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Kellanved's Reach

(Path to Ascendancy #3)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  626 ratings  ·  70 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
Paperback, 331 pages
Published April 2nd 2019 by Tor Books (first published February 19th 2019)
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4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  626 ratings  ·  70 reviews

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James Lafayette Tivendale
"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
Feb 14, 2019 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 storyline
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
Jason M Waltz
Better than a 3-star so I'm rounding up, yet not of the same high caliber of books 1 and 2 in this Path to Ascendancy. Lots of players of the Big Game that is the MBOTF assume their roles in this one, and learning much of what lies behind many of them is quite fun and very interesting. Most interesting is the 'luck' that seems to propel much of it; luck for a particular emperor that is. Dancer is my favorite character, and the reputation he gained/delivered in the MBOTF is bolstered here, as it ...more
Stefan Bach
Mar 31, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Oh. You've came out.
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
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 13, 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
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 the origine of some of the characters names and origines..
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 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
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
Nikolai Tsekov
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Seems to me that most people just can't get over the simple fact there are not exactly main protagonists in any of the Malazan series books. Whatever you believe, forget about it: the books may seem to have quite a few of those, but you won't get much more about them than about someone you barely met on a single page, since the latter may appear over and over until you get a more complete picture of them.

The goal may seem to be to explain one or more character story in a bit more detail (in this
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
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 31, 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
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series had damn well better not end at just 3 is all I'm saying
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
Feb 27, 2019 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
Laura Newsholme
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have really enjoyed Ian Esslemont's Malazan prequels so far and this third instalment is no exception. It tells the continuing saga of Kellanved and Dancer and the way in which they acquired the position that they enjoy within the Malazan world. Once again, we have a narrative following several different characters as they negotiate their environment, which I liked a great deal. Esslemont has a very accessible writing style and his narratives are always clean without a great deal of unnecessar ...more
David Newman
A Malazan tale, filling in gaps

Familiar characters and an important set of threads pull us on yet the key players are all younger, less experienced and knowing far less about the complex world they are growing up in. They feel less real in this telling than in the rest of the intricately wrought broad sweep of Malazan history we have been treated to previously.

The writing is sparse, telegraphic, almost urgent. As a result the rich atmosphere of roundly drawn characters and vibrant environments
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant as ever. I was fairly critical of the early ICE additions to the Malaz story but to be fair to him over time he has really found his groove and has ceased trying to write as Erikson does and instead produces works to his own strengths and his books are eminently better for this.

A rollicking ride with almost endless twists and turns with further meat being given to the bone of the Malaz world. The differing view of Kellanved as to what you are fed from the Erikson books is brilliant and
Gregg Buford
I expected more really. You get find to out about how certain people came into service to Kellanved and Dancer but some things were still not covered completely I think. There is still a lot of history to cover really and thought he would cover more than he did with this one. I started this round noon and read for the day really. It was an easy and enjoyable for the most part. I think I liked the first two of this series better though. There could be more books along the Path to Ascendancy. Mayb ...more
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epic, grimdark
I think as a series this is excellent. This is the weakest entry in it but still enjoyable with a lot of cool Malazan backstory. I think it suffered from trying to cover too much - it seemed to have way more plot threads than the previous books which meant some storylines felt a bit rushed in considering it had a similar length to the previous entries. Some of the POV characters were rather passive, Dancer in particular didn't seem to do all that much this time and was relegated to supervising K ...more
Frank Burns
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ahh, Malazan. A great setting. I have thoroughly enjoyed Esslemont's prequels whilst I found Erikson's unreadable. Which is strange given the sheer wonder Erikson managed with the main series. This was a little gem though. It's roots in an rpg campaign were showing but that never held back Raymond E Feist. The fact that both Erikson and Esslemont have backgrounds in anthropology shows in their books. Their societies have a ring of authenticity. Definite recommend if fantasy is your cup of chai.
Darren McGowan
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Who'd of thought that you could of gotten so many characters into a story. Lots and lots of beginning or backstorys going on in this one, besides the main characters of cancer and kellanved. Fast action throughout added with excellent storytelling. As for any other questions about this book, it's much like the early two books, very well done. Only one drawback was it seems so short. Can't wait to see where story leads to.
This book feels condensed. It feels like when a epic story is condensed into a 2 hr movie.

The big bang one expects from a book set in the Malazan Universe was disappointing.

We see how and why some famous future Avowed and Disavowed joined the Crimson Guard.

We see the creation of the Talons.

We see the creation of the Cadre Mages.
Apr 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
ehhh...this one felt pretty slapped together. a lot of hasty introductions, and reintroductions, of characters. rushing to get them places by the end of the book. i still enjoyed a lot of the events & characters, but the end definitely left me wanting. can we get a third malazan writer who fits solidly between the other two styles?
Mar 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Similar to some other reviews but it started off well and the second half of the book felt rushed.The result was quite jarring as you are bounced between what sometimes felt like a quick summary of each viewpoint. It could have done with a few hundred more pages so that the proper care and attention could be placed on significant scenes and plot lines
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: Kellanved's Reach [APR 2, 2019] 127 75 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)