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Kellanved's Reach

(Path to Ascendancy #3)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  2,354 ratings  ·  165 reviews
The incessant war between the bickering city states of Quon Tali rages. So engrossed are the warring lords and princes in their own petty feuds that few notice that an upstart mage from Dal Hon has gained control of the southern seas. But some powers are alarmed. And in the meantime, as Purge and Tali indulge in what seems like a their never-ending game of war, a mercenary ...more
420 pages
Published February 19th 2019
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James Tivendale
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, malazan
"The elders were powerful and dreadful - it was a blessing their days were over. Only a fool, or an insane power-craving... He shook his head once again, this time in exasperation. Ah..."

I received an advanced review copy of Kellanved's Reach in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Ian C. Esselmont and TransworldBooks/ Penguin Books UK. Before I start the review proper I will quickly state that I am quite lucky as a reviewer because of some of the books I get to read early. Ever
Right, I’m going to start with some opinions, they’re intrinsically linked and maybe slightly controversial, but that’s ok because I’m up for an argument or two. So: don’t read these books before Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen and if you don’t have a passion for that series and the big name characters in it that borders on an unhealthy obsession, don’t bother with them at all. Every part of what makes these prequels worth reading is the chance to experience what comes before: seeing where ...more
TS Chan
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ARC received from the publisher, Random House UK, in exchange for an honest review.

Kellanved's Reach was a great continuation to the story behind the rise of Kellanved and Dancer, and the beginnings of the Malazan Empire.

Judging from the direction of the narrative, I strongly doubt that this would be the end of the series (which was marketed initially as a trilogy). Compared to the previous books, the number of character POVs in the third book had more than doubled. There were multiple storylin
2,5 stelline

Ian, Ian, perché sei inciampato su questo libro? Sembravi uno scrittore così cresciutello nei tuoi ultimi lavori! Ma cosa ti è saltato in testa?! Troppe storyline, troppi personaggi tutti insieme, tutto concentrato - a malapena accennato - ogni cosa si risolve in maniera sbrigativa, insoddisfacente. Non sono riuscito a gustarmi nulla.
Eravamo partiti bene con i due libri precedenti, ma la Path to Ascendancy ha accelerato troppo ed è finita in testacoda. Che botta😒
Scott  Hitchcock
Book 1: 5*
Book 2: 5*
Book 3: 3.75*

Just when I thought ICE had it all worked out........

The problem is you have dozens of legendary characters and you try to wrap things up in a 350 page book. If I could describe this book in one word it would be smattering. A smattering of Heboric, a smattering of Blues, Skinner, Dassem, Shimmer, Surly, Urko, Catheron, TCG, Silk, Greymane, Dujek, Whiskeyjack, Tool.......WTF? These are characters who could have their own books.

I understand he wanted this as a com
Benji Glaab
Dec 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: should-buy
2.5🌟 Unlike the first 2 of the series this was a real drag for me. There are too many irrelevant characters. The book is way too short giving a rush feel that felt like I was reading off bullet points for some chapters. I dont even know if there really was a plot tbh hahaha. The finale was kind of a cop out really. I guess my main problem was the story format. I still enjoyed the tone of story which was more on the whimsical side rather than the cold hardships of war. Esslemont is still a qualit ...more
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-own-it, fantasy
2.5 stars? Weak. What a letdown. At least 50% (or more) of the book is about the origin stories of Crimson Guard characters that I care nothing about. The parts with Kellenved and Dancer were great, and I enjoyed those, but the rest was just weak. And - this isn't really a spoiler I don't think, but Dancer and Kellenved don't ascend by the end of the book. I feel a bit cheated. ...more
2.5 stars.

Hm. This was a weird one. I feel like I'm one of the few Malazan fans who feel a bit meh about the Path to Ascendancy series.

My criticism of this might seem contradictory.
This book follows a lot of different characters and there were quite a few I did not really care about and whose storylines I found boring.
The thing is, the book felt too short to me. Huh, she found it too short but boring?? I feel like the characters and storylines did not have enough room to develop. The book often
Adam Whitehead
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The enigmatic sorcerer Kellanved has seized control of Malaz Island. His cohort and ally Surly plots the conquest of her homeland, the Napan Isles. Meanwhile, the mainland of Quon Tali is wracked by war and civil war. Purge and Tali are locked in incessant conflict in the west, whilst to the east the Bloorian League is trying to crush the city of Gris. Conflict stalks the world but great changes are coming in the warrens as well, as Kellanved seeks the Throne of Shadow and also the First Throne ...more
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, Ian C. Esslemont , why can't you write 1000+ pages books? this is not enough.. too good to be this short.. give room to all these characters to developed and for the plots to come to completion..
Other than that, this was another great dive in the Malazan world, with extra winks to some of the characters names and origines..
Stefan Bach
Jan 01, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Oh. You've came out. ...more
Apr 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a solid conclusion to Esslemont's Path to Ascendancy trilogy, but its flaws highlight what is worst about his writing.

Specifically, the fact that it is apparently impossible for Esslemont to create characters who have interesting backgrounds or motivations. We saw this problem even in his first six books before this trilogy, and the fact that the same pattern is repeated here just worsens the problem. Esslemont introduces characters who are basically blank slates: they want nothing to do
Bryan Brown
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-noir
I haven't done reviews for each book in this particular part of the full Malazan story. So.. uh spoilers follow.

I enjoyed the first book the most. The very beginning of Dancer as a character was fascinating to see, as well as introducing a number of other characters that will eventually play a role in the Malazan Empire stories.

The second was pretty good too. More about combining the abilities and sensibilities of Kellanved and Dancer as they become partners in an audacious scheme. Driven by Ke
Feb 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Meh. I could write a scathing review of this book, but I won't out of respect for the fact he contributed to this world - which is my favourite.

If this wasn't a book set in the malazan world, I'm certain most people would rate it far lower (me included). Nostalgia pushes it up.

This is not a well written book at all. Far too rushed in every aspect. Important scenes are just glossed over 😐.


Wish Erikson wrote this. A back story as important as Kellanved and Dancer should've been writte
J. Taylor
2.5 This is very plot lead and I prefer my characters more drawn out then they were here.
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book gets a lot of criticism; it’s too short, it does too much, and some events and character introductions are glossed over far too quickly. Those things are all true, and it could justifiably be double the length. If assessing this in isolation, that would count heavily against it. However, as an entry in the Malazan world, it is still very good.

This is nominally Kellanved’s book, and the character is fantastic here. On the flip side, Dancer is sadly reduced to a spectator, having been s
Sarah Heilman
Of the three books in the Path to Ascendancy trilogy, this is probably my least favorite. As I’ve mentioned in my other reviews, I have not read the original Malazan series, and now that I’ve read these I think that is to my detriment of really enjoying this prequel series. There is no wrap up of anything by the end of this, and is clearly meant to supplement what readers already know about what happens in the future of this universe.

There were a lot of little sub-plots going on in this one that
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read for the fans!

As is usual for any reviews I write for books in the Malazan universe let me say I'm an unabashed, biased fan. This book, completing (?) the backstory of how Kellanved and Dancer became Shadowthrone and Cotillion was therefore like a designer drug to me and I read it in all of twenty four hours.

It's great! Enough by way of Easter eggs and cameos and long awaited reveals etc to keep any Malazan fan sated, but you do have to be steeped in the knowledge of the 20 or so book
Apr 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was quite anti-climactic and disappointing after how great the first two books are. It felt like Esslemont had to meet a publishing deadline and he just submitted this. I usually don't say this, but this book should have been much longer. It felt like I read half a book. Too many characters and plotlines were crammed into one short book.

I read that Esslemont is writing another trilogy, which I can only assume continues Kellanved's group's story. So I'm not sure why he rushed this stor
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Malazan diehards
Shelves: sf-fantasy
ICE is a frustrating writer. I've beaten this drum incessantly but his best novel has always been Night of Knives, his first one, and if he had followed in that vein, I would be a much happier reader.

Alas, he appears to be trying to emulate the sweep and epic-ness of The Book of the Fallen and (1) he doesn't have the chops and (2) the stories he's telling don't call for it. His books have been telling the stories of those threads that were hinted at in Erikson's works, like the fate of the Crims
John Birtchet-sharpe
great to be back in the land of the Malayan Empire

What a weekend treat, it’s been a while but for me at least well worth the wait. Our main protagonist make me giggle and their adventures often are told from.m the point of view of Dancer, however interceding are some new characters being introduced to the stage ... can’t say to much. Please enjoy :-)
Mar 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Too rushed

I do not understand. I enjoyed the previous two books, but this 3rd installment deserved better. Erikson built up these characters over time with so much skill and background, that they deserved more than rushed pages of origin story. This book is carpet bombed with legendary names, totally unnecessary and a waste of opportunity. If anything this book should have been 2 or 3 times as long.

The tone of Kellanved’s Reach is also a lot more teenager style rather than adult. The first part
This is third of a prequel trilogy set a few decades before the events shown in Steven Erikson's Malazan series, and the related books written by Ian Esslemont. I had like the previous two prequels, particularly the first book in the series.

I enjoyed reading this, but at the same time it felt like it wasn't as good as it could have been. Some of Steven Erikson and Esslemont's previous Malazan novels have sometimes felt too long, but this one felt too short for the number of major events happenin
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kellanved's Reach is the last installment in Path To Ascendancy trilogy and I think Esslemont did amazing job with this one. A lot of things were answered and I love how with one scene he erased huge part of time inconsistency in Malazan world. For a long time we've wondered how old is Malazan Empire and how many years was between Dancer's Lament and Night of Knives and how all our beloved characters could be alive in the fresh start of Empire. Now we know and it was resolved pretty good.

There w
May 27, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. All the bits that made Dancer's Lament so solid evaporated in Deadhouse Landing, and the magic was not rekindled for the conclusion to this trilogy. A real shame.

The amount of PoV characters who I was never convinced to care about was still high, making the actual good bits few and far between. Like eating one bite of the good thing on your plate for every four of the stuff that's not good.

And even the good bits, the bits with Kellanved and Dancer, weren't as fun and punchy. They were frequ
Patrick Samphire
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've really enjoyed this series, which is a prequel to the other Malazan books by Esslemont and Steven Erikson. My only criticism of this final book is that it didn't feel like a final book. It felt like we were only part way through the story. This is perhaps inevitable if Esslemont wasn't to fill in every event between the beginning of the Malazan Empire and Gardens of the Moon, but it did leave me a bit unsatisfied and searching for info to see if there were any more books to come.

Still, this
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure how i felt about this series when i heard. Dancer and Kellanved are two of my favourite MBotF characters and part of what I liked was how much of a enigma they both are. I was really worried that by telling the story of their rise it would take away some of the mystery. This is not the case, if anything it actually increases it.

I'm really enjoying this series. I.C. Esslemont's lighter writing style matches the eccentricity of the infamous duo well. Highly recommended to any Malaza
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: Kellanved's Reach [APR 2, 2019] 127 78 Apr 19, 2019 06:23AM  

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IAN CAMERON ESSLEMONT was born in 1962 in Winnipeg, Canada. He has a degree in Creative Writing, studied and worked as an archaeologist, travelled extensively in South East Asia, and lived in Thailand and Japan for several years. He now lives in Fairbanks, Alaska, with his wife and children and is currently working on his PhD in English Literature.

Ian C. Esslemont and Steven Erikson co-created the

Other books in the series

Path to Ascendancy (3 books)
  • Dancer's Lament (Path to Ascendancy, #1)
  • Deadhouse Landing (Path to Ascendancy, #2)

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