book - Gardens of the Moon. Then you read the extra ones. And then comes the reread that has a particular book order.(less)
James Owens I don't believe this book will scratch your Mistborn itch, it's a prequel story designed to be read after the mammoth series Malazan Book of the Falle…moreI don't believe this book will scratch your Mistborn itch, it's a prequel story designed to be read after the mammoth series Malazan Book of the Fallen, so a lot wouldn't make sense until you've read that and there's a lot of setup without payoff until the sequel.

It's also much darker and more violent than Mistborn, and the rules of the universe are not clear and defined.(less)

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Start your review of Forge of Darkness (The Kharkanas Trilogy, #1)
Nov 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lover of philosophies.
Forge of Darkness displayed Erikson at the top of his prose but unfortunately, the book was bogged down by too much too much too much TOO MUCH philosophies.

Before I get to that though, let me just say that it’s quite baffling that there’s a list that recommends starting Malazan from Forge of Darkness instead of Gardens of the Moon. I’ve read and loved the main series but this novel took the cake for being the most difficult to get into. If I haven’t read the main series, this would be at best a
Scott  Hitchcock
First things first. Do not read this before the main series. It will not have the same series impacting ramifications. With no frame of reference of where these characters go and the deeds they do it will lack the impact of ages.

Second this is heavier on social-political theorizing than BotF. I know, how much heavier given if you’ve read it could it possibly be? I think the difference is this book lacks the levity given by the Marines and the Tehol and Bugg type relationships.

Much like in the
Stefan Bach
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Do you know, when you see in darkness, nothing is hidden.
Nothing, but darkness itself.”

Was there a slightest doubt in my mind how this would be anything less than a beginning of an epic journey?
Not even for a moment. Because one of the characteristics of the great book is that it has capacity to realize whatever its readers are dreaming of reading.

Greatest book ever written? No.
Best book I have read this year? Out of 90 fantasy books - absolutely.


Forge of Darkness is
Aidan-Paul Canavan
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Book one of Erikson's new prequel trilogy that provides an easier access point for new readers to his 10 book Malazan series. Forge of Darkness is a Shakespearean influenced epic narrative detailing family, politics and the approach of civil war to a decadent empire. Again Erikson uses multiple character points of view of seemingly disparate events to weave an elegant narrative tapestry. The focus of the story is of mounting tensions, political and familial, in the realm of the Tiste. Yet the fe ...more
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One star less than every other Erikson I've read and reviewed.

I loved the moments of revelation, where we find out exactly how these people met or this weapon was forged, when this split happened and why. Reading it has added so much more to some of my favourite characters, their motivation and origins.

However, there is a lot of philosophical introspection. A lot. Some of it was interesting, but then it was a bit much. It loses its power when it becomes the go-to way of thinking for every chara
Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
There is nobody NOBODY like Erikson. The only one who comes close in creating a world is China, even so I don't become as obsessed when reading him.

Whoa, we've got the ancient crew here. Draconus is the main character. Mother Dark is still a Tiste altho she has been to the gate so has transcended with power but she isn't a goddess until the end. She's lost in her darkness, reveling in it and having great sex with Draconus. Her children are dividing over this, they don't like Draconus. And who i
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epic-fantasy
Story: 5/5
1: Being Vague, rambling plot with no little believable storyline
5: Ripping yarn, clever, thought provoking

Wow, just Wow!
I have to admit, that when I heard that the first of the ‘new’ stories was going to be based on early Kharakas and Mother Dark I was disappointed and started reading with some trepidation. I am not a big fan of the Tiste Andii or Liossen, I really don’t like Anomander Rake (yes, really, I don’t) and prequels, regardless how far back to the beginning are never my
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is not a review. This is sort of a praise.

First, a paragraph from the book:

"That said, he knew that he was a poor teacher. He wove his
histories as if they were inventions, disconnected and not
relevant. Worse, he preferred the sweeping wash of colour to
obsessive detail, ineffable feeling over intense analysis, possibility
over probability; he was, by any measure, a dreadful historian."

Oh the irony!

Apparently what Steven Erikson finds dreadful in a historian, I cherish in a fantasy writer. Let
The Forge of Darkness is Steven Erikson's first novel after he finished his 10 book Malazan cycle. It delves into the ancient history of the same world and tells us about the struglles of a vast cast of characters set before the picture of a looming civil war in Kharkanas, home of the self-proclaimed goddess Mother Dark, head of the Tiste nation.

As typical for Erikson the novel goes far beyond the concept of characters, plot and setting. Often characters are just invented to present a philosophi
The Crimson Fucker
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sadness! It is over!

What can I say about Erikson's shit that I haven't said before?

That y'all fuckers need to stop reading your YA and your classics and your ironic shit and read some Malazan goodness?

That I don't understand how this fucker its not on those fancy award winning lists?

Fuck! This is fucking brilliant! So many questions answered only to raise twice as many! !

Anomander will come to understand that you cannot control anything

Andarist will known grieve.

Silchas still scares me.

May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Despite my love of the Malazan Book of the Fallen it’s taken longer than I anticipated to get around to the Kharkanas prequel trilogy mainly because I discovered the Wheel of Time and have been reading the Ian C Esslemont related series. Although ICE’s series of books are brilliant, he’s still second fiddle to the king of complex fantasy Steven Erikson.

There was a little less enthusiasm for Forge of Darkness because I was expecting an Anomander Rake lovefest and although he’s a great character I
Tracey the Lizard Queen
This is the first time I've read anything by Erikson si I had no idea what to expect. Safe to say I was not disappointed. It has everything you could possibly want in an epic fantasy. Great worldbuilding in a wonderful setting, strange creatures and impending civil war.

But its the characters that shine for me. Rich, detailed creations with flaws, insecurities, and most importantly history. Every character has a backstory, filled with regret and pain and everything else that makes up a life. So
Feb 29, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Forge of Darkness, the first book of Steven Erikson's Malazan prequel, The Kharkanas Trilogy, struck me in much the same way that Gardens of the Moon did so many years ago. In both cases, it took me several aborted attempts to get through the book. In fact, it was only the arrival of an ARC of Fall of Light that convinced me to go back and give this one more try.

Normally, I wouldn't invest so much time or so many attempts in a book, but my persistence with his first series paid off. While severa
Benji Glaab
Apr 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Who are you?
If you're thinking of reading this book you're one of two people. 1 you've enjoyed the Malazan universe immensly, and can't wait to delve into this new arc. Or, you've heard great things about this epic, and are a little intimidated about getting into these massive volumes.

If you're in this second group it seems to be a great place to start. There's just as much history, and mystery built into the Tiste era, and if anything Erikson's writing skills are more polished, this time ar
Tim Hicks
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Nope, didn't work for me.

I've read maybe three of the Malazan series, so I knew to expect long, rambling sequences with a zillion characters, some weirdness, some battle stuff, ...

This is a tawdry combination of gloomy philosophy, implausible magic, and a large dose of violence porn in the Game of Thrones model. And mostly it's boring and confusing.

I can only assume that the high ratings here are from people who have read ALL the Malazan books, most of them more than once, and can recite the
Matt Brady
Jan 23, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I reached the 60% mark before I'd finally had enough. Either Erikson is writing more tortured melodramatic unconvincing philosophising than he did in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, and less of the crazy stupid awesome fun that I read those books for, or I've just completely lost my tolerance for it. It's probably a bit of both.

Any sort of prequel has an inherent weakness - we know how the story is going to end. This is a big deficit for a writer like Erikson, whose strength lies in his f
Dec 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel like I needed this. Great writing from Erikson, I just love his prose. I really enjoyed this story. Not as exciting as the main series IMO but immersible non the less. It just ticked boxes, I finally get to learn more about the tiste, Kharkanas, Kurald Galain, Shake, Azath(finally!), so much lore! an absolute joy for a reader who's been so intrigued by these things from 10 amazing books.

Characters: The amount of big names in this book is mouth watering. We have: Rake, Silcha
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

I had heard it said that The Kharkanas Trilogy would be a good starting point to the uninitiated who fear the monster that is the Malazan Book of the Fallen (10 books) or, together with the Esslemont's books (six), the entire Malazan world. That may be so, but it is undoubtedly true that Forge of Darkess will bear sweeter fruits to those who had walked through the fire of Erikson's genius before. They would be on the familiar ground - in his complex language, seemingly unconnected threa
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
What’s not to love? There’s Draconus, Anomander Rake, Silchas Ruin and Jaghuts – almost all my favorite things in one place.

Don’t listen to anyone in the reviews that say this book is OK to read without having first read the Malazan Book of the Fallen. This book is great because we (MBotF “veterans”) have already spent so much time in the Malazan world – these are people we already know and love (or hate). The beauty of FoD is that (in general) we already know what happens and we know who lives
Dec 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The ground is bare and hard/and will hold all secrets/
and the sky cares not/for the games of those beneath it

This won't be a proper review just some random thoughts. The Malazan series is one of my favorites but I wasn't sure how I would feel about this new series set in the distant past so I held off reading it for quite some time. If you come this book looking for similar military/fantasy scenes you will be disappointed. This book is about intrigue, politics, splinter factions, unseen plots an
Sep 20, 2016 marked it as to-read

OMG how can it be that I only now found out there is a trilogy specifically about Anomander Rake and his... family? OMG

Maggie K
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing

This is a book about so many different things....fathers and sons, lovers, faith, jealousy...and the giving of gifts.

As a prequel to the Malazan book of the fallen, it also gives insight to the lives of some characters who are enigmatic...Caladan Brood, Draconus, Gothos, Hood, and yes, the Purake brothers. All before the time of the elient.

This book was so much more thani expected...

My only critique would be the moralizing behind the story arcs.
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was ok

Erickson has a habit of having inner monologues or dialogues that tend to ramble for pages as he tries to get across some philosophical point. Normally these are interspersed with good scenes, and especially towards the end of a book, lots of action. In this book it has gone overboard. I struggled just to finish it. We'll see if the next in the series picks up. I sure hope so.
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Wow. Having passed so much time since reading a Steven Erikson novel, I had forgotten what the experience was like. The Forge of Darkness has sat unread on my Kindle for almost two years and I'm not really sure why. I think it was because I dreaded starting it because that meant I would finish it. You see, finishing a Steven Erikson novel is one of the most bittersweet accomplishments one can experience. And now I have finished it. And it is indeed every bit as bittersweet as I remember the expe ...more
Clay Kallam
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf-fantasy
There’s a lot of reading ahead if you’ve never read any of Steven Erikson’s ten-volume Malazan Book of the Fallen, plus a three-volume prequel that begins with “Forge of Darkness” (Tor, $27.99, 662 pages) – but I’m not too sure about the “good.”

That’s not to say Erikson isn’t a good writer, because he is. His command of the voices of the various characters, and the narrator, is superb, and his ability to create characters with depth and texture is also way above average. The problem for me, thou
It's hard to describe just how much I've hated every minute I spent on this. DNF @ 18%.

Overlong - 687 pages, but only 21 chapters. Storylines switch within the chapters, making it very confusing.
Too many characters - I can't keep them all straight. I got interested in 1-2 characters at the beginning of the book, and they haven't turned up again.
Finally - Nothing is happening! Over 120 pages in, and I couldn't tell you a single significant thing that has moved the book forward.

Throwing this one
Damian Dubois
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think I read somewhere that Forge of Darkness, being a prequel of sorts to the Malazan Book of the Fallen, could be considered a good starting point for any potential new readers out there. While I guess technically that could be true, I do believe that anyone coming in cold to this would really miss out on the foreshadowing and revelations that a Malazan stalwart would instantly pick up on. New readers just wouldn't feel that instant recognition of a name much loved or connecting some of the ...more
Mayank GO
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Curious on how to start a civil war? Read this book.

There are gods, magic, fights, powers, characters - the stuff you expect from Malazan world - but this book mainly deals with the political climate of Kurald Galain when all races of Tiste were together. If these words do not make sense, then you should not be reading this book, and start with the main Malazan series instead.

Overall the book felt like setting up the background for the upcoming war, and is definitely not a standalone book. But i
David Sven
The Forge of Darkness takes us back into the distant past of the Tiste race. Here we get the story of how Mother Dark ascended and the beginnings of magic. We learn more about the history of Draconis and Anomander Rake and his brothers. And we see the beginnings of the fall of a civilization.

In the wake of a new peace, won by the Tiste military, elements in the Legion find themselves unwilling to lay down their swords to bend the knee to the Noble houses they fought for. They long for power of t
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: spec-fic
C2012. FWFTB: marriage, consort, ancient, conflagration, unfettered.I have no idea why I keep putting myself through this agony. Once again, I was frantically paging backwards to see what I had obviously failed to understand the first time I read it, paging backwards to the pitiful Dramatis Personae and looking things up on the net to see what my poor brain had not retained. My copy started to look like a hedgehog of post it notes in my attempt to highlight important events. But, the writing is ...more
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Steven Erikson is the pseudonym of Steve Rune Lundin, a Canadian novelist, who was educated and trained as both an archaeologist and anthropologist. His best-known work is the series, the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

Other books in the series

The Kharkanas Trilogy (3 books)
  • Fall of Light (The Kharkanas Trilogy, #2)
  • Walk in Shadow (The Kharkanas Trilogy #3)

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As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of young ...
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“When one loves all things of the world, when one has that gift of joy, it is not the armour against grief that you might think it to be. Such a person stands balanced on the edge of sadness – there is no other way for it, because to love as he does is to see clearly.” 27 likes
“Peace did not serve order; order served peace, and when order became godlike, sacrosanct and inviolate, then the peace thus won became a prison, and those who sought their freedom became enemies to order, and in the elimination of such enemies, peace was lost.” 15 likes
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