Petrik's Reviews > Reaper's Gale

Reaper's Gale by Steven Erikson
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The Reaper used his scythe to chop onions in an attempt to bring tears to my eyes. Unfortunately, he didn’t succeed.

By this point of the series, I think it’s safe to say now that Malazan Book of the Fallen will never break my heart the way it did a lot of readers. People always told me that Erikson was more brutal towards his characters more than George R. R. Martin or all the conclusion of his books will leave my soul crushed; I strongly disagree with these as I found none of the books in the series so far to ever move me to the point of making my soul crushed or on the brink of tears. This series is amazing in many other aspects but for characterizations (which is the most important aspect of any story for me), in my opinion there are several authors who did it better.

Before you raise your pitchfork, let me emphasize that the reason behind this comes down to the simple fact that Erikson spread out his characterizations to way too many characters, and for what it’s worth, what he did with more than hundreds of characters were incredible. However, because there were too many characters POV, I was never invested in the majority of the characters as much as I did with some of my beloved series that has a normal amount (let’s say one until more or less thirty POV throughout the series) of characters to follow. I was super happy with what Erikson did in The Bonehunters; he introduced a relatively few new characters (many awesome ones at that too) and we get to follow mostly characters that we’re familiar with. In here though? The drammatis personae shot up to at least 150 characters and we’re forced to read so many completely uninteresting new characters POV; more info on this later.

Reaper’s Gale, the seventh book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series brings the plot back to Letherii, the location where the story of Midnight Tides (one of my favorite books in the series) took place in. I won’t be talking about the plot at all, this is the seventh book already. My introductory paragraph and my rating should give you an indication that I have mixed feelings about this installment. Trust me that I honestly wish I could give this book 5 stars but doing that would be a lie. Here’s the thing, Reaper’s Gale provided me some scenes that could be included into one of the best scenes from the series, but unfortunately it also provided me with some of the worst and boring experience in the series.

The first 40% (twelve chapters) of the book were quite a mess for me to read. Erikson focused the story on mostly new characters I simply don’t care about. This is the seventh book already for god sake, and after reading the book, some of the new characters felt almost as if they were there just for the sake of making this book longer or unnecessarily more complex than it should be. Usually, I don’t mind Erikson introducing new characters, that’s what he always did with each installment. However, Erikson was capable of giving distinct voices to his characters and that very important ability was lost to me in this installment. Most of the new characters sounded almost completely the same and their POV became uninteresting to read. One of the newest character, Redmask, was one of the most disappointing character storylines within the series so far. I genuinely laughed because the conclusion of his story was so damn ridiculous, unsatisfying, and pointless; it made me think “what was the point of me reading his story? This could’ve been almost entirely skipped and my experience reading this book will most likely get better.”

Although Redmask was one of the worst and—for now—pointless characters in the series so far, Erikson also included one new side character that I consider one of the best character Erikson ever wrote; his name is Beak. Let me get this straight, Beak didn’t get a lot of POV for us to read but just with a few POV chapters, Erikson managed to make sure his characteristics, background, motivation, ability, were all fleshed out. His characterization was so damn incredible that even simple line like this passage down below holds a tremendous amount of impact.

“Yes sir. You’ll see. Everyone will because you’re all my friends and friends are important. The most important thing in the world. And I’ll show you.”


I’ll be honest, the book was barely a 3 stars read for me until the last 20% of the book happened. Although the road to get to the last 20% was full of up and down for me, it still felt rewarding to reach the climax sequences because the last three chapters of the book offer some scenes that would definitely be considered as some of the most memorable scenes within the series. Friendship, loyalty, destruction, flashes of light, bloody duels, and sorcery conflagration shine in the last 20%. The climax sequences of the book were executed magnificently and all the manipulation, scheming, and politics within Letheras was still as good as ever; I just wish there would be more of them just like how it was in Midnight Tides.

Picture: One of the interior artworks in the Subterranean edition by Tommy Arnold



The last great things about this book that I can say without spoilers would be the return of my favorite duo, and of course getting to see the continuation to the Emperor of a Thousand Deaths plotline. Lastly, as always, every time the story put me in the POV of familiar characters from the previous installments, I became completely enthralled and immersed in the story.

“Why, without a sense of humour, you are blind to so much in the world. To human nature. To the absurdity of so much that we say and do.”


Despite a lot of setbacks within this installment and my personal opinion that this is currently the second weakest book of the series so far, Reaper’s Gale was still overall a great book. There’s probably no chance that the series will follow characters we’re familiar with in the last three books of the series, but I’m still hopeful that Erikson will somehow get the story back on the track of greatness like he did with the third, fifth, and sixth installment of the series.

You can order the book HERE!

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
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Quotes Petrik Liked

Steven Erikson
“Beak, can you hold your own in what’s to come?'
A low murmuring reply: 'Yes sir. You’ll see. Everyone will because you’re all my friends and friends are important. The most important thing in the world. And I’ll show you.”
Steven Erikson, Reaper's Gale

Steven Erikson
“This ain't your fight,' he said to the distant creature. 'Fucking dragon.”
Steven Erikson, Reaper's Gale

Steven Erikson
“No-one chooses me. I do not give anyone that right. I am Karsa Orlong of the Teblor. All choices belong to me.”
Steven Erikson, Reaper's Gale

Steven Erikson
“I am here to arrest your manservant. The one named Bugg.’
‘Oh, now really, his cooking isn’t that bad.”
Steven Erikson, Reaper's Gale

Steven Erikson
“Why, without a sense of humour, you are blind to so much in the world. To human nature. To the absurdity of so much that we say and do.”
Steven Erikson, Reaper's Gale


Comments Showing 1-30 of 30 (30 new)

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William E. Looking forward to this one ;D


Petrik William wrote: "Looking forward to this one ;D"

Well it's up! Not as good as the previous books but still great :D


message 3: by Shae (new)

Shae Wow - Petrik, you are an absolute reading machine! Another great review :-)


message 4: by Petrik (last edited Sep 09, 2018 05:28AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Petrik Shae wrote: "Wow - Petrik, you are an absolute reading machine! Another great review :-)"

Haha thank you, Shae!! I try my best! :D


message 5: by Sean (new)

Sean Great review as always Petrik! Your reading these so damn fast lol :)


Petrik Sean wrote: "Great review as always Petrik! Your reading these so damn fast lol :)"

Thank you, Sean! Hahaha i'm taking a break from the series for a while. I want to read something simpler for now xD


message 7: by Bea (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bea I completely agree with everything you said!
The Redmask storyline could have been completely left out and quite a few of the new characters didn't interest me at all.
Also yes to what you said concerning the number of povs. This gets even crazier in DoD and TCG and that's the reason why I rated the books from RG onward a bit lower. There were just to many characters I didn't care about that were not fleshed out well enough (understandable given the number of characters!) and old beloved characters didn't get enough attention.

I love this series because the first 6 books were breathtakingly awesome. The last 4 are also very good (theoretically) but I personally didn't enjoy them as much. There were moments of absolute grandness though, as you said.
I have this feeling that I might enjoy them more on a reread, though.

TTH is probably the slowest book in the series and not as action packed but the ending is amazing! It is a book that actually gets more interesting when you know what will happen in my opinion (I was spoiled but actually didn't mind it that much because I picked up a lot of hints I would have overlooked otherwise. So it's definitely a book that will profit massively from a reread!). Just wanted to say that you have to be a bit more patient with this one, it all comes together in the end!

Anyway, I hope you don't mind my crazy long comment :)


message 8: by TS (new) - rated it 4 stars

TS Chan Excellent review, my friend!
Yup, the neverending introduction of new characters and seemingly unconnected plotlines at this late stage does take its toll.


Petrik Bea wrote: "I completely agree with everything you said!
The Redmask storyline could have been completely left out and quite a few of the new characters didn't interest me at all.
Also yes to what you said co..."


Exactly! His storyline started out so good and i was so disappointed by how it went. It didn't give me any sense of reward other than making the book longer than it should've! I have to see how I feel about the remaining three book but I will definitely keep what you said in mind, Bea!

The first 6 books (with the exception of HoC) was really good to amazing for me. Everyone has warned me about TtH and what they said pretty much aligned with what you said. I'm going to take a little break from the series first before going back to it. I feel like this time I finally can't bigne read it, there are too many characters and I felt tired from reading.

Don't worry about the long discussion, I enjoyed it actually! :D Thank you very much!


Petrik TS wrote: "Excellent review, my friend!
Yup, the neverending introduction of new characters and seemingly unconnected plotlines at this late stage does take its toll."


Thank you, my friend! Hahaha is that a pun for the next book!? :p


message 11: by Bea (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bea Petrik wrote: "Bea wrote: "I completely agree with everything you said!
The Redmask storyline could have been completely left out and quite a few of the new characters didn't interest me at all.
Also yes to what..."


Haha, glad you liked it. *takes it as permission to ramble some more* :)
Crossing my fingers you'll like the last 3 books. A nice fluffy in-between-read is probably not a bad idea.
The last 3 books were definitely the most difficult for me. But I have to say that I started reading books in english with these 3 because they had not yet been translated into german. So I had basically zero practice at reading in english and was additionally a total adult fantasy newbie (yeah, I started with the hard stuff). They will probably be easier reads for you than they were for me :) *irrelevant rambling ends*


Ayla Haha your opening line!
I totally see your point about how all the different POVs made it hard to get too emotionally invested in jut one in this book. But I can distinctly remember reading the last few chapters on a plane and having my mom turn over to look at me and freak out because I was openly weeping. And then reading that Erickson was writing this book while and after his father passed away just gutted me.


Evgeny Get ready for the worst book of the series.

P.S. The new characters and pointless plots will be present even in book 9 (The whole Snake subplot is unneeded).


message 14: by Daniel (new) - added it

Daniel Pepper I have heard that toll the hounds is also very slow until the end.


Petrik Bea wrote: "Petrik wrote: "Bea wrote: "I completely agree with everything you said!
The Redmask storyline could have been completely left out and quite a few of the new characters didn't interest me at all.
A..."


I have prepared Becky Chambers Wayfarers trilogy to read in between the last three books! :D

Damn, you really need a reread, Bea. I don't think I would've been able to start with Malazan, you pretty much started with the final boss immediately xD


message 16: by Petrik (last edited Sep 09, 2018 07:50PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Petrik Ayla wrote: "Haha your opening line!
I totally see your point about how all the different POVs made it hard to get too emotionally invested in jut one in this book. But I can distinctly remember reading the la..."


Yeah! I mean, I loved this series, I really do. But I'm never invested in any of character as much as I did, let's say, towards Kaladin or Dalinar from Stormlight Archives. I'm glad the book made you cry actually, that's what I want from the series after everyone told me 500 times that the series will break my heart etc etc. Unfortunately, seven big books in, and it still didn't.. And I didn't know that info about Erikson, that would've made (view spoiler) even sadder because of his childlike behavior.


Petrik Evgeny wrote: "Get ready for the worst book of the series.

P.S. The new characters and pointless plots will be present even in book 9 (The whole Snake subplot is unneeded)."


I will prepare myself! Urgh, it can't be as bad as House of Chains right? Thanks for letting me know about the new characters and pointless plots though, I'll see how it goes and read it with that mindset! :D


Petrik Daniel wrote: "I have heard that toll the hounds is also very slow until the end."

Yeah me too!


message 19: by Rusty (new)

Rusty Grey Great review dude!! :)


Petrik Rusty wrote: "Great review dude!! :)"

Thanks, Rusty! :)


message 21: by Rituranjan (new) - added it

Rituranjan Gogoi I'm stranded in this 7th book, though I finished it last year. I hope to pick up the series soon. I have to reread the books in entirety, because I forgot most of the events and characters. Didn't dare to review them seeing their gigantically epic size, scope, and the intricate complexity ☺.


Petrik Rituranjan wrote: "I'm stranded in this 7th book, though I finished it last year. I hope to pick up the series soon. I have to reread the books in entirety, because I forgot most of the events and characters. Didn't ..."

hahaha understandable! I think if you're planning to continue, it's impossible without a reread of the entire series. I'm binge reading the series and even with that, I still forget who some of the characters are xD


Evgeny Petrik wrote: "Evgeny wrote: "Get ready for the worst book of the series.

P.S. The new characters and pointless plots will be present even in book 9 (The whole Snake subplot is unneeded)."

I will prepare mysel..."


Toll of the Hounds beats the crap out of the rest of the series in terms of being boring.


Petrik Evgeny wrote: "Petrik wrote: "Evgeny wrote: "Get ready for the worst book of the series.

P.S. The new characters and pointless plots will be present even in book 9 (The whole Snake subplot is unneeded)."

I wil..."


Bahahahahahah! xD


message 25: by Bea (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bea Petrik wrote: "Bea wrote: "Petrik wrote: "Bea wrote: "I completely agree with everything you said!
The Redmask storyline could have been completely left out and quite a few of the new characters didn't interest m..."


Oh, I love the Wayfarer books! :)

Yeah, starting with Malazan probably isn't the best idea. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, I had been reading basically nothing for 4 years. I bought Gotm on a whim without knowing anything about the series, ended up binge-reading it and it cured my reading slump. So I don't want to complain :)


Petrik Bea wrote: "Petrik wrote: "Bea wrote: "Petrik wrote: "Bea wrote: "I completely agree with everything you said!
The Redmask storyline could have been completely left out and quite a few of the new characters di..."


Yay! Good to know you love the Wayfarer books! And I'm glad that Malazan managed to cure your reading slump! xD


message 27: by Daniel (new) - added it

Daniel Pepper It’s probably wise that you are taking a break every few books.


Petrik Daniel wrote: "It’s probably wise that you are taking a break every few books."

Absolutely. Now that I have three books left (the biggest of them all), I'll take a break after each book :D


Samir I finished yesterday and totally agree with your points. I almost gave it 3 stars because (view spoiler)


Petrik Samir wrote: "I finished yesterday and totally agree with your points. I almost gave it 3 stars because [spoilers removed]"

Yeah... this one was barely 4 stars for me. So many pointless and unnecessary stuff, especially on first read. (view spoiler)


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